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Redeemed Living

Isaiah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

The Bible is not hesitant to talk about sin, even though it may be uncomfortable for us to hear. Sin and its effect on us are important to God. Sin will always keep us away from God’s presence. Human sinfulness and God’s solution for it is a primary teaching of the Bible. As we study today’s scripture, look for the ways the Gospel of Jesus Christ is present in the ancient words of Isaiah’s message to the people of Judah. We will see that the God of the Old Testament has provided the full solution to our separation from God through Jesus Christ. He is the same Almighty God.

God’s declaration: I am He who Comforts

In verses 12-16, God sends words that are intended to shake the people out from being controlled by fear of the surrounding nations and anyone who would oppose them from seeking to trust in God. God uses the double emphasis to validate His words. The double emphasis of words was a pattern used in ancient language to make a strong point. God assures Judah that He will comfort them, so they do not need to fear any outside influence that poses a threat. The threat may be real, but it will not outlast the Eternal God. Human power is like grass that grows and then is cut down. And God reminds them that even though the waters of life will be turbulent, God is still in control. He is the Lord of Hosts, the God who fights for His people. All they must do is humbly trust Him and obey. God comforts those who follow Him by reminding them that they belong to God. To God, they are “My People”.
Fear is an old enemy of those who choose to follow God. How then should we deal with the reality of fear that we feel? We need to keep our focus on our God, who has promised His comfort for those who follow Him. At times, faith in God may seem to be the worst option because it limits what we can do. Faith requires that we wait upon the Lord. And fear will tempt us to see the potential of our problem. Nevertheless, we must refocus on the power of our God. If He is Maker of Heaven and Earth, then there is none better or greater on which we can rely. Fear may be your natural response but let your faith in Him be your new response. I will choose to trust God. God’s righteousness is forever, and his salvation is for all generations.

Awake from Spiritual Sleep

The next section starts with another double emphasis, “Wake yourself, wake yourself.” The people of Judah will be tempted to relax their faith and trust; doing so will cause them to be spiritually asleep. Their sleep will have deep consequences. They are about to drink the cup of wrath from God, and they will be “drunk” from this cup. Why such a harsh topic right next to a section of comfort? Let us remember the scenario of a parent talking to a child. The child will need comfort but will also need direction and warning. In our verse, this warning a reminder that they will be tempted to receive God’s comfort but ignore God’s call for them to trust Him and obey. The primary issue is sin. What is sin?

Sin is any deviation from a divinely revealed will. It is the source of evil, corruption, and death, and is what humanity and all of creation must be saved from, according to the Scriptures.

Sin is more than just the “evil things”. It includes rejecting or ignoring God’s plan for humanity. It includes our choice of anything that God has not “blessed”. Any deviation is sin. From this definition, it is easy to see how the Bible can declare that we are all “sinners”. God is warning His people out of love so that they choose to follow Him and avoid the consequences of wrath. We all can make our own choices, but we can not choose our own consequences. We ought to view this section as part of the message of comfort.

What is the wrath of God?

The concept of divine wrath emphasizes the danger of opposing the divine will and expresses, in human terms, the emotional reaction provoked in God by sin and rebellion.

Why should God have wrath? God’s wrath is the proper response toward sin. If we look at the example of the relationship between a married couple or a parent and a child, God’s wrath will make good sense. A spouse or a parent would be right to show wrath against anything that would harm the spouse or child or anything that would destroy the relationship. When we look at God’s wrath, He expresses it in the context of sin that separates and destroys the relationship between Him and His creation.
Some may still feel uncomfortable speaking of God’s wrath. Some might even conclude that teaching about the wrath of God will produce angry and hateful people. This is not so. Here are two truths that we need to keep in mind as we reflect upon the Biblical teaching of God’s wrath.

1. God’s wrath is not the same as human wrath.

Human wrath is often expressed for a variety of reasons and sometimes without reason. God’s wrath is specifically focused on sin. It is predictable, and it comes with a warning. If we assume God’s wrath is the same as human wrath, we have lowered God to the human standard. God is the only one who is able to express wrath without expressing any amount of sin or injustice. Humans are not capable of expressing that quality. We must remember that God is in a category of His own, and while human responses appear similar, there is a vast difference between God and humanity.

2. God’s wrath must be seen in light of His other attributes.

Three important attributes of God that need to be considered with wrath are His patience, love, and readiness to forgive.
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible In the Old Testament > Wrath of God

God is patient. The Hebrew word for patient is related to the word for wrath, and means “length of wrath,” that is, God does not quickly become angry

Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible In the Old Testament > Wrath of God

God is full of compassion and fidelity (Ex 34:6). Even when his children sin against him, he is like a father who is full of compassion and love.

Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible In the Old Testament > Wrath of God

he is ready to forgive those who sin against him when they atone for and are cleansed from their sins (Ex 34:6). The pleasure of his love is so much greater than his wrath (Ps 30:5)

3. The purpose of God’s wrath is for our good.

If God only expressed wrath, then we might have reason to doubt that God could ever have any degree of goodness. But if God did not express any degree of wrath toward sin, we concluded that He is indifferent and expresses no real concern for us. God’s wrath is evidence that He wants us to know Him and is concerned that we choose to live in sin and rebellion. His consequences and discipline are made with the hope that we will return to Him.

Awake to the Promises of God

It would seem that there could be no hope against God's wrath, but this is not so. Verses 21-23 show us that God wants to solve this problem. How will God do this? The verses here give us the statement that He will but not the specific details just yet. For the details, we will have to look at the following chapter as we learn about the Suffering Servant. For the people of Isaiah's time, they had to wait, but for us, we know the Suffering Servant is Jesus Christ. God simply declares that He will plead his people's cause and take away the cup of staggering. In this statement, God declares that He will not only be the Lord but Your Lord.
In response to God's mercy, the prophet tells the people to once again, “Awake, awake.” But this call is to respond with joy in God's promise of being freed from their situation. The situation is both physical and spiritual. God's solution is redemption. Isaiah reminds the people of their history back in Egypt many generations ago. God acted on behalf of the people to free them from slavery in Egypt. He did so without money but with the power of His might. God reminds them that He is concerned about them just as He was back in the old days of Moses and the Exodus. This is the same God who wants to continue the plan of a people who belong to Him and know Him.
The final picture is of rejoicing and announcing aloud that God reigns. There should be singing and shouting because God has once again provided freedom for those who trust in Him.

A Warning with Hope

But amidst the celebration, there is a firm warning. It comes in the form of another double emphasis, “Depart, depart.” God showed his wrath, power, love, his justice, his mercy, and forgiveness. But how should the redeemed people now go forward? What is the purpose of life? The purpose is found in a call to holiness. It goes back to the early statement that God told Moses to tell Pharaoh. Let my people go that they may worship me. God's end goal is for us to know Him but also to understand our purpose in life that He has created for us. It is to serve the Lord. It is to work for the Lord. It is to make Him known to the world and to reflect His goodness to this earth. Isaiah's words picture individuals who have put on new holy garments and now carry vessels of the Lord that would have been used in the Temple. Those who served in the Temple had the privilege and responsibility to live a holy life and be in God's presence.

The Gospel in Isaiah

As we study the book of Isaiah in the coming weeks, we should have our ears tuned to see that the prophet’s words are preparing us to see Jesus. Jesus brought the same message of Isaiah concerning God’s comfort for those who are overcome by fear. Remember that we are not to let fear reign in us but let God be our hope.
300 Illustrations for Preachers “Let’s Stop Scaring Ourselves”

A lot of the news we see and read is geared toward making us fearful. While some things are legitimate causes for concern, let us not be paralyzed by fear. Always remember that Jesus is Lord, and “in him all things are held together.”

—Jim L. Wilson and Rodger Russell

Jesus also brought the solution to our problem of sin and the wrath of God, and we now have the privilege of having the opportunity to know God in a personal way.
Romans 5:8–9 ESV
8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
Because of Christ, we have the opportunity to live a God-centered life where our purpose is not just to survive nor to thrive economically. It is to live a life of worship to God and enjoy all that is in God’s good, perfect, and acceptable will. Living for God is a life worth living.
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