Faithlife Sermons

Advent Week 3 2017

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There is a book that I enjoy reading to Hollis and Eden Rose called Cyrus the sea monster. The book begins with Cyrus the sea monster being egged on by a shark to go and wreck a ship, so Cyrus goes to a port to find a ship to wreck, but when he gets there and the finds a ship that is about to set sail he overhears an old man yelling out a curse on the ship. The man yells out “your ship will never make it! It will either sink in a storm, or stall in the doldrums, or pirates will pillage every last one of you.” When Cyrus hears this instead of wreaking the ship he follows the ship to reverse the curse that was put it. When a storm comes and the ship is about to sink he reverses the curse by holding his breath and makes himself into a giant raft to keep the ship afloat. When they run into the doldrums he reverses that curse by blowing the sails so the ship can keep moving, and he reverses the pirate curse by wrecking the pirate to keep the other ship safe.
Cyrus reversed the curse put on the ship by the old man, and so enabled people to get to the new land in peace.
While we don’t need the help of a friendly sea monster and we may never have to worry about doldrums or pirates, we so experience being under a curse. We know that everything is not exactly the way it supposed to be, relationships are are under a curse, there is no relationship that functions perfectly and to varying degrees they are all strained, work is under a curse, it is often toilsome and wearying and sometimes frustrating, and ultimately our very life is under a curse, the curse of death.
But like Cyrus the sea monster God is reversing the curse. He is undoing and then redoing all the wrong things in the world. And
FCF: Things are not the way they are supposed to be. Relationships, work, death.
Because God is reversing the curse we should live joyfully in his new creation
And our passage in Isaiah God shows us four places where he is reversing the curse, in our relationships, in work, on animals, and in death.

First, God is reversing the curse on our relationships

Look with me at verse 17
Isaiah 65:17 ESV
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.
God is creating a new heaven and earth, because after God created heaven and earth, and Adam and Eve rebelled, humanity and all creation fell under a curse. Now God’s new heavens and earth are not categorically new, but renewed. This means God’s new creation is not new in the sense that it is a different place, it is new in the sense that it is radically cleansed, the curse that it is under is removed. God’s new creation is a reverse of the curse.
And one place that the curse is reversed in God’s new creation is our relationships.
Look at verse 21
Isaiah 65:21 ESV
They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
Isaiah 65:21–22 ESV
They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
In God’s new creation, houses you build are in no danger being stolen or your food being stolen or anything being stolen. In the new creation we will not need to have keys, there will never be a need to lock things up. People’s relationships will be one of harmony and peace. Every relationship will be marked by one of complete trust. No one will talk out of both sides of their mouth. Right now our relationships are under a curse, when Adam and Eve fell into sin they fell under a curse where now everything in this world is not property ordered, but experiences disorder.
When God reverses the curse, by recreating this world and making it new our relationships will be set right. And when our relationships are set right we experience joy.
Isaiah 65:18 ESV
But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness.
the pain and brokenness that has been a part of our story will not be remembered or come to mind. It is not so much as our memory is wiped, but that the memory has taken on such a radically new meaning, the pain seems to be so less weighty and much more light.
Now many of us have stories where we feel the curse on our relationships and the pain from them is unbearable. It is hard to imagine that pain not being present, but in Gods new creation when the curse is reversed the joy will be so overwhelming heavy that the pain just seems to be so light and does not bear the same significance.
That is why in verse 18 and 19 we see so much rejoicing
Isaiah 65:18–19 ESV
But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness. I will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in my people; no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping and the cry of distress.
Joy is the mark of new creation relationships with God and with one another. God creates his people to be glad, and then God rejoices with and in his people and he is glad and there is this reciprocal and perpetual giving and receiving of mutual gladness and joy.
Illustration
Illustration:
Sometimes before we go to bed Sara Frances and I will look at video’s of the kids she has made on her phone that day. And there was this one day where Eden Rose did something funny that was, well it was just Eden Rose. And it probably was not really that funny, but for whatever reason we just cracked up laughing. And it was the kind of laughing where you just can’t stop laughing. And when you finally do stop you have dry your eyes because you were laughing so hard you were crying. We we were laughing at this funny thing she did and we stopped and dried our eyes and then Sara Frances let out the slightest chuckle it set us off laughing about it all over again.
are laughing and then when you finally stop laughing and you wipe your eyes because you were laughing so hard you cried then
it was like our joy in that moment was supplying more joy to the other and the enjoyment over this funny video of Eden Rose was just perpetual and building.
Application:
In a similar way when the curse is reversed on our relationships, our relationship with God and relationships with one another, our joy and gladness will be in a state of perpetual giving and receiving.
And when Jesus came he began this new creation work. So the day this passage looked to has arrived in Jesus, so this is a joy that we can have now, but Jesus has not yet completed his new creation so the fullness of that joy is not yet fully realized.
2 Corinthians 5:17–18 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
What this means for us is that we should seek to cultivate new creation joyful relationships with one another. This means seeking reconciliation if relationships are in need of repair, and it means we should take the time to celebrate the joy we have with God and one another. One way this might look for you is through Emmanuel prayer training, we have heard testimony of people sharing “appreciation moments’s on Sunday morning, this is all about experiencing mutual joy and God. Or in your family maybe you celebrate baptism day’s with your kids, so that you eat cake and celebrate with them the day that God’s promise of love was washed over them. Celebrate and experience the joy of God’s new creation relationships
And then immediately talk about reconciled relationships in the next verse
And as a community
2 Corinthians 5:18 ESV
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
God sent Jesus to begin his new creation and reverse the curse.
As God reveres the curse on our relationships we will experience more joy than we can hold on to and it will overflow into the lives of others. Fod is reversing the curse on our relationships
and
Because God is reversing the curse on relationships we should live joyfully in his new creation

God is also reversing the curse in our work

Look with me at the end of verse 22 and 23
Isaiah 65:22–23 ESV
They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain or bear children for calamity, for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord, and their descendants with them.
:
Application: Verse 18 and 19 and Keil commentary note
When God created Adam and Eve he gave them a job to do and before they rebelled against God their work was joyful and not wearing or toilsome. But when they rebelled their work came under a curse and now it is toilsome and wearying. When God reverses the curse humanity will enjoy the work of their hands and their work will not be in vain.
Application:
God created us to work, to create, to imagine, to build, to deliver, to manage, to fix, work is a God given task in God’s created world for God’s mission. In the new heavens and new earth we will not be floating on clouds strumming harps and have wings and halos. We will be working, creating, building, and get this every task we do we will enjoy, it will not be toilsome or in vain. We will enjoy all the things that God gives us to be busy with.
Application
Now God’s new creation has begun in Jesus and we experience this new creation now and at the same time it is not yet fully realized. But the work that God has you doing right now, whether that is a teacher, on a factory line, a parent, a president, whatever, it is can be enjoined before the face of God. Why is this? Because that is what he created us to do. God enjoys you working and our work can be an experience of joy before the face of God if we see it as his gift to us. While we will always feel the toil of work until Jesus returns we can experience substantial enjoyment in the work of our hands before the face of God.
God is reversing the curse on our work and he is also

Reversing the curse on animals.

Because God is reversing the curse on work we should live joyfully in his new creation
In verse 25 we see this picture of the wolf and the lamb grazing together, and the lion eating straw like the ox, and the serpant will be content in the dust and not strike at people. This is not simply a symbolic picture of peace, but the new creation is a fulfilment the covenant that God made with the animals after Noah and the flood in
look with me at genesis 9
Genesis 9:9–10 ESV
“Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth.
Genesis 9:
God enjoys the animal and natural world and in the new creation cause it to flourish. What does this mean for us? Well Animal and wildlife conservation fits into the new creation kingdom of God. It is not something that is unspiritual, or less spiritual, but is very spiritual. And one reason we enjoy animals and the natural world is because we the image of God and God enjoys it, it is how he is and how he made us.
God is reversing the curse on animals and ultimately he is

He is reversing the curse of death

In verse 20 we see
Isaiah 65:20 ESV
No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
Because God is reversing the curse of death we should live joyfully in his new creation
and in verse 22
and in
For like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
Isaiah sees here the reversing of the curse of death, the unraveling of death and deaths effects, and ultimately we see from our vantage point that Jesus through his resurrection from the dead reverses the curse of death completely.
If there is one thing that looms over every human being it is the curse of death and deaths effects.
Application:
There are all sorts of ways to try and come to grips with death we can deny i
There are all sorts of ways to try and come to grips with death we can deny it and act like it will never happen, and so never talk about it. We can act like it is a natural part of this worlds order, but that does not hold up because we know death is not the way it is supposed to be. God has put eternity into our hearts.
How will you face your own death? It is not wrong or strange to think about it. I mean we can think about it because it is not final it is not the end. For me I hope it looks something like the woman.
Proverbs 31:25 ESV
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.
Proverbs 31:
She laughs at the time to come. That even in death there is joy, not because death is somehow good, but because Jesus has reversed the curse of death and life gets the last laugh.
1 Corinthians 15:55 ESV
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
Smiles at the time to come.
Conclusion:
God is reversing the curse, the curse on our relationships, our work, on animals and ultimately death itself. We are in the season of Advent right now and it is a season of waiting and anticipating. We wait in remembrance of the day when God became man in Jesus and so began his new creation. But we also wait with all creation for the day when Jesus returns and fully finishes the new creation he started.
And during this time we sing songs like Joy to the World. And in it we sing
No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found, far as, far as the curse is found.
God is reversing the curse, and comes to make his new creation blessings flow, filling us with a never ending giving and receiving of mutual joy. Where is he reversing the curse? as far as the curse is found.
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