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Good News and Judgement

Read through the Bible 2019  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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introduction

In this week’s reading: Isaiah comes to King Ahab in Judah. What results is one of the most significant events in all of Scripture…that you have never heard about.
Key questions:
If you have ever wondered why Jesus had to be born of a virgin other than it was really cool, I am going to answer this today. The answer is found in the Ahaz event.
If you have ever wondered why Jesus had to be crucified by order from the Jews, I am going to answer this today. The answer is found in the Ahaz event.
If you have ignored prophecy in the past because it is hard to understand, I want to show you how important prophecy in Scripture is…and hopefully make it easier to understand.
if you have heard about reformed theology…that no one came come to God unless He mystically draws them…that if God doesn’t mystically, supernaturally draw a person, they cannot ever believe in Jesus…To be clear, the Bible says that God has made Himself known, and requires all people to respond to Him by faith. I want to show you how people (reformed theology) get this wrong, because they don’t understand the Ahaz event.

The promise of salvation becomes a sign of judgement

The promise of salvation:
Adam and Eve (An innocent One would die on behalf of the guilty)
Abraham (God would raise up a nation to preserve the Seed of Promise)
David (The Innocent One would be a King who would rule forever.)
At this time in history,
the northern kingdom of Israel was practicing witchcraft and sorcery, worshiping idols, and sacrificing their children to Molech.
the southern kingdom of Judah was worshiping idols, and Ahaz is the first king of Judah who sacrifices his children to Molech.
God sends Isaiah to him. The story of Ahaz is one of the most significant events in all of Scripture. Isaiah’s prophecies to Ahaz provide a clear interpretive lens to help us make sense of the New Testament and the gospel.
Let’s look at this story and understand it’s impact on the gospel and on us, the church.
Ahaz was wicked, so God allows Syria and Israel to come against Judah for war.
1-
Isaiah 7:1–2 CSB
1 This took place during the reign of Ahaz, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah king of Judah: Aram’s King Rezin and Israel’s King Pekah son of Remaliah went to fight against Jerusalem, but they were not able to conquer it. 2 When it became known to the house of David that Aram had occupied Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz and the hearts of his people trembled like trees of a forest shaking in the wind.
The armies of Syria were gathering in Israel. They were allied and preparing to attack Judah. Ahaz and all of Judah were scared out of their minds…like trees in the wind.
Example: 1964 Cuban missile crisis.
So God sends Isaiah to Ahaz.
Isaiah 7:3–9 CSB
3 The Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out with your son Shear-jashub to meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, by the road to the Launderer’s Field. 4 Say to him: Calm down and be quiet. Don’t be afraid or cowardly because of these two smoldering sticks, the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram, and the son of Remaliah. 5 For Aram, along with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has plotted harm against you. They say, 6 ‘Let us go up against Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it for ourselves. Then we can install Tabeel’s son as king in it.’ ” 7 This is what the Lord God says: It will not happen; it will not occur. 8 The chief city of Aram is Damascus, the chief of Damascus is Rezin (within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people), 9 the chief city of Ephraim is Samaria, and the chief of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all.
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For no reason (except grace), God offers to deliver Judah from the hand of Syria and Israel.
God sends Isaiah with his son, named “A Remnant will return.” This is significant…we will return to this.
God promises to hold back the armies of Syria and Israel.
God speaks future things and asks Ahaz to believe them. He says that Israel will be destroyed in less than 65 years.
God tells Ahaz to stand firm in faith, or he will not stand at all.
God is coming to His people who have rejected Him, and saying (for no reason at all except to show His grace): I will save you if you believe Me. Here is a line in the sand—believe Me or reject Me…right here…make your choice.
What happens next is one of the most significant events in all of Scripture:
10-
Isaiah 7:10–14 CSB
10 Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz: 11 “Ask for a sign from the Lord your God—it can be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the Lord.” 13 Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God? 14 Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.
The Lord commands Ahaz to believe His promise and ask for a sign that God will do what He has promised.
This is something God has done throughout history. He makes a promise, then give a picture of that promise…or a sign that He will be faithful to keep that promise.
Noah…rainbow
The Passover…blood on the doorposts. This will be a sign to you that the Lord will keep His promise to bring you out of Egypt.
Gideon…fleece
Ahaz does what wicked people do when they try to be religious. He miss-applies Scripture. He quotes the Law: I will not test the Lord. ().
God responds to Ahaz’ unbelief. If you will not believe me and ask for a sign…then I will give you a sign: a virgin will have a son…His name will be Immanuel (God with us.) And Assyria who you have asked to help you instead of Me…will devastate you.
The promise of salvation becomes a sign of God’s judgment on the Jews.
What is God doing? When the virgin gives birth to a son (sometime in the future), the people of Judah will remember that God pronounced judgment on them.
What is God doing? When the virgin gives birth to a son, the people of Judah will remember that God pronounced judgment on them.
This was a clear choice for Ahaz. God came to a wicked man and asked him to believe or not believe. He did not believe, so God judged him.
Isaiah continues to unpack this sign for Ahaz and the rest of the Jews. , he tells them that the One born of a virgin will be the Messiah, He will be God, He will be the King promised to David, His kingdom will have no equal and will be eternal.
I want you to see this: In the same way God came to Ahaz, Jesus came to the Jews with an offer to save them, but this is the sign: Jesus would come as a stumbling block…He would come in judgement.
Here is what God is saying: the virgin will give birth…when this happens, I want everyone to remember what happened to Ahaz. I asked him to believe me and he refused. Everyone who sees the sign of the virgin birth and believes will be saved, but everyone like Ahaz who refuses to believe will be judged.
Isaiah continues to unpack this sign for Ahaz and the rest of the Jews. , he tells them that the One born of a virgin will be the Messiah, He will be God, He will be the King promised to David, His kingdom will have no equal and will be eternal.
Look at the remarkable connection between Jesus’ ministry as parallel to this Ahaz event. I don’t want you to miss this: when Jesus comes by virgin birth, He is coming first to the Jews to execute judgment and fulfill God’s promise to Ahaz.
To understand this: First, look at what Isaiah says: that this son born of a virgin will be a stumbling block for the Jews, bu a sanctuary for others:
Isaiah 8:14 CSB
14 He will be a sanctuary; but for the two houses of Israel, he will be a stone to stumble over and a rock to trip over, and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
, , , , , , , ) They were wicked, but the virgin birth should have been a sign to them that God was willing to save them if they would only believe.
Jesus’ message to them was very clear. As a stumbling block, He comes to the Jews in the same way God came to Ahaz:
, , , , , , ) They were wicked, but the virgin birth should have been a sign to them that God was willing to save them if they would only believe.
Matthew 4:17 CSB
17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Here is the line in the sand: believe me or reject me. Repent or suffer judgement.
Jesus said that He was sent to the Jews:
, , , , , ) They were wicked, but the virgin birth should have been a sign to them that God was willing to save them if they would only believe.
Matthew 15:24 CSB
24 He replied, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Why does Jesus say this? Because He was the sign given to Ahaz. He was coming to a wicked people like God came to Ahaz. He was offering salvation to them for no reason except to show God’s grace. His offer: believe Me and be saved, reject Me and suffer judgment.
When Jesus sent the disciples out, he told them only to go to Jews:
Matthew 10:5–6 CSB
5 Jesus sent out these twelve after giving them instructions: “Don’t take the road that leads to the Gentiles, and don’t enter any Samaritan town. 6 Instead, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
matt 10:5-6, , , , ) They were wicked, but the virgin birth should have been a sign to them that God was willing to save them if they would only believe.
Peter told the Jews that God sent Jesus to to the Jews first:
, , , ) They were wicked, but the virgin birth should have been a sign to them that God was willing to save them if they would only believe.
Acts 3:26 CSB
26 God raised up his servant and sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”
The Ahaz event is very important.
When Jesus came to the Jews, born of a virgin...They were wicked, but the virgin birth should have been a sign to them that God was willing to save them if they would only believe. The virgin birth should have been a been a reminder to them that God was ready to judge them…

The promise of salvation pronounces the end of judgment

Now I want to show you why the Ahaz event is so critical to helping us interpret the New Testament…here is a verse that people interpret wrongly because they don’t understand the Ahaz event:
, , ) They were wicked, but the virgin birth should have been a sign to them that God was willing to save them if they would only believe.
Romans 15:8 CSB
8 For I say that Christ became a servant of the circumcised on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises to the fathers,
, ) They were wicked, but the virgin birth should have been a sign to them that God was willing to save them if they would only believe.
John 6:44 CSB
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Jesus is not saying that forever, for all time you cannot come to Jesus unless the Father does some mystical work in your heart to draw you…look at what Jesus says in John 12:
John 12:31–32 CSB
31 Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself.”
Jesus later promised that when He was lifted up on the cross, He would draw all people to Himself.
John 12:30–31 CSB
30 Jesus responded, “This voice came, not for me, but for you. 31 Now is the judgment of this world. Now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
) They were wicked, but the virgin birth should have been a sign to them that God was willing to save them if they would only believe.
God responded to Ahaz by giving him and the rest of the Jews a sign of judgement: the virgin will give birth to a Son.
Remember, Isaiah’s son who stood before Ahaz with Isaiah? His name was “A remnant shall return.”
When Jesus told the Jews that no one could come to Him unless the Father draws him, Jesus was reminding them that He had come to them as a sign of judgement, a stumbling block, but that God in mercy had promised to save a remnant from among the people.
Jesus later promised that when He was lifted up on the cross, He would draw all people to Himself.
Look at how Isaiah explained this to Ahaz:
When Jesus came to the Jews, born of a virgin...They were wicked, but the virgin birth should have been a sign to them that God was willing to save them if they would only believe. The virgin birth should have been a been a reminder to them that God was ready to judge them…

The promise of salvation pronounces the end of judgment.

Isaiah 10:20–23 CSB
20 On that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no longer depend on the one who struck them, but they will faithfully depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 21 The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God. 22 Israel, even if your people were as numerous as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction has been decreed; justice overflows. 23 For throughout the land the Lord God of Armies is carrying out a destruction that was decreed.
The One born of a virgin would be the Messiah, He would be God, He would be a King, His kingdom would have no equal and would be eternal…God would execute judgment…but by His grace a remnant of Jews would be saved…there was a remnant who did understand the sign…Jesus appeared to more than 500 Jews after His resurrection who believed

The promise of salvation becomes good news for the Gentiles

John 12:32 CSB
32 As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth I will draw all people to myself.”
Jesus promised that after He executed judgement on the Jews, He would draw all people to Himself.
Isaiah 11:1–2 CSB
1 Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— a Spirit of wisdom and understanding, a Spirit of counsel and strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
The branch from Jesse’s roots will bare fruit. Remember that God promised David, Jesse’s son, that the Messiah would be a King who sits on the throne forever.
Isaiah 11:10 CSB
10 On that day the root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples. The nations will look to him for guidance, and his resting place will be glorious.
is 11
The fruit that the Messiah bears will be a people of believers---not identified by nationality, but by faith in the Messiah. The Messiah will gather all believers form the nations.
Isaiah 11:12 CSB
12 He will lift up a banner for the nations and gather the dispersed of Israel; he will collect the scattered of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
The fruit that the Messiah bears will be a people of believers---not identified by nationality, but by faith in the Messiah. The Messiah will gather all believers form the nations.
Here is the promise He makes to all who believe: they will live in the kind of peace no one has known outside of the Garden:
Isaiah 11:6–9 CSB
6 The wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the goat. The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf will be together, and a child will lead them. 7 The cow and the bear will graze, their young ones will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like cattle. 8 An infant will play beside the cobra’s pit, and a toddler will put his hand into a snake’s den. 9 They will not harm or destroy each other on my entire holy mountain, for the land will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the sea is filled with water.
Isaiah 6–9 CSB
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphim were standing above him; they each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And one called to another: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Armies; his glory fills the whole earth. 4 The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke. 5 Then I said: Woe is me for I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and live among a people of unclean lips, and because my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Armies. 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said: Now that this has touched your lips, your iniquity is removed and your sin is atoned for. 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking: Who should I send? Who will go for us? I said: Here I am. Send me. 9 And he replied: Go! Say to these people: Keep listening, but do not understand; keep looking, but do not perceive. 10 Make the minds of these people dull; deafen their ears and blind their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes and hear with their ears, understand with their minds, turn back, and be healed. 11 Then I said, “Until when, Lord?” And he replied: Until cities lie in ruins without inhabitants, houses are without people, the land is ruined and desolate, 12 and the Lord drives the people far away, leaving great emptiness in the land. 13 Though a tenth will remain in the land, it will be burned again. Like the terebinth or the oak that leaves a stump when felled, the holy seed is the stump. 1 This took place during the reign of Ahaz, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah king of Judah: Aram’s King Rezin and Israel’s King Pekah son of Remaliah went to fight against Jerusalem, but they were not able to conquer it. 2 When it became known to the house of David that Aram had occupied Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz and the hearts of his people trembled like trees of a forest shaking in the wind. 3 The Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out with your son Shear-jashub to meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, by the road to the Launderer’s Field. 4 Say to him: Calm down and be quiet. Don’t be afraid or cowardly because of these two smoldering sticks, the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram, and the son of Remaliah. 5 For Aram, along with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has plotted harm against you. They say, 6 ‘Let us go up against Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it for ourselves. Then we can install Tabeel’s son as king in it.’ ” 7 This is what the Lord God says: It will not happen; it will not occur. 8 The chief city of Aram is Damascus, the chief of Damascus is Rezin (within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people), 9 the chief city of Ephraim is Samaria, and the chief of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all. 10 Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz: 11 “Ask for a sign from the Lord your God—it can be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the Lord.” 13 Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God? 14 Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. 15 By the time he learns to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will be eating curds and honey. 16 For before the boy knows to reject what is bad and choose what is good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned. 17 The Lord will bring on you, your people, and your father’s house such a time as has never been since Ephraim separated from Judah: He will bring the king of Assyria.” 18 On that day the Lord will whistle to flies at the farthest streams of the Nile and to bees in the land of Assyria. 19 All of them will come and settle in the steep ravines, in the clefts of the rocks, in all the thornbushes, and in all the water holes. 20 On that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave the hair on your heads, the hair on your legs, and even your beards. 21 On that day a man will raise a young cow and two sheep, 22 and from the abundant milk they give he will eat curds, for every survivor in the land will eat curds and honey. 23 And on that day every place where there were a thousand vines, worth a thousand pieces of silver, will become thorns and briers. 24 A man will go there with bow and arrows because the whole land will be thorns and briers. 25 You will not go to all the hills that were once tilled with a hoe, for fear of the thorns and briers. Those hills will be places for oxen to graze and for sheep to trample. 1 Then the Lord said to me, “Take a large piece of parchment and write on it with an ordinary pen: Maher-shalal-hash-baz. 2 I have appointed trustworthy witnesses—the priest Uriah and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah.” 3 I was then intimate with the prophetess, and she conceived and gave birth to a son. The Lord said to me, “Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz, 4 for before the boy knows how to call ‘Father,’ or ‘Mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria will be carried off to the king of Assyria.” 5 The Lord spoke to me again: 6 Because these people rejected the slowly flowing water of Shiloah and rejoiced with Rezin and the son of Remaliah, 7 the Lord will certainly bring against them the mighty rushing water of the Euphrates River— the king of Assyria and all his glory. It will overflow its channels and spill over all its banks. 8 It will pour into Judah, flood over it, and sweep through, reaching up to the neck; and its flooded banks will fill your entire land, Immanuel! 9 Band together, peoples, and be broken; pay attention, all you distant lands; prepare for war, and be broken; prepare for war, and be broken. 10 Devise a plan; it will fail. Make a prediction; it will not happen. For God is with us. 11 For this is what the Lord said to me with great power, to keep me from going the way of this people: 12 Do not call everything a conspiracy these people say is a conspiracy. Do not fear what they fear; do not be terrified. 13 You are to regard only the Lord of Armies as holy. Only he should be feared; only he should be held in awe. 14 He will be a sanctuary; but for the two houses of Israel, he will be a stone to stumble over and a rock to trip over, and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 15 Many will stumble over these; they will fall and be broken; they will be snared and captured. 16 Bind up the testimony. Seal up the instruction among my disciples. 17 I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will wait for him. 18 Here I am with the children the Lord has given me to be signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of Armies who dwells on Mount Zion. 19 When they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the spiritists who chirp and mutter,” shouldn’t a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living? 20 Go to God’s instruction and testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them. 21 They will wander through the land, dejected and hungry. When they are famished, they will become enraged, and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 They will look toward the earth and see only distress, darkness, and the gloom of affliction, and they will be driven into thick darkness. 1 Nevertheless, the gloom of the distressed land will not be like that of the former times when he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. But in the future he will bring honor to the way of the sea, to the land east of the Jordan, and to Galilee of the nations. 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased its joy. The people have rejoiced before you as they rejoice at harvest time and as they rejoice when dividing spoils. 4 For you have shattered their oppressive yoke and the rod on their shoulders, the staff of their oppressor, just as you did on the day of Midian. 5 For every trampling boot of battle and the bloodied garments of war will be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the Lord of Armies will accomplish this. 8 The Lord sent a message against Jacob; it came against Israel. 9 All the people— Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—will know it. They will say with pride and arrogance: 10 “The bricks have fallen, but we will rebuild with cut stones; the sycamores have been cut down, but we will replace them with cedars.” 11 The Lord has raised up Rezin’s adversaries against him and stirred up his enemies. 12 Aram from the east and Philistia from the west have consumed Israel with open mouths. In all this, his anger has not turned away, and his hand is still raised to strike. 13 The people did not turn to him who struck them; they did not seek the Lord of Armies. 14 So the Lord cut off Israel’s head and tail, palm branch and reed in a single day. 15 The head is the elder, the honored one; the tail is the prophet, the one teaching lies. 16 The leaders of the people mislead them, and those they mislead are swallowed up. 17 Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over Israel’s young men and has no compassion on its fatherless and widows, for everyone is a godless evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. In all this, his anger has not turned away, and his hand is still raised to strike. 18 For wickedness burns like a fire that consumes thorns and briers and kindles the forest thickets so that they go up in a column of smoke. 19 The land is scorched by the wrath of the Lord of Armies, and the people are like fuel for the fire. No one has compassion on his brother. 20 They carve meat on the right, but they are still hungry; they have eaten on the left, but they are still not satisfied. Each one eats the flesh of his own arm. 21 Manasseh is with Ephraim, and Ephraim with Manasseh; together, both are against Judah. In all this, his anger has not turned away, and his hand is still raised to strike.
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