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Isaiah10 Restoration to holiness4

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Restoration to holiness

The means

8

Votum

I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. (Psalm 31:14-16)

Blessing

8

Doxology:     Hymn no  339:   “Christ whose glory fills the skies” (Tune 396)

Call to worship

8 Let us worship the Lord.

Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore. (Psalm 125:1-2)

Invocation and the Lord’s Prayer

Invocation

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90: 1-2, 12).  Hear the prayer of your people, gathered here in the Name of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Lord’s Prayer

8 Hymn:      No 428:                 “Blessed is the man”

8 Children’s Address

8  A Christian grocer was in financial difficulties because his customers thought they could run up their bills indefinitely. They felt that such a good Christian man would never press them for payment or take them to court. Their ready excuse was, "We don't have money to pay our bills."

8 "How can I pay the people I owe money, if the people I have trusted do not pay me?" puzzled the grocer.

8  What should a Christian do in such a case--believe all things and all men and go bankrupt?  He pleaded with them.

8 He got a bright idea. He nailed the following notice on the bulletin board in front of his store: "On this bulletin board, thirty days from now, will appear the names of all persons who have owe me money for one year or more and who, after I asked them over and over again, have refuse to pay! Some have told me that they are unable to pay, but they are able to build homes, drive cars, and have other things that I could have if I had the money due me. I hope I don't have to put any names on the board, but I won't be put off any longer!"

Results followed immediately. Many paid their old accounts, while others promised to do so on the next payday.

8 This grocer's action was wholly consistent with Christian love. He refused to believe the lies of others and by so doing didn't allow them to continue to dishonest and unfaithful. Love believes all things that develops honesty and good in others. Love does not believe lies but try to correct them.

8 Behold what manner of Love (song)

8 Scripture Reading                                Romans 3:21-31 8 (with verse 22-23)

8 Prayer of Adoration and Confession

Adoration

Our heavenly Father, who is as wonderful as You are! We worship a personal God; our God is not only a power or a source of energy.  Our God created to world, and He is involved in his creation day by day, moment by moment. 

With David in Psalm 139 we declare:  O Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thoughts from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, You know it completely. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too lofty for me to attain. (Psalm 139:1–6)

Confession

Your eyes are on the ways of a man, and You see all his steps. There is no darkness or deep shadow where the workers of iniquity can hide. You do not need to examine a man further, that he should go before God in judgment. (Job 34:21–23)

So Lord, we confess our sins.  We admit our wrongdoing and stiff-neckedness.  We beg for forgiveness.

Thank you Father that You will not always strive with us, nor will You harbour your anger forever; You do not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is Your love for those who fear You; as far as the east is from the west, so far have You removed our transgressions from us. Thank you for the fact that You as our Father have compassion on your children, and as our Lord You have compassion on those who fear You. Amen.  (Psalm 103:9–13)

Declaration of pardoning

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

8 Hymn:      No 378:                 “Sing them over again to me”

8 Announcements

Offering and Dedication

8 Hymn:      No 395:                 “O come our all victorious Lord”

8 Scripture Reading                                Isaiah 1:21-31 ( 8  with verse 27)

8  Announce the theme

Sermon

Introduction

Dear Brother and Sister in the Lord,

8 In our study of Isaiah we last time heard the Word of God titled “The Gospel according to Isaiah”.  In verses 24 and 25 the Lord announced judgement because of the unfaithfulness and rebellion of his people.  But by his judgement, God had a plan of redemption for his elect.  He announced that He would turn to his people. This turn of God had in mind destruction of the rebellious, but also the restoration of the elect.  In the process God was the One who promised and acted.  The people themselves had nothing to offer.  8 Their restoration was an act of grace and mercy.  It was based and founded in the covenant of grace and mercy.  God promised to provide a redemption, and that He did in the perfect sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ.  In this way God was the Author of the Judgment and Redemption. Now we know the reason for the judgment:  Israel’s rebellion as recipient of the covenant.  We know the object, or source, of the judgment:  8 God as the Author of the covenant.  8 Today we the Word points to the means and the effect of restoration through judgement.

Means of restoration

Verse 27 of chapter 1 addresses the subject of restoration:  It is Zion.  This is another name for the people of God; his covenant people.  8 In this instance they are the rebellious child of verse 2, and the unfaithful bride of verse 21.  But, the amazing fact is that God still addresses his people as his people.  8 Like the father in the parable who lost his rebellious son who squandered away his inheritance and therefore his right to be called a son – this father did not hesitate to welcome him back and call his him son!  He put his arm around his shoulders and kissed him.  He was home again.  He was with his father again.  The father demonstrated his forgiveness by the ring on his son’s finger, the shoes on his feet and the slaughtering of the fattened calf.

Now God refers to his covenant people; the unfaithful, rebellious people whom He wanted to restore to Himself. And as we saw the tone set in verse 18, we now see it again:  there it says: 8 “Come now let us reason together.”  This reason was an opportunity for Israel to state their case.  Of course they had nothing to say, nothing to offer. 

In this verse we find two words, almost next to one another in English, but next to one another in the Hebrew.  Actually, there are two words used in what is called a parallelism. Lets look at it.

8 The first is justice.  The second is righteousness. Both these words have basically the same meaning, but there are differences.   But in this context we need to remember that they follow the word redeem.

8 This redeem has a counterpart in this word too.  The word we refer to here is translated in our translation as the penitent.

8 Redemption by Justice

We have an expression which says some things are a contradiction in terms.  Well, the first pair of words in this verse could also have sounded like a contradiction in terms when some Israelites read this for the first time. 

The word for justice in this verse refers to 8 deciding a legal dispute or case.  It also refers to a court, or a place of judgement.  It’s very much like our word church.  We say we can easily say the church have church in the church.  Israel was called for justice in the place of justice.

Now they were called to defend themselves.  The point is they couldn’t.  What would they bring in to defend themselves with?  8 The evidence against them was just too condemning. The prophet rattled it off:  a hollow worship; lips honouring the Lord, hearts far from Him; they disregarded the basics of the law by mistreating the widow and the fatherless.  They became a harlot instead of being the bride; they were likened with oxen and asses because they spurned the holy One of Israel, turning their backs upon Him.

And now the prophet said that 8 they had to be redeemed.  How can that be possible?  If the Creator of heaven and earth calls you to accountability, and you’ve got nothing to defend you with, what’s the point in the case?  Why still call it justice?

The word redeem gives us the answer:  this word ransom means ,  to buy, i.e., to bring about 8 freedom or release of a person from bondage or ownership, often implying a delivering or rescue of a person in distress (Ex 13:13; 2Sa 4:9). In some contexts the redemption has a special focus of salvation and relationship to the Lord as 8 a person now owned by God.  The form of the verb is in the passive:  that means to be redeemed. 

Yes, we cannot defend ourselves against the holy God.  We have nothing to do that.  So the case is not a mockery of justice.  When we are called before God to give account, we are empty handed.  We look terror and punishment in the eye.  We are worthy of God’s punishment.  Paul in Romans 3, the chapter we read this morning says: 

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:22-23)

In another chapter Paul states this: 

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8)

God says:  Redemption by justice.  And once we understand this we appreciate verses like 2Cor 5:21

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Redemption by justice?  A contradiction in terms?  No!  8 This is God’s unfathomable grace in operation.  God restores his people by judgement.  His judgement is through justice.  His justice is punishment upon sin.  Sin demanded a death penalty.  But, the amazing love and compassion of the righteous Father is that He chose to strike his own Son with our punishment.  The amazing love and compassion of the Son, Jesus Christ, is that He was obedient to do the will of the Father by taking the cup of wrath from the Father do become our unrighteousness in order to reconcile us to the Father.

8 Redemption by Righteousness

Now we get to the second pair of words:  righteousness and penitent

8 Penitent:  This word is widely used in the Scripture to refer to repentance.  It implies to turn back, to turn around; a change to a previous, preferable state.  It also means to restore.  In more than one instance it 8 refers to God’s action of restoring his people by bringing them back to the Promised Land.  For instance:

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:12)

In Psalm 60:1 the psalmist prays:

You have rejected us, O God, and burst forth upon us; you have been angry—now restore us! (Psalm 60:1)

Isaiah in 49:5 says:

And now the LORD says— he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength— (Isaiah 49:5)

8 So, the penitent in our verse refers both to those who turn away from their wicked ways as a result of the grace of God shown to them, as well as to the 8  gracious work of grace of God in their lives.  Actually, that’s where it all begin:  Higher up in the chapter we read about God who promised to restore the relationship between Him and his people by turning to them.  8 In a sense God repents; and because He repents He works repentance in us.  His repentance is not to overlook sin, or to excuse sin.  His repentance lies in the fact that He provides a means of redemption:  Righteousness.

And once again we have the same expression:  redemption by righteousness.  Is it possible?  Can we be saved by our own righteousness?  No!  But we can repent because of the righteousness 8 provided for us in Christ. 

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:22-23)

This repentance is possible because God draws us to Him in an act of restoration.  But in the process his righteousness is met by the perfect sacrifice of Christ.  Remember:  sin demands the death penalty.  But Christ did more than that:  He rose again to conquer death.  And He now intercedes for us at the right hand of the Father.

Conclusion

It seems to me one can construct the verse like this.

Diagram:

8  Title

8  Zion, Penitent

8  Unfaithful, Rebellious

8  Redemption

8  Justice

8  Righteousness

8  Down arrows

8  Elect, turned around

8  Cross

Let’s thank God for a perfect salvation.  But let’s also confess our sins.  Let’s turn away from what is wrong.  Let’s live holy lives worthy of the grace of God. 

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

that were an offering far too small;

love so amazing, so divine,

demands my soul, my life, my all!

8 Prayer

8 Hymn       No 522:                 “I will sing the wondrous story”

8 Benediction

Threefold “Amen”

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