Stephen Caswell © 2005
In these troubled days where can we find security? On the news we see that terrorism abounds, natural disasters take place more and more frequently. So many lives are in constant jeopardy. The outbreak of war threatens many. What are we to do? Where can we turn to for help? Some people try to build their own security. Isaiah tells us that God is the One we must turn to. He can save us both now and for eternity. God’s salvation provides 3 wonderful things for His people; Security, Stability, Strength.
Abraham Lincoln spoke about the legacy the people of his time were leaving, and he clearly is speaking to us today as well. We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in number, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these things were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. Yet our salvation, peace and security have always come from God.
Isaiah 26:1-2: In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks. Open the gates, that the righteous nation which keeps the truth may enter in.
We are all aware that we live in a dangerous world. Terrorists still attack innocent people even though our nations have increased their security systems. Natural disasters usually strike without warning. The Tsunami’s that affected so many of our northern neighbors on Boxing Day remind us of this. Well over 200,000 people died in a few hours. A few weeks ago an earthquake struck again in Indonesia killing thousands more. It seems to me that our lives are always at risk. Verses 5 and 6 tell us that proud and lofty cities are quickly brought to ruin. God will punish those who exalt themselves through evil. Where can we find security in this fragile world? There is only one place to turn; God.
Accidents happen everywhere. This is why we insure our cars, our homes and possessions. Yet, life insurance cannot save us from death. Only the Lord can do this. Even if we are able to avoid accidents and natural disasters throughout our lives we will still die. Someone said that there are only 2 things that are certain; Death and Taxes. We have an appointment with death. The Bible says this in Hebrews 9:27: And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. How can we overcome death? Only through Jesus Christ. By dying He conquered death and rose again never to die!
My Own Testimony
I was afraid of death, judgment and hell until I asked Christ to save me when I was 19 years old. I knew that I was a sinner rightly condemned to hell. Yet God gave me perfect peace the moment I believed. He lifted a huge burden from back. I no longer feared God. I was no longer His enemy but His friend, no better than this I was a child of God.
God will judge all of us one day. He has appointed a day, a place and a judge. Everyone will stand before God and give an account of their life. God will examine our lives. Romans 14:10-12: But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: as I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Acts 17:31: God has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.
Settle Out Of Court
Some people think that in God’s judgment our good works are weighed against our bad works. If we have more good than bad we go to heaven. This isn’t Biblical. It’s more like plea bargaining. In our justice system there are 2 ways that this can work. The first way is for the person convicted of a crime to appear before the judge. The charges are presented and the person makes their plea. After pleading not guilty they have their day in court and the evidence is presented by lawyers. When everything has been evaluated the jury or judge hand down there sentence. When found guilty they are given the maximum punishment for denying their guilt. They lied to the court; wasted its time.
The second way is for a defendant who is guilty to settle out of court. They appear with their lawyers before the judge. At this time they enter a guilty plea and seek a lighter sentence. Because they own up to their crime the judge is far more lenient. The convicted criminal receives a degree of mercy for telling the truth; for accepting the consequences of their sin. God’s justice works in a similar way. We plead guilty before Judgment Day.
How can we be saved from this judgment? How can we be saved from our sins? God has provided a Savior, Jesus Christ. John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 18: He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 36: He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. 5:24: Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
The Tale Of 2 Cities
Perhaps you have read Charles Dickens’ book the Tale of Two Cities. This novel describes 2 cities in the French Revolution. Isaiah 26:1-9 also describes 2 cities. One is a proud lofty city built by sinners. These citizens try to make a secure home but fail dismally. They are judged and their city destroyed. Their security is for only a moment.
The Lord has prepared a secure city for those who love Him. The walls of this city are called salvation. No judgment will come upon its citizens. This city is of course the New Jerusalem. How can we enter this city? One way; by salvation through Jesus Christ. As the verses in John’s Gospel said, we must believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again. We must ask Him to save us from our sins. There is no other way to be saved. God will open the gates to let the righteous nation enter the New Jerusalem. Heaven’s citizens keep the truth; they obey the Gospel. The Book of Revelation describes the city’s splendor. The walls are made of 12 precious stones. The streets are paved with pure gold. The foundations are secure. The city is large; some 1500 miles square. In John 14 we read that Jesus Christ went back to glory to prepare a place for us in His Father’s house.
Philippians 3:20-21: For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Have you asked the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from your sin, from death, from judgment and from hell? He is the only one who can save you. Jesus is the only one who can give us security both now and forever. Do you have the assurance of eternal life?
Isaiah 26:3: You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.
Two painters were asked to paint a picture illustrating peace. The first painted a beautiful evening scene in the foreground of which was a lake, its surface absolutely calm and unruffled. Trees surrounded it, meadows stretched away to the distant cattle gently browsing; a little cottage, the setting sun — all spoke of perfect rest. The second painter drew a wild, stormy scene. Heavy black clouds hung overhead; in the center of the picture an immense waterfall poured forth huge volumes of water covered with foam.
One could almost hear its unceasing roar, yet perhaps the first thing to strike the eye was a small bird, perched in a cleft of a huge rock, absolutely sheltered from all danger, pouring forth its sweet notes of joy. It is the second painter who could describe the peace that passes all understanding which is the Lord Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God in the heart of the redeemed. One can only have peace with himself if he has peace with God.
Isaiah says that those who trust in God will have peace. How can God give us peace? By saving us. Romans 5:1: Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Only after we have settled the issue of our salvation; are we eternally secure. This is vital for perfect peace. Nothing can trouble us then! If we know that our eternal destiny is secure we can truly live life without fear. Uncertainty about life and death produce fear and anxiety. An assurance of eternal life gives us God’s perfect peace. Christians can seek God’s help at any time. Peace is not the absence of war but the presence of God. He is the God of peace. He brings to us the peace of God.
Philippians 4:6-7: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. The Lord watches over every believer. What harm can come to those who love God? Even death doesn’t trouble us. Death is simply a door way to our eternal home in heaven.
Romans 8:31-35; 37-39: What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Since this is true shouldn’t we have perfect peace?
Because God has given His only Son to save us we know that He loves us. Because God loves us we can trust Him to take care of us. The Lord will never leave us or forsake us. He hears our prayers when we call and helps us when we need it. The Lord sends His angels to watch over us. There is no reason why we shouldn’t trust the Lord through out our lives.
Psalm 46:1-3: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. God wants us to turn to Him when we have trials. The Lord wants us to commit all of our plans over to Him. He is trustworthy. In the midst of life’s trials we can have God’s perfect peace if we trust Him. Faith or trust in God means life without scheming and plotting. It’s resting in God’s sovereignty; thinking about Him.
Spiritual Rest —Phil Simmons
Rest is not lying in soft beds of ease; Free from all labor, with no one to please.
Rest is not quitting, no burden to bear. Rest is reclining in heart, on His care.
Rest can be found in trouble & pain; when dark clouds are gathered and threatening rain.
Rest is relief found in life’s darkest hour; to know He is with us and held by His power. Rest is not found by fulfilling our dreams. Dreams often vanish; hopes lost, so it seems. Rest is the promise our Lord made to all, who faithfully trust Him, refusing to fall.
There remains sweet rest for people of grace; who enter that rest while seeking His face.
This life, so uncertain, can never destroy, the rest that is found when His will we enjoy. Rest is secured, the hour of believing. Today you may enter, His will now receiving.
His yoke now is easy, the burden is light. He draws near to comfort & steady your plight.
Rest comes the moment you answer His call. Depend on Him fully, no worry at all.
Rest settles the mind, anxiety none; with love now abiding, the victory’s won.
Atherton Baptist Church - Our Testimony
I remember a few years ago we went to Atherton Baptist Church for the weekend. We met with the Church leaders a number of times and met many of the Church folk. I preached on Sunday morning and gave my testimony on Sunday evening. One of the elders asked me if I was nervous about all of this seeing it affected our future. I told the elder that I wasn’t nervous because God was in control. He would open the door for me to minister there if it was His will. This takes all the pressure off us. I don’t know what the future holds but I do know the One who holds the future. Therefore I can have God’s perfect peace. I know that He will work everything out according to His perfect plan. I don’t have to work it all out. Psalm 37:5: Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. God is sovereign!
Do you have the peace of God in your life? Do you trust Him come what may? Or do you try and give God a hand? We must not be like Sarah, who had her own scheme to get a son for Abraham! God gives perfect peace to those who trust in Him; who wait for Him.
Isaiah 26:4: Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength.
a. Eternal Life
Isaiah says that God’s children receive everlasting strength. Psalm 27:1: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? We must trust the Lord to strengthen us in trying times. He can uphold us in times of grief. He can enable His people to stand strong no matter what. As we get older our bodies grow weaker. Yet God’s children are renewed by His Spirit. 2 Corinthians 4:16: Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
God’s strength is constant even though ours may weaken. There are times when the trials of life are too great for us. Our own strength is insufficient for the day. Yet God’s strength is sufficient. Paul said this in Philippians 4:13: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. There was a time when David and his 600 men returned home to Ziglag only to find it burned to the ground. Their wives and children had been carried away captive by the Amalekites. Things looked really bad for David. Yet, see how he responded to this!
1 Samuel 30:6-8: Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. Then David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, please bring the ephod here to me. And Abiathar brought the ephod to David. So David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them? And He answered him, pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all. David turned defeat into victory because He strengthened himself in the Lord His God. God wants us to look to Him for our strength. As Paul learned God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.
Isaiah 40:30-31: Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. In fact God’s strength continues on into eternal life. Psalm 73:23-26: Nevertheless I am continually with You; you hold me by my right hand. You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
In recent days I have seen some of our fellowship stand strong through suffering and grief. How can they do this? They can do this because God strengthens them and enables them to stand firm. God strengthens His people through His Word, by His Spirit, and through the support of other believers. Prayer and faith are important keys to receiving the power of God in our trials. The Lord can be our strength every day.
When God saves us from our sin He gives us eternal security, excellent stability and enabling strength for time and eternity. Have you found your security in the Lord? Has He saved you from your sins? Can you face danger, death and judgment with certainty? You only need to believe in Him! You only need to ask Him to save you from your sins? Has Jesus Christ given you perfect peace? He can if you ask Him to! Is the Lord the strength of your life?
Benediction 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.