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Advent 1997 -2- The Lord Has Spoken

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Reading: Isaiah 40:1-9
And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 40:5 (NIV)

I.   Comfort, comfort My People

     A.  God’s people

           1.  Who’s people are they anyway?

                 a.  Looking at God’s people it is sometimes easy to forget who they are.

           2.  They had forgotten that

                 a.  The people themselves had forgotten who they were.

           3.  God had not

                 a.  God had to discipline them.

                 b.  But God never forgot they were His.

     B.  Comfort the Uncomfortable

           1.  They needed comfort because God was disciplining them.

                 a.  God disciplines whom he loves.

                 b.  After discipline God acts like a father comforting the disciplined child.

           2.  Tender speech was necessary

                 a.  Prophets sometimes speak hard words, but now was a time for gentle words.

           3.  There is no comfort for those who ache for God, until this comfort is proclaimed: God is coming to you!

     C.  The payment Has Been made

           1.  Her sin has been paid for: She had endured the punishment God told her she would, if she forsook God’s covenant.

                 a.  God plainly told them he would punish them if they turned away from him.

           2.  Our payment has ultimately been made through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus!

                 a.  Jesus whose birth we celebrate in a few weeks came for this reason.

           3.  Double — a poetic way of saying, more than enough to be fully restored, more than enough to receive God’s blessing.

II.  Prepare the way!

     A.  God is Coming

           1.  He’s coming back to His people!

                 a.  He restored their relationship with Him!

                 b.  He is restoring His blessings to them!

           2.  He’s coming to us!

                 a.  He came as a child into Bethlehem.

                 b.  He comes into our hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit

                 c.  He will come in fullness at the end of history.

     B.  Fill in the Valleys

           1.  In every way we lack.

                 a.  Let’s fill up all we can in areas where we are lacking morally, relationally, spiritually.

           2.  In every way we feel depressed.

                 a.  Let’s fill our emotional pot-holes with the joy that He is coming to US!

           3.  In every way we run short.

                 a.  All our needs are met in Him!

     C.  Move the mountains

           1.  Whatever big things stand between us and God.

                 a.  Usually these are our things: our habits, our addictions, our rebellions.

           2.  Mountains are too big to move (without Faith!). But move them anyway!

                 a.  Some mountains are only mountains when we try to cross them alone.

           3.  Smooth out everything that stands in the way of a full and immediate experience of God’s presence.

                 a.  We usually know what these are — at least some of them.

                 b.  Pick one thing - one speed bump between you and God and work on it.

III. The Glory revealed

     A.  Glory equals Presence

           1.  God’s glory is not merely his fame.

                 a.  God isn’t interested in our opinion of His power or goodness.

           2.  God’s glory is always used to refer to his actual presence.

                 a.  While God is always present, we don’t always recognize Him.

           3.  God’s glory is used to refer to a real experience of God’s presence.

                 a.  Not an imagined or sentimental thing,

                 b.  An overpowering or gently whispering experience of God Himself.

     B.  Revealed to All

           1.  All mankind together will see it!

                 a.  This is becoming true as the message of Jesus is being spread

                 b.  This will be finally true when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess who really is Lord of all.

           2.  This is not for a select few - it’s for everyone.

                 a.  The experience of God’s presence isn’t only for“holy” people.

                 b.  An experience of God Himself is available to all who come to Him.

           3.  That means God wants to reveal Himself to you and me too!

     C.  The Lord has Spoken!

           1.  There is no way this won’t happen.

                 a.  As if to underscore the certainty of this prophecy — to assure us He means business.

                 b.  God never goes back on His word.

           2.  It is God’s intention that it will happen.

                 a.  This is God’s plan for us, not our wish for Him

                 b.  God wants a full and healthy relationship with us!

           3.  God has spoken to us, as he did to Isaiah. Spread His Word!

                 a.  Isaiah was faithful to spread this message!

                 b.  There are people who still have not heard the message explained in a way they understand.

The Bottom Line:

God tells us He is Coming! Remove everything in your life that inhibits a Full and immediate experience of His presence.

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