Prolonging the Days of Christ
Title: Prolonging the Days of Christ
Theme: The Lord’s Messengers to the Next Generation
Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 give us the most vivid account of the crucifixion of Christ that can be found in the Word of God. Isaiah, seven hundred years before Christ was born, lets us see something of Jesus’ suffering, the sacrifice He made upon the Cross of Calvary. He also reveals to us a very special promise made from God to His Son.
If we allow the Holy Spirit to do a work in our hearts and remind us how it was our sin that put the perfect Son of God through such shame and misery, we would easily lay down those sins at the foot of the Cross, sins that so easily entangle us and hinder the work of Christ in our community. The New Testament holds at least two truths that must be grasped if we want to enjoy the presence of Christ in our lives and Holy Spirit empowerment in all we put our hands to. 1 John 1:8-10 says, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives."
Hebrews 12:1-3 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Let the Holy Spirit remind you of what was laid upon our Savior and Lord as I read Isaiah 53: 1-12, “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth, He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away. And who can speak of His descendants? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people He was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death, though He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it was the LORD's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the LORD makes His life a guilt offering, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in His hand. After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied; by His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and He will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:1-12) Pray!
I would like to propose to you that the church that gets used of God to carry the message of Christ on to the next generation has Christians who grasp the powerful truths found in this message.
Just what are those truths? Many understand that an undefiled mouth does not misuse the name of God or use filthy language. Many agree that undefiled ears do not find joy in gossip or unclean talk. Many agree that undefiled eyes do not feed upon pornography or the pleasures of this world. However, the Holy Spirit illuminated grasp the Biblical truths to what is really means to have a “Undefiled Mouth, Undefiled Ears and Undefiled Eyes.
Prolong His days
There are many truths to grasp in Isaiah 53. A truth worth grasping today is found in Isaiah 53:10. I love the way the New American Standard Bible translates it, “But Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief. If He would render Himself as a guilt offering. He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.” (Isaiah 53:10)
Our Lord Jesus Christ submitted to the curse of God for the sins of mankind. Christ did not sin, but the results of our sins were laid upon Him. This was all decided among the eternal Counsel made up of God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit and Jesus accommodated Himself to this dispensation. A dispensation is a way determined by God for which someone may prove their love to Him. Christ was obedient unto death (Philippians 2:8) because He loved God His Father.
The death and burial of Christ was not the end but the beginning of the honor and joy that was to be given Him for His obedience. The promise was that He would see God raise up a people who would come to Jesus Christ and love Him as their Savior and Lord. They would not only trust in Him to save them from eternal death and hell, but to save them from their sins. Jesus would see a seed, children that have the faith of Abraham. (Romans 4:16)
These Christians experience the same kind of life that the Apostle Paul lived. Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Christians who grasp the truth of what Isaiah wrote about in Jesus having a seed that brings glory to His name have full “[confidence] that [Christ] who began a good work in [them] will carry it on to completion…” (Philippians 1:6)
King David foresaw of a time when “..future generations will be told about the Lord.” (Psalm 22:30) A time when a people of God would “…proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn…” (Psalm 22:31) The Apostle Peter wrote about the work of Jesus’ offspring in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Because the children of God have received mercy, they want to make the sacrifice that is pleasing to the Lord and live a life of worship to Jesus Christ. Romans 12:1-2 gives clear instructions on how to be a living sacrifice unto the Lord.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2)
There are three truths found in the heart of the child of God that will be used to take the Gospel message on to the next generation. A positive response to these truths opens the door for us to be able to find God’s perfect will for us as individuals and as a church Body.
The first heart desire is to have an undefiled mouth. Listen to what Isaiah wrote about Jesus Christ, “…He had done no violence nor was any deceit in His mouth.” (Isaiah 53;9) Jesus never spoke a word that could be referred to as a falsehood. Therefore what He taught on the matters of what comes from the mouth should be taken note of.
I am fully convinced that Jesus taught that speech as a whole is a reflection of who a man really is, Jesus taught, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:33-37)
At the time of this powerful teaching, Jesus’ healing ministry and miracles were spoken of by the Pharisees as being done by and through the power of Beelzebub. Our Lord was affirming that what they said was a reflection from what they truly believed in their hearts.
If our speech is predominately true, proper, chaste, instructive, and righteous, then it proves that the heart is aright before God. If it is often false, envious, malignant and unrighteous, then it proves that the heart is wrong. The words that we speak as a whole show forth the fruit that is inside our heart, just as we can know the tree by the fruit it bears. A sinful heart produces sinful speech. Those in the medical field will tell you that certain sicknesses produce terrible breath odors. So it is with sin being expelled out through speech.
Joseph Stowell spouted off to his teacher at school and told her to shut up and then he stood up and walked out of the class room. As he walked down the block to his house he noticed that his mother was working in the yard. He stopped dead in his tracks. He thought “What am I going to tell her?” He consider his options. He could tell his mom the truth or just lie. From past experiences he knew she would most likely find out the truth eventually. He could spend the rest of the day out in the world, though where he lived that would not necessarily be the safest thing to do, or he could go back to school and face the teacher.
He chose the lesser of the three and went back to school. Upon his arrival the teacher took him by the arm and they walked into the bathroom and he got his mouth washed out with soap. Joseph said, “I needed more than a mouthwash, I needed a heart washing.”
The human heart is like dandelions, the key to its survival is its roots. Children pick their pretty little flowers, but as long as the roots remain they’ll keep growing back. People who have the responsibility to get rid of the dandelions must make sure they get the roots.
Anyone who tries to overcome a speech issue that is ugly or unpleasing to the Lord by their own efforts is facing a losing battle. Only the Holy Spirit of Christ can go down deep into the spiritual heart and clean it up and make it aright with the Lord Jesus Christ and God. Our speech is simply a revealer of what is in the heart.
The Christian church that is going to be used of God to take the gospel message to the next generation has Christians who have the heart of David who prayed, “I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.” (Psalm 17:3) “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3) They sing the same song as David who sang, "…I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence." (Psalm 39:1)
Christians who have these truths in their heart are not in the public tearing down church leadership, but rather presenting the truths of Scripture with a mouth that has applied Holy Spirit breath mints. It is imperative that immature Christians not make the mistake of being critical of those who have the gifts from Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:7-16) as they fulfill their Biblical obligation of protecting against false doctrines and false prophets. (Acts 20:28-31) The safeguard for the mouth is this: if what you are about to say has not come from prayerful study of God’s word, then what you are about to say is from the flesh, the world’s view or from the devil. This is the key truth to being involved in spreading the gospel effectively.
The church that prolongs the proclaiming of the gospel of Jesus Christ strives in their heart to have an undefiled mouth and longs to have “Undefiled Ears.” Isaiah 50:4-5 says, “The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign LORD has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious, I have not drawn back.” (Isaiah 50:4-5)
The Holy Spirit of Christ wants you to grasp this truth, “He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught” or “to listen as a disciple” (NAS). “The Lord God has opened My ear.” Many have convinced themselves that defiled ears are ears that listen to all that is displeasing to God. The real problem is that those who let their ears listen to the call of the flesh, the world and the lies of the devil are those who have no desire to have their spiritual ears tuned to the Holy Spirit of Christ.
Isaiah 50:4-5 is a passage about Jesus Christ and His relationship with the God the Father.
Christians who are used of God live as the Apostle Paul who proclaimed, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) With Jesus Christ dwelling in the spiritual hearts of born again Christians they can enjoy God wakening their spiritual ears with an attitude of listening. They can have ears of a learned disciple of Christ. They can have ears that not only hear the call of God but have understanding.
Each and every one of us falls into a mode of spiritual sleepiness and needs to be wakened daily so we can have a desire to meditate upon God’s commands and precepts. We all need the Lord God to waken us with a desire to be in the Word of God and meditate upon it as we make daily choices in this world. In the book of Luke 21:37-38 we read that Jesus taught every day in the temple and the people got up in the morning to hear Him teach.
Christians have the Word of God and they can ask the Lord to give them a listening heart and be like the disciples of Jesus day, have daily teaching of the things of God and of Christ. Here in America Christians can chose to watch and listen to worldly programming or chose to meditate upon the Word of God through Christian music, books and movies at any time they want. We are a nation that has an abundance of Christian music, DVD’s and Biblical teachings. Today’s messenger listens to the Word of God attentively, submissively and gladly because it is God who has wakened his spiritual heart.
On the road to Emmus two disciples had their hearts burning within them as Jesus talked with them about the Holy Scriptures. (Luke 24:32) When he appeared to His disciples Luke 24:45 says, “Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:32) It is Holy Spirit enlightened Christians whom God will use to get the message of Christ around the world.
Can you be seen as a child of God who is hungry for the proclaiming and teachings of the Word of God? Is there an eagerness to listen?
In the Bible (Nehemiah 8) we read of a time after Nehemiah had made the adequate preparations to guard the city. He appointed singers so Jerusalem could have joy in the Lord and then he made provision for a great reading of the Word of God. The Bible says on the first day of the seventh month the people assembled as one man and Ezra the priest read aloud from the law from daybreak until 12:00 noon. The Bible says the people listened attentively to the Book of the law. (Nehemiah 8:1-3) On the second day of the seventh month the head of families, the priests and the Levites gathered to give attention to the words of the law. (Nehemiah 8:13)
The Bible says at that time those who read from the law taught in a way to make clear the teachings so people could understand what was being proclaimed through the law of God. (Nehemiah 8:8) Before the month was over there was a great revival among God’s people, by the twenty-fourth day the Israelites gathered, confessed their sins and the sins of their fathers. We read that the people stood and listened to the Book of the law for a quarter of the day.
In the book of Acts we read on the first day of the week the people of God met all night to hear the preaching of God’s Word. (Acts 20:7-12) It must be noted that the length of the sermon, short or long is not the focus, it is the content. Is it the preaching of God’s Word and are the people who gathered together hungry or attentive to the Word of God?
Christians who will be used to carry the gospel to the next generations are a people of God who are noble minded (eguenes), a people who give generous attention and who have a great eagerness to receive the message, (prothumia) they listen to it respectfully. They enter into the place of public worship to listen. (Ecclesiastes 5:1) They long to become disciples of Christ and they imitate His life by being listeners of God.
An undefiled ear is listening for God and the church that carries the gospel message to the next generation has Christians who have “Undefiled Eyes.” Listen to these powerful words about Christ from the prophecy of Isaiah, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--and He will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what He sees with His eyes, or decide by what He hears with His ears; but with righteousness He will judge the needy, with justice He will give decisions for the poor of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:1-4)
Jesus Christ being fully God and being fully man came to walk and live upon this guilty sod and He shows how to live a truly righteous life under the complete will of God. Jesus lived in the counsel and power of the Holy Spirit and in reverent fear of God the Father. Our Lord Jesus chose to be connected to His Father. The church which carries the gospel of Christ to the next generation will have only Christ as the head of the church, not traditionalism, not denominationalism, nor legalism or faddism. The church the Lord uses has Christians who make their life convictions from the whole counsel of God’s Word.
Romans 14:1-22 holds a powerful life changing truth for the church hungry and willing to submit to God’s will as Christ did. The truth the Holy Spirit wants us to grasp is that we are not to be living in a judgmental attitude to other ministries or others in ministry. I did not say that we are not to speak against or reject false teachings which are out there. However, there are disputable matters that are fought over to the point of causing a judgmental attitude in the mind and this is grieving to the Work of Christ.
In Romans 14 there is a verse that should waken our ears and put a bit on our tongues. It says, “Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4)
The church that God uses has Christians who have the prayer of David who wrote, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) These Christians overcome the temptation of judging in the flesh. They do not spend their time arguing over how many hymns to sing or how many choruses to sing or how long the song service is, they just sing in their hearts to God and they desire the Holy Spirit’s presence. These Christians do not spend their time criticizing other churches, they spend their time prayerfully studying the whole counsel of God’s Word. These Christians do not spend time judging new Christians, but spend their time presenting God’s truths in a way that challenges and builds up new converts. They make the way for the backslider to return home to Christ instead of putting obstacles in their way that keep them away from the family of God. They make provision for the poor in spirit on the earth to grow in their knowledge of and their relationship with Christ.
The church that is going to be used by God to take the gospel message to the next generation has Christians who grasp the truth of the Proverb 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
When they sing “Jesus be Jesus in me” it is a prayer song meaning “Lord make me like you.” They have understanding of what it means to have and live with an undefiled mouth, undefiled ears and undefiled eyes.
A man of God whom the Lord has used to minister to me through the preaching of God’s Word is Pastor David Wilkerson. He now has a ministry that God is using to minister to pastors all over the world. While he was making the final arrangements to really excel this new work the Lord did a work in his heart. Like most great men of God and all quality ministries, David invited the Lord to prepare him for the powerful ministry that was about to take a greater world wide outreach to pastors than David ever knew before.
He asked the Lord to keep a tight rein on his mouth, purify his speech so as to fulfill the exhortation from the Apostle Paul, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:29-30)
The Lord spoke to him about His own heart and how he was unwilling to listen, how he so often wanted to share what was going on in his own ministry and not hear what God was doing in someone else’s ministry. He did not truly have a listening heart.
Then the Holy Spirit did a work in his heart about how to have undefiled eyes. There was a minister David knew and judged by what he saw. David thought in his mind that this man was only boastful and a show off. The Lord got after him about his mentally judging others. Then the Lord showed him what undefiled eyes were by letting God be the Judge of what is His work.
The church that lets God purify the mouth, ears and eyes will be used to prolong the spreading of the Gospel of Christ.
Let us pray!!!!