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Advent Preparation: Isaiah's Prophecy

Advent 2019  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  32:08
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Isaiah's Prophecies remind us that God planned every detail of Christ's arrival...and He is working in our lives as well.

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TEXT: Isaiah 7:10-14; 9:6-7; 11:1-5

Isaiah 7:14 ESV
14 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 9:6–7 ESV
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 11:1 ESV
1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.

INTRODUCTION:

For many of us, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
IT’S VERY NEAT & TIDY FOR US. CERTAIN CHRISTMAS PHRASES:“FOR UNTO US A CHILD IS GIVEN…”“IMMANUEL”“WONDERFUL COUNSELOR…”We lump all these together into the Christmas narrative in our minds. We think of it a bit like a short play…
it was said that he would come,
a star,
a stable,
the savior,
some shepherds,
some wisemen,
lots of singing.
Christmas!
It’s like the Christian or the Ebony section at Hallmark, it’s a couple of cards with some beautiful words and pictures.
But the Christmas story - or better the incarnation of Jesus Christ - the promise of the ultimate Rescuer for all of mankind was a long time coming from earthly standards - perfectly timed from above.
‘Tis the Season - but I caution you not to embrace all of the trappings of modernity and the sanitized consumer-driven culture that passes as a Christian version of a secular Christmas. Dive deeper into some of the rich traditions of the church like Advent. Establish some new Christ-centered, gospel-revealing traditions for yourself, your family.

Setup for next several weeks...

This Advent Season (as in seasons past and future) we will preach the Christian Message…the Christ-Centered narrative of the incarnation.
“No other religion has a message like the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, took upon himself a human nature and body—fully God and fully man. Jesus is God, so he is to be trusted, obeyed, and worshiped. Jesus is man, choosing to take on flesh and becoming subject to pain, hunger, sorrow, injustice, suffering, and even death. Thus, the salvation he offers is both of infinite value and a remarkable resource for believers in the midst of their pain and suffering. The Christmas message reminds us that our faith is not based upon what we do and offer to God, but what God has done by coming to us and offers to us by grace.”
(David Prince is Pastor of Preaching and Vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, KY )

Observations from our text

Notes about Isaiah:

Name means “Yahweh is Salvation”.
Written around 700BC

1. GOD IS IN CONTROL - HIS PLAN WORKS

Christmastime is such a special time. How long does it last for you? Are you a Pre-, Mid-, or Post-Thanksgiving Christmas person.
The arrival of a baby (in general) is a special event that requires preparation:
As we think about all the planning and preparation that goes into preparing for a baby’s arrival, there is a great deal that we have to consider. Still, it’s worth noting that some couples have invested significant time and resources into the possibility of conceiving a child - that’s another factor.
Then there’s reality of life and its quick escalation to new realities shortly after delivery…all these things take planning and consideration.
ILLUSTRATION: EXPENSIVE HOSPITALS
When the rich and famous give birth, their hospital stay can easily be compared to a pampering spa getaway. However, celebrities and royals are not the only ones seeking deluxe accommodation and medical services. Anyone with the right amount of cash can choose a posh place to deliver in style in A-list maternity suites.
Jay Z and Beyoncé chose Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan for the birth of Blue Ivy, their little bundle of joy. At $2,500 a day Lenox Hill Hospital offers luxurious suites with mahogany walls, hardwood floors, luxurious linens, its own kitchenette, and even a concierge that can arrange anything from a stylish hairdo to manicure, pedicure, and massage. You do want to look your best when delivering your precious little baby, right?
The luxury suites of Mount Sinai Hospital ($4,000 a day) offer a stunning view of Central Park and Manhattan. However, that's not the only reason Gwyneth Paltrow and P. Diddy chose Mount Sinai for the birth of their children. Think blankets made from Muslin cotton and massage therapy to relieve the pain and stress. Add bathrooms with Italian glass tiles and tea and cookies served in the afternoons.
At the top of the hospital birthing experience list is the Matilda Hospital in Hong Kong. It is the ultimate in pampering. It offers rooms with balconies overlooking the ocean, refrigerators filled with juices and bottled water, cable TV, and WiFi. The doctor in charge of the delivery is also your personal gynecologist/obstetrician, and will be the one booking your stay and making all the necessary arrangements. It is advisable to ask your doctor to make reservations as early as possible, as most rooms are fully booked 7 months in advance. At the Matilda Hospital you need to deposit $20,000 in down payment just to book a room.
That’s a lot of money…that’s a lot of prep!
How much money and prep do you put into an upcoming child...holidays with your family?
How about 400+ years of prep?
I doubt that your Great- great- great- great- great- great- great-grandfather was making preparations for your arrival…(that many generations would take us from Jesus back to Malachi - the last prophet before the intertestamental period.)
How about 700 years of prep?
In our text from Isaiah 7, we see God using the prophet Isaiah to confront a wicked king so to bring the prophetic promise to humans of the incarnate Christ.
Isaiah 7:10–14 ESV
10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11 “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.” 13 And he said, “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
How about more than a few thousand years?
we see the earliest hints of the Messiah prophesied in the primordial texts of Genesis 3.
Genesis 3:15 ESV
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
How about before Genesis?
Ephesians 1.4, 1 Peter 1.20 both reveal the plan was actually in place before the foundation of the world
I’m confident that Israel wandering in the wilderness didn’t feel like God was working His plan.
I’m confident that the children born to parents in Babylonian captivity weren’t aware that God was working His plan.
I wonder if the shepherds abiding in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night sensed the immanent execution of God’s plan right before their eyes.
APPLICATION: Trust that God is in control and is working His plan. Whenever you’re tempted to think that there is no rhyme or reason to this life, think back on all the planning and the long timeline of Jesus Christ. When you can’t hear His voice, when you can’t see his hand…When you can’t stand, learn how to lean, when you can’t see, believe.

2. GOD CHOSE THE PEOPLE - HE WORKS THROUGH PEOPLE

Genesis 3 The Serpent was the first to have the direct confrontation of the promise of Christ’s incarnation
Isaiah 7 - The Lord, Ahaz, Isaiah, Israel, David’s lineage - House of David, the Virgin (Mary), Immanuel
Isaiah 9 - “Us” = Israel, Child/son, government systems
Isaiah 11 - Shoot (child), Jesse, Lord, poor, meek, the whole earth, the wicked
Galatians 4: woman, people under the law, spiritual orphans
All of the Bible shows us that God uses people to accomplish His will…all kinds of people!
While He is most glorified when vessels of honor walk in obedience to Him, I want to remind you that
He still used Samson when he openly rebelled;
He spoke through a donkey when He needed to get someone’s attention
He used Potiphar, Pharaoh, Herod, Pilate, and other pagans as a part of His divine will
APPLICATION: Trust that God has the people in place to accomplish his plan…all kinds of people.
Those difficult people in your life, may not be the devil after all…God may have surgically placed them in your life to conform you into the image of His Son!
At the same time - YOU ARE NOT ALONE…Look around the room, God has called us into community to rejoice, weep, celebrate, lament, disciple, worship, serve, and go out TOGETHER. Don’t believe the lie that you are alone. God has a remnant in place for His pleasure.

3. GOD’S PURPOSE PREVAILS - HE WORKS FOR HIS GLORY

In Isaiah we see God’s planning, God’s choosing people, and God’s purpose in prophecies concerning Christ’s conception, His character, and his conquest.
In Isaiah 7 we see the Lord commanding Ahaz to ask for a sign of His power…nothing was too big or small. Ahaz refuses. The LORD responds, (ie here is something you wouldn’t have conceived in your wildest dreams):
A virgin shall conceive (miracle)
Bear a son (no chance of a daughter)
His name shall be called Immanuel (The Word will become flesh and dwell among men)
In Isaiah 9 we see
light overtaking darkness
peace conquering war
child commanding the attention of warriors
Israel (a consistently disobedient people) bearing this child of promise for the nations
from all of this, without the name that is above every name, the reality of Immanel
Wonderful Counselor
Mighty God
Everlasting Father
Prince of Peace
In Isaiah 11 we see Jesse’s lineage leading to the Messiah. It is unparalleled, unprecedented, unmatched. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him (as opposed to just coming upon a man for a certain task).
God purposed the embodiment of the Spirit of counsel and might, knowledge and fear of the Lord (aka wisdom), a delight in wisdom. God was going to present to the nations, a carpenter’s son who would judge/decide differently than all the rest of the world. He would judge with righteousness and decide with equity for the poor and the meek.
The words of this promised one would strike the earth - fulfilled on the cross when He cried It Is Finished and all the earth goes dark for 3 hours!
The breath of this promised one will kill the wicked - fulfilled in a final apocalyptic battle of the Antichrist, Satan, and the armies of Heaven (2 Thes 2:8).
God’s purpose will always point to Him as the victor!
ISAIAH’S SUMMARY: Excerpt From Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
Dear Little Flock,
“You’re all wandering away from me,
like sheep in an open field. You have always
been running away from me. And now you’re
lost. You can’t find your way back.
  But I can’t stop loving you. I will come to find you.
So I am sending you a Shepherd to look after you
and love you. To carry you home to me.”
“ You’ve been stumbling around, like people in a dark room.
But into the darkness, a bright Light will shine! It will chase
away all the shadows, like sunshine.
   A little baby will be born. A Royal Son. His mommy will be a young
girl who doesn’t have a husband.
His name will be Emmanuel,
which means “God has come to live with us.” He is one
of King David’s children’s children’s children.
The Prince of Peace.
   Yes, Someone is going to come and rescue you!
   But he won’t be who anyone expects.”
“He will be a King! But he
won’t live in a palace. And he won’t
have lots of money. He will be poor.
And he will be a Servant. But this King
will heal the whole world.
   He will be a Hero! He will fight for his people,
and rescue them from their enemies. But he won’t
have big armies, and he won’t fight with swords.    He will make the blind see, he will make the lame leap like deer!
He will make everything the way it was always meant to be.
   But people will hate him, and they won’t listen to him.
He will be like a Lamb – he will suffer and die.”
“It’s the Secret Rescue Plan we made – from before
the beginning of the world!
   It’s the only way to get you back.
   But he won’t stay dead – I will make him alive again!
   And, one day, when he comes back to rule forever,
the mountains and trees will dance and sing for joy!
The earth will shout out loud! His fame will fill the whole
earth – as the waters cover the sea! Everything sad will
come untrue. Even death is going to die! And he will wipe
away every tear from every eye.
   Yes, the Rescuer will come. Look for him. Watch for him.
Wait for him. He will come!
   I promise.”
Galatians 4:4–5 ESV
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
APPLICATION: Trust that God has a purpose that will glorify Him! When the fullness of time had come…Jesus arrives!
He arrives as Heaven’s spotless lamb, conceived by the Holy Spirit, virgin-born, when road systems were being fortified, when a predominant language was adopted by the majority of the world, at the right time, at the right place, to turn the world upside down for His glory and purpose and to save much people alive.

CONCLUSION

When the incarnate Christ Jesus was born, Herod's fear of the ancient gospel promise led to a bloodbath in Bethlehem.
When Immanuel, God with us, was crucified and resurrected, he gave his disciples his Great Commission, reminding them his Immanuel promise would see them all the way to the end of the age. T
hen this Immanuel God of the ages, sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in those who would repent of their sin and put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as the sufficient, sacrificed, sending SAVIOR!
It might still appear scandalous to the religious bureaucrats of our day…but God is with us!
Transition to Communion Table
“LET’S PRAY”
INVITATION - CALL TO RESPONSE
For those of us struggling with God’s timing this morning...
Confess that to the Lord this morning…you’ve talked about it to everybody else.
Trust that He alone is the Everlasting Father, the Mighty God who is working it out for His pleasure - whatever it is!
Are you struggling with people? You may be putting too much stock in their counsel this morning…OR You may be trying to go it alone.
Confess that to the LORD this morning…He knows!
Trust that He alone is the WONDERFUL COUNSELOR that you need to hear from more than anyone else.
If you haven’t been spending time reading, studying, hearing, meditating on Scriptures…that’s foolish - that’s sinful! Confess that to the LORD and get your face in His book!
Are you struggling with you this morning?
Maybe it isn’t people or timing, maybe it’s you! Confess that to the LORD.
You may be rejecting God’s authority and claim to your life this morning…you know Him as God with YOU because you’re not a Christian. If you sense and a strong desire to deal with that this morning, don’t leave that way!
Invite the Prince of Peace to calm the troubled waters of your soul, to cleanse your sin-sick heart and make you whole this morning!
COME, LET US EMBRACE THIS SEASON WITH INTENTIONAL PREPARATION! STAMP ON OUR MINDS THIS MORNING, IN VIEW OF YOUR COMING...
YOU HAVE A PLAN! YOU USE PEOPLE! YOU WILL BE GLORIFIED!
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