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Sabbath: the Foundation for Worship

Sabbath: the Foundation for Worship

Exodus 20:8-11

8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

When talking about worship we frequently hear sermons on who we worship, how we worship, and why we worship but I cannot tell you the last time I heard a sermon on the Sabbath. We are going to talk about the Sabbath as being integral to worship but I am not going to be proscriptive as to whether the Sabbath is Saturday or Sunday (Romans 14); we will discuss why before our time together concludes.

What is the Sabbath?

Literally, the Sabbath is the seventh and in the case of days of the week, it is the 7th day. On our calendar this would, typically be Saturday as the week would begin on Sunday. However, According to international standard ISO 8601, Monday is the first day of the week. It is followed by Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Sunday is the 7th and final day and Although this is the international standard, several countries, including the United States, Canada, and Australia consider Sunday as the start of the week.

How did the Sabbath get started?

The principle of a Sabbath rest goes all the way back to the dawn of time as we know it. It was instituted by God Himself. Look at Genesis 2:2, “On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work.”

I want to be careful, here, to point out that God did not rest because He was somehow tired or depleted; that is an entirely human concept and struggle. If you will look at the account of creation in Genesis one we see over and over again, “and God saw that it was good.” The creation that God had made was good and I want you to understand that this does not simply mean that it was high quality, even though it was; when God saw that it was good, He saw that it was pleasing/delightful/enjoyable. So when God rested, He was pausing to enjoy that which He created.

What is the Sabbath’s Purpose?

There are 3 things I want you to think about when it comes to the Sabbath:

  1. It is a time to cease laboring/striving and to have fellowship.
  2. A day of rest gives our body time to replenish
  3. The Sabbath is a sign of the coming age when we will be in perfect communion with God.

Cease laboring/striving and have fellowship.

As Baptists, we tend to think of the “fellowship” time as involving food and while that is certainly a legitimate component of fellowship, the overall point of the fellowship time is to cultivate a relationship. In this case we are cultivating a relationship with God through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

  • Knowledge of God in Christ should be our greatest delight ( 9:23–24; 1 Cor. 2:2; Gal. 6:14).
  • Knowing God is the basis of attaining eternal life (John 17:3); it is at the heart of life in the new covenant ( 8:11–12);
  • Paul’s primary goal was to know God and we follow Paul’s example ( 3:10);
  • Knowing God and resting in Him leads to godly love (1 John 4:7–8).

God will never be known absolutely, but we can know things about him that are absolutely true, so much so that we can be willing to live and die for those beliefs. God has provided knowledge of himself that is personal, relational, and sufficient for fruitful, faithful, godly living. No one will ever be able to say he lacked the necessary revelation to know God and to start living as God intends.

The importance of relationship with God is, perhaps, never more clear than in Matthew 7:21-23 where Jesus points out that there are some who think that they have a relationship with God but really do not. They have the illusion of a relationship, so to speak.

A Sabbath gives us time to replenish

By design, the human body can only do so much and then it must rest; this is most evident in our sleep cycle. There are hormones, neurotransmitters, amino acids, etc which are critical to the normal functioning of our body that can be depleted. When these are depleted the body ceases to function in its normal way and various types of illness set in. One of the most common of these illnesses is clinical depression which many doctors now think is linked to a loss of serotonin, one of the most important and powerful neurotransmitters in our body. One doctor I spoke with told me that it can take about 30 hours for the body to replenish its natural supply of serotonin…

It is interesting to note that 4000 years ago, God proscribed a time of rest that we now know is not only essential to our spiritual well being but to our physical as well.  In fact proper rest is so important that the following symptoms/behaviors let us know our body is not resting properly:

  • yawning
  • moodiness
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • depressed mood
  • difficulty learning new concepts
  • forgetfulness
  • inability to concentrate or a “fuzzy” head
  • lack of motivation
  • clumsiness
  • increased appetite and carbohydrate cravings

 

You might be asking yourself, “what does physical rest have to do with worship?”  Let me tell you that worship is not simply giving God praise or listening to a sermon etc. The whole of worship is developing that relationship with God wherein He knows us intimately and we know Him as intimately as is possible for a finite human being.

The Sabbath is a sign of communion yet to come.

Before the fall, man walked with God in the cool of the evening (Genesis 3:8). Now the Bible is not clear as to how God walked in the garden or what it looked like when Adam and Eve walked with Him but we are able to know that since the man and woman hid from the presence of the LORD, at one point there was fellowship that had been broken by sin. Where God was once coming in enjoyment and pleasure, at that moment he was coming in judgment.

Since the day of the first sin, fellowship with God has been impaired, even broken. We do not have the same relationship with the Lord that we once had but we will have it once more.

You will hear people say that someone has “entered into eternal rest” and you may have even asked yourself what that means. It means that the believer in Christ has entered into a perpetual Sabbath, forever in God’s presence and delighting in Him. Revelation 22:1-5 gives us a picture of what that eternal rest will look like. YHWH will be our God and we will be His people and we will fellowship with Him forever.

How do we keep the Sabbath holy?

This is a very important question since reverencing the Sabbath is commanded in the Scripture. Honoring the Sabbath by keeping it holy is, as far as I can tell, the most challenging commandment for us to keep as we try to keep afloat in the sea of paganism that we call western culture. We Baptists love lists so I am going to give you three words to keep in ming when considering the Sabbath:

  • Recognize
  • Gather
  • Minister

Recognize

Recognize that you need a Sabbath. It is critical to both your Spiritual and physical well being that you take a time to rest. You cannot, properly, commune with God from a state of exhaustion. To fully commune with God, you need a time of replenishment; being able to commune with the God of Heaven and Earth is an enjoyment not a burden.

Gather

Hebrews 10:25 reminds us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together for this very reason: corporate worship tends to be very refreshing to our souls. Gathering together to sing praises, to hear how God is working in the lives of other believers, to come to the Communion Table, and so on brings a delight to the soul of the believer.

Minister

A natural outflow of our fellowship with God is that there will be opportunities to minister, both to Him and to others. The verb minister means to attend to someone specifically with regard to their needs. But if God needs nothing, how do we then minister to Him? We minister to God by being attentive to His commands/precepts/principles and by leading others to Him to be redeemed by the Lord.

Is the Sabbath Saturday or Sunday?

Yes.

Some people are very rigid that the Sabbath is Saturday, others are insistent that it is Sunday. Both miss the point. The Sabbath is a person, God Himself. God is our source of everything, including our rests and our delights. When we take a Sabbath, we are taking time to be with Him and in His presence where there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).

Whether you observe Saturday or Sunday is less important than whether or not you are taking the time to rest in God’s presence and to fellowship with Him. Without getting into a whole other sermon, when Jesus rebuked the Pharisees regarding the Sabbath, He was not rebuking them for not being fastidious in keeping it; He rebuked them for missing the point entirely, to be with God and delight in Him, knowing and being fully known.

Lastly, when Jesus said the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, He was not simply implying that He has authority over the Sabbath. Instead, the message was, “the Son of Man is, in fact, the very God who gives you the Sabbath in the first place.” When you delight in the Sabbath, you are delighting in Jesus and when you are delighting in Jesus you are then worshipping fully because your worship stems from your love for Him and your pleasure in being His.

“Bad Girls in the Line of the Redeemer”

“Bad Girls in the Line of the Redeemer”

When you hear a sermon on the last Sunday of Advent, you don’t usually hear a sermon on the genealogy of Jesus and even more rarely do you hear a lesson on the women in the genealogy which is sad because their inclusion is absolutely brilliant and is a perfect illustration of why Christ’s Advent occurred in the first place-to redeem a people, perhaps even a people that you and I would never expect, unto Himself and to glorify God the Father in their redeeming.

Matthew opens his Gospel with the Family Tree of Jesus and he does so to demonstrate 3 critical facts:

  1. Though Jesus was, in fact, God the Son, He was also a flesh and blood human being.
  2. Matthew illustrates that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah, the Divine King who would rule Israel, and even the nations, forever. Matthew proves his claim by providing the patrilineal genealogy of Jesus.
  3. Jesus has power to save the whole world. Matthew, conspicuously, includes gentiles in the lineage of Jesus thereby showing that Messiah, in His first advent, has come to redeem from the whole of the world.

I want to give you a thought to keep in mind as we go: In the days of Jesus, the Oral Tradition was very important and a recitation of a genealogy would call to mind the stories of the individuals listed and would serve as a record of God’s Grace.

Tamar… Rahab… Ruth… her who had been the wife of Uriah: This genealogy is noted for the unusual presence of four women. Women were rarely mentioned in ancient genealogies, and the four mentioned here are worthy of special note as examples of God’s grace. They show how God can take unlikely people and use them in great ways.

Tamar: She sold herself as a prostitute to her father-in-law Judah to bring forth Perez and Zerah (Genesis 38).

Rahab: She was a Gentile prostitute, for whom God took extraordinary measures to save from both judgment and her lifestyle of prostitution (Joshua 2; 6:22-23).

Ruth: She was from Moab, a Gentile, and until her conversion out of the covenant of Israel (Ruth 1).

Her who had been the wife of Uriah: Bathsheba (who is mentioned by implication in Matthew 1:6) was an adulteress, infamous for her sin with David (2 Samuel 11).

“Matthew’s peculiar way of referring to her, ‘Uriah’s wife,’ may be an attempt to focus on the fact that Uriah was not an Israelite but a Hittite.” (Carson)

These women have an important place in the genealogy of Jesus to demonstrate that Jesus identifies with sinners in His genealogy, even as He will in His birth, baptism, life, and His death on the cross. “Jesus is heir of a line in which flows the blood of the harlot Rahab, and of the rustic Ruth; he is akin to the fallen and to the lowly, and he will show his love even to the poorest and most obscure.” (Spurgeon)

These women have an important place in the genealogy of Jesus to show that there is a new place for women under the New Covenant. In both the pagan and the Jewish culture of that day, men often had little regard for women. In that era, some Jewish men prayed every morning thanking God that they were not Gentiles, slaves or women. Despite that, women were regarded more highly among the Jews than they were among the pagans.

“By far the most amazing thing about this pedigree is the names of the women who appear in it.” (Barclay)

“Men and women, notorious for their evil character, lie in the direct line of his descen. This was permitted, that He might fully represent our fallen race.” (Meyer)

So let’s look at the notorious women that no one would expect to be in the line of Messiah the King

SARAH: Laughing all the way to redemption (Genesis 18:9-15)

Why is Sarah so important? She is the mother of the people of Israel and it is from Israel that we receive Messiah the King. Sarah, then is “mother” of the Redeemer.

Strengths and accomplishments

  • Was intensely loyal to her own child
  • Became the mother of a nation and an ancestor of Jesus
  • Was a woman of faith, the first woman listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11

Weaknesses and mistakes

  • Had trouble believing God’s promises to her
  • Attempted to work problems out on her own, without consulting God
  • Tried to cover her faults by blaming others

Lessons from her life

  • God responds to faith even in the midst of failure
  • God is not bound by what usually happens; he can stretch the limits and cause unheard-of events to occur

Key verse

“It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise” (Hebrews 11:11).

Sarah’s story unfolds in Genesis 11—25. She is also mentioned in Isaiah 51:2; Romans 4:19; 9:9; Hebrews 11:11; 1 Peter 3:6.

TAMAR: Holding the Line

Genesis 38:1-30

Why is Tamar important to the Old Testament? Tamar held fast the line of Judah by forcing him to father an heir for her and, it is this line that leads to Jesus.

Fast Facts:

  • Widowed by Er, Judah’s 1st born son.
  • Widowed a 2nd time by Onan, Judah’s 2nd son, who was struck dead by God for refusing to consummate the marriage with Tamar.
  • Pretended to be a prostitute to trick Judah into fathering an heir for her.

Life lessons:

  • Even when a person refuses to obey, God’s plans cannot be thwarted.
  • Though wicked deeds are not encouraged, they can be redeemed for God’s glory

 

RAHAB: A prodigal daughter comes home (Joshua 6:22-23)

Why is Rahab so important? Rahab kept the 12 spies safe as they scouted the promised land. She fathered Boaz, the kinsman redeemer who plays a major role in the life of Ruth and also gives a picture of redemption.

Strengths and accomplishments

  • Relative of Boaz, and thus an ancestor of David and Jesus
  • One of only two women listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11
  • Resourceful, willing to help others at great cost to herself

Weakness and mistake

  • She was a prostitute

Lesson from her life

  • She did not let fear affect her faith in God’s ability to deliver

Key verse

“It was by faith that Rahab the prostitute was not destroyed with the people in her city who refused to obey God. For she had given a friendly welcome to the spies” (Hebrews 11:31).

Rahab’s story unfolds in Joshua 2 and 6:22, 23. She is also mentioned in Matthew 1:5; Hebrews 11:31; and James 2:25.

 

RUTH: Foretelling the gathering gentiles (Ruth 1:6–4:16)

Why is Ruth important? Ruth was from Moab making her a gentile. Her story foretells that Messiah the King will redeem from the whole world.

Strengths and accomplishments

  • A relationship where the greatest bond was faith in God
  • A relationship of strong mutual commitment
  • A relationship in which each person tried to do what was best for the other

Life Lessons from Ruth

  • God’s living presence in a relationship overcomes differences that might otherwise create division and disharmony

Key verses

“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!’ ” (Ruth 1:16, 17).

Ruth’s Story unfolds in the book that bears her name. Ruth is also mentioned in Matthew 1:5.

BATHSHEBA: the Mistress who became queen (2 Samuel 11:2-5; 1 Kings 1:11-53; 2:13-25)

Why is Bathsheba important? Bathsheba was consort and later wife to David, Israel’s most important King, David, who gives Messiah his right to rule. Bathsheba is the mother of the Royal line of Messiah the King.

Strengths and accomplishments

  • Became influential in the palace alongside her son Solomon
  • Was the mother of Israel’s wisest king and an ancestor of Jesus Christ

Weakness and mistake

  • Committed adultery
  • Lost her son through divine judgment

Lessons from her life

  • Although we may feel caught up in a chain of events, we are still responsible for the way we participate in those events
  • A sin may seem like one small seed, but the harvest of consequences is beyond measure
  • In the worst possible situations, God is still able to bring about good when people truly turn to him
  • While we must live with the natural consequences of our sins, God’s forgiveness of sin is complete

Key verses

“When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But the Lord was displeased with what David had done” (2 Samuel 11:26, 27).

Bathsheba’s story unfolds in 2 Samuel 11—12 and 1 Kings 1—2. A related passage is Psalm 51.

WHAT DO THESE WOMEN HAVE TO DO WITH ADVENT?

 

Christ’s first advent is the story of the Redeemer and His second will be the story of the Righteous Judge. As John MacArthur points out, “each of these women’s lives is an object lesson in the outworking of Divine Grace.”

 

I have a few things for you to keep in mind as we close out the Advent Season:

  1. We have all sinned and we all need the grace that Christ’s first advent brought.
  2. Jesus, being truly God and truly man can identify will all our temptations and can redeem us from our sin.
  3. No matter how terrible or plentiful that your sins may be, you can still come to Jesus. I am reminded of the invitation of George Whitefield…

 

Come then unto Christ every one that hears me this night; I offer Jesus Christ, pardon, and salvation to all you, who will accept thereof. Come, O ye drunkards, lay aside your cups, drink no more to excess; come and drink of the water which Christ will give you, and then you will thirst no more: come, O ye thieves; let him that has stolen, steal no more, but fly unto Christ and he will receive you. Come unto him, O ye harlots; lay aside your lusts and turn unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon you, he will cleanse you of all your sins, and wash you in his blood. Come, all ye liars; come, all ye Pharisees; come, all ye fornicators, adulterers, swearers, and blasphemers, come to Christ, and he will take away all your filth, he will cleanse you from your pollution, and your sins shall be done away. Come, come, my guilty brethren; I beseech you for Christ’s sake, and for your immortal soul’s sake, to come unto Christ: Do not let me knock at the door of your hearts in vain, but open and let the King of Glory in, and he will dwell with you, he will come and sup with you this night; this hour, this moment he is ready to receive you, therefore come unto him.

 

To be absolutely sure… The message of Advent is this: Jesus came to redeem sinners and He receives all who come to Him. You can come; Jesus will never turn any who will bow to His Lordship. This Advent Season bow your knee to Christ. You will never be the same.

A Righteous Branch From David’s Royal Family

A Righteous Branch From David’s Royal Family

Isaiah 11:1-16

This chapter is a prophetic picture of the glory of the future kingdom, which will be set up when David’s Son returns in glory

“The stump of Jesse” (11:1).

‘Jesse’ was King David’s father; the ‘shoot… out of the stump of Jesse’ is a king from David’s dynasty. The imagery of the previous section continues here, linking the second and third sections of the poem. Whereas the high trees representing Assyria’s imperial haughtiness will be cut down to size (10.33-34), real strength will emerge from the lowest part–the ‘stock’ (lit. “roots”)–of the humble tree representing David’s dynasty. Isaiah’s insistence on humility and displeasure with human conceit determine the contrast between the images of trees in 11.1 and 10.33-34; If the translation ‘stump’ is correct, then this passage may presume that the Davidic dynasty will (or has) come to an end; this reading would deviate significantly from Isaiah’s notion that Davidic kings will reign eternally (2 Samuel 7.8-16; Psalm 89.20-37). But the Hebrew “geza'” refers not only to a ‘stump’ of a tree that has been cut down but also to the trunk of a living tree. The latter translation does not presuppose the dynasty’s downfall.

Indeed,  trunk is a better choice here as the Messiah will be the king from David’s line who will rule eternally.

The Sprit of the Lord and the Messianic King (11:2)

“The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him: The Branch that comes from the apparently dead stump isn’t just barely alive. It is full of life, and full of the Spirit of the LORD. The Messiah has seven – the number of fullness and completion – aspects of the Spirit of the LORD.

 

  1. He has the Spirit of the LORD. It is not a false spirit or a deceiving spirit or even the spirit of a man. The Spirit of the LORD God of Israel rests upon the Messiah. Once Jesus rebuked the disciples saying, You do not know what manner of spirit you are of (Luke 9:55). Jesus was of the Spirit of the LORD, and He knew it.

 

  1. The Spirit of wisdom is upon the Messiah. Jesus is perfectly wise in all things. He showed it among us during his earthly ministry, and He shows it now in His ministry towards us in heaven. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says that Jesus became for us wisdom from God. It isn’t just that Jesus has wisdom; He is wisdom!

 

  1. The Spirit of… understanding is upon Him. Jesus understands all things, and He understands us perfectly. He is perfectly suited to be our sympathetic High Priest in heaven (Hebrews 4:15-16). Understanding in Hebrew has the idea of a sharp sense of smell. Trapp says it describes Jesus’ “Sharpness of judgment in smelling out a hypocrite… His sharp nose easily discerneth and is offended with the stinking breath of the hypocrite’s rotten lungs, though his words be never so scented and perfumed with shows of holiness.”

 

  1. The Spirit of counsel is upon Jesus. He has perfect counsel to give us at all times. He has both the wisdom and the understanding to be a perfect counselor!

 

  1. The Spirit of… might is upon Jesus. He has the power to do what He desires to do. Many would help us if they could, but are powerless. Others may have the power to help us, but don’t care about us. Jesus has both the love and the might to help us.
  2. The Spirit of knowledge is upon Jesus. He knows everything. He knows our hearts, He knows all the facts. Many times we have made decisions that seemed strange or wrong to others because they didn’t have the knowledge that we have. Jesus has knowledge that we don’t have, so it shouldn’t surprise us that sometimes His decisions seem strange or wrong to others.
  3. The Spirit of… the fear of the LORDis upon Jesus. He willingly kept Himself in a place of submission, respect, and honor to God the Father.” ~ Guzik

This passage is behind the term the sevenfold Spirit of God used in Revelation 1:4, 3:, 4:5 and 5:6. It isn’t that there are seven different spirits of God, rather the Spirit of the LORD has these characteristics, and He has them all in fullness and perfection.

 

The Spirit of the LORD: These seven characteristics describe the nature of the Spirit of the LORD. They also describe the nature of Jesus. There is no difference between the nature of Jesus and the nature of the Holy Spirit. When we see Jesus, we see the Father (John 14:9). When we see the Spirit of the LORD at work, it should look like the ministry and the nature of Jesus.

Excursus: THE SPIRIT OF GOD

Many people in the Bible were filled with the Spirit to do great things.

  • Joseph: Genesis 41:38-39
  • Bezaleel (craftsman): Exodus 35:31
  • Eldad and Medad (prophesy): Numbers 11:26-30
  • Balaam: Numbers 24:2
  • Othniel: Judges 3:10
  • Gideon: Judges 6:34
  • Jephthah: Judges 11:29
  • Samson: Judges 13:25; 14:6,19; 15:14
  • Saul: 1 Samuel 10:5-6,10; 11:6
  • David: 1 Samuel 16:13
  • Saul’s messengers: 1 Samuel 19:20
  • Elisha: 2 Kings 3:15
  • Amasai (chief captain): 1 Chronicles 12:18
  • Azariah (prophet): 2 Chronicles 15:1
  • Jahaziel: 2 Chronicles 20:14
  • Zechariah: 2 Chronicles 24:20
  • Christ: Isaiah 11:2
  • Ezekiel: Ezekiel 2:2
  • Mary: Luke 1:35
  • Elisabeth: Luke 1:41
  • Zacharias: Luke 1:67
  • New Christians: Acts 2:4; 10:44
  • Stephen: Acts 7:55
  • Philip: Acts 8:39
  • Peter: Acts 10:19
  • Ephesian Christians: Acts 19:6

 

How Messiah judges (11:3-5).

The traditional ideal of royal justice involved extraordinary judicial insight (1 Kings 3.4–28) and harsh justice on oppressors (Psalms 72; 101)

The theme of motive introduced in 10:7-11 is amplified here to include the totality of actions and intent. As God, the Messiah knows reality perfectly, so He is able to judge “with righteousness.” His decisions, so unlike the decisions of human government that weigh a person’s wealth or social standing, will be “for the poor of the earth.”

The fact that His judgment will be enforced absolutely is expressed in the image of striking the earth “with the rod of His mouth.”

Acting as God’s representative, the Messiah will execute judgment on the wicked and the oppressors and will offer God’s protection and blessing upon the righteous, who are lowly and humble

The Kingdom to Come (11:6-9).  A description of the Messianic kingdom. Some interpreters take these conditions to be literal, describing those that will actually exist in the new heaven and the new earth (65:17-25); this would be the position that we hold as Dispensationalist. This would involve a radical change in the natures of the animals involved. This picture of cruel beasts regenerated with a new nature that makes them protect their natural prey portrays a reign of peace and security. This can only be realized in the return of the Messiah to establish the kingdom of God (65:17 – 25; Rev 21:1 – 8).

The point is that of v. 9: where the Messiah rules, where “the knowledge of the Lord” prevails, there will be no place for violence or destruction. Precisely how that is to be realized must be left to the imagination; it will be utterly different from anything citizens of the present fallen creation know. It may now be realized person by person, but one day it will be universal.

“A banner for the peoples” (11:10-12).

For the Gentiles will seek Him: Literally this says Ha’Goyim (the Nations) will seek Him.  The glory of the reign of the Messiah will be not only for the Jew, but for the Gentile also. He shall stand as a banner to the people, lifted high to draw all peoples to Him. We have begun to see this is the church age and it will culminate in the Millennial Kingdom when all the saved from all tongues and tribes come to attend the Messiah and worship before His Throne.

 

Side note: The banner was used before to call the nations to judgment against Israel (Isaiah 5:26). Now the banner calls the nations to the blessings of the Messiah.

The second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left: In the reign of the Messiah, there will be another Exodus of the Jewish people, delivering them not only from Egypt, but from all nations where they have been dispersed. In this final Exodus and return to the Promised Land, all of Israel (that is, the righteous remnant) will be restored, forever to be God’s people and the delight of His heart.

Perfect Peace in the Kingdom (13-16)

Nations that have constantly harassed God’s people have finally met their judgment. Jesus will righteously judge and recompense the nations. They will turn their weapons into farming equipment. “Neither shall they learn war anymore (2:4)

At last the end of war, which has plagued man since the fall is ended. War along with its master, Death, has no place in the everlasting kingdom. In Adam’s fall we were denied Eden, in Messiah’s perfect reign, a paradise better than Eden is given us. Messiah the King will be our God and we will be His people and we shall enjoy Him forever.

 

A Righteous Branch From David’s Royal Family

A Righteous Branch From David’s Royal Family

Isaiah 11:1-16

This chapter is a prophetic picture of the glory of the future kingdom, which will be set up when David’s Son returns in glory

“The stump of Jesse” (11:1).

‘Jesse’ was King David’s father; the ‘shoot… out of the stump of Jesse’ is a king from David’s dynasty. The imagery of the previous section continues here, linking the second and third sections of the poem. Whereas the high trees representing Assyria’s imperial haughtiness will be cut down to size (10.33-34), real strength will emerge from the lowest part–the ‘stock’ (lit. “roots”)–of the humble tree representing David’s dynasty. Isaiah’s insistence on humility and displeasure with human conceit determine the contrast between the images of trees in 11.1 and 10.33-34; If the translation ‘stump’ is correct, then this passage may presume that the Davidic dynasty will (or has) come to an end; this reading would deviate significantly from Isaiah’s notion that Davidic kings will reign eternally (2 Samuel 7.8-16; Psalm 89.20-37). But the Hebrew “geza'” refers not only to a ‘stump’ of a tree that has been cut down but also to the trunk of a living tree. The latter translation does not presuppose the dynasty’s downfall.

Indeed,  trunk is a better choice here as the Messiah will be the king from David’s line who will rule eternally.

The Sprit of the Lord and the Messianic King (11:2)

“The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him: The Branch that comes from the apparently dead stump isn’t just barely alive. It is full of life, and full of the Spirit of the LORD. The Messiah has seven – the number of fullness and completion – aspects of the Spirit of the LORD.

 

  1. He has the Spirit of the LORD. It is not a false spirit or a deceiving spirit or even the spirit of a man. The Spirit of the LORD God of Israel rests upon the Messiah. Once Jesus rebuked the disciples saying, You do not know what manner of spirit you are of (Luke 9:55). Jesus was of the Spirit of the LORD, and He knew it.

 

  1. The Spirit of wisdom is upon the Messiah. Jesus is perfectly wise in all things. He showed it among us during his earthly ministry, and He shows it now in His ministry towards us in heaven. 1 Corinthians 1:30 says that Jesus became for us wisdom from God. It isn’t just that Jesus has wisdom; He is wisdom!

 

  1. The Spirit of… understanding is upon Him. Jesus understands all things, and He understands us perfectly. He is perfectly suited to be our sympathetic High Priest in heaven (Hebrews 4:15-16). Understanding in Hebrew has the idea of a sharp sense of smell. Trapp says it describes Jesus’ “Sharpness of judgment in smelling out a hypocrite… His sharp nose easily discerneth and is offended with the stinking breath of the hypocrite’s rotten lungs, though his words be never so scented and perfumed with shows of holiness.”

 

  1. The Spirit of counsel is upon Jesus. He has perfect counsel to give us at all times. He has both the wisdom and the understanding to be a perfect counselor!

 

  1. The Spirit of… might is upon Jesus. He has the power to do what He desires to do. Many would help us if they could, but are powerless. Others may have the power to help us, but don’t care about us. Jesus has both the love and the might to help us.
  2. The Spirit of knowledge is upon Jesus. He knows everything. He knows our hearts, He knows all the facts. Many times we have made decisions that seemed strange or wrong to others because they didn’t have the knowledge that we have. Jesus has knowledge that we don’t have, so it shouldn’t surprise us that sometimes His decisions seem strange or wrong to others.
  3. The Spirit of… the fear of the LORDis upon Jesus. He willingly kept Himself in a place of submission, respect, and honor to God the Father.” ~ Guzik

This passage is behind the term the sevenfold Spirit of God used in Revelation 1:4, 3:, 4:5 and 5:6. It isn’t that there are seven different spirits of God, rather the Spirit of the LORD has these characteristics, and He has them all in fullness and perfection.

 

The Spirit of the LORD: These seven characteristics describe the nature of the Spirit of the LORD. They also describe the nature of Jesus. There is no difference between the nature of Jesus and the nature of the Holy Spirit. When we see Jesus, we see the Father (John 14:9). When we see the Spirit of the LORD at work, it should look like the ministry and the nature of Jesus.

Excursus: THE SPIRIT OF GOD

Many people in the Bible were filled with the Spirit to do great things.

  • Joseph: Genesis 41:38-39
  • Bezaleel (craftsman): Exodus 35:31
  • Eldad and Medad (prophesy): Numbers 11:26-30
  • Balaam: Numbers 24:2
  • Othniel: Judges 3:10
  • Gideon: Judges 6:34
  • Jephthah: Judges 11:29
  • Samson: Judges 13:25; 14:6,19; 15:14
  • Saul: 1 Samuel 10:5-6,10; 11:6
  • David: 1 Samuel 16:13
  • Saul’s messengers: 1 Samuel 19:20
  • Elisha: 2 Kings 3:15
  • Amasai (chief captain): 1 Chronicles 12:18
  • Azariah (prophet): 2 Chronicles 15:1
  • Jahaziel: 2 Chronicles 20:14
  • Zechariah: 2 Chronicles 24:20
  • Christ: Isaiah 11:2
  • Ezekiel: Ezekiel 2:2
  • Mary: Luke 1:35
  • Elisabeth: Luke 1:41
  • Zacharias: Luke 1:67
  • New Christians: Acts 2:4; 10:44
  • Stephen: Acts 7:55
  • Philip: Acts 8:39
  • Peter: Acts 10:19
  • Ephesian Christians: Acts 19:6

 

How Messiah judges (11:3-5).

The traditional ideal of royal justice involved extraordinary judicial insight (1 Kings 3.4–28) and harsh justice on oppressors (Psalms 72; 101)

The theme of motive introduced in 10:7-11 is amplified here to include the totality of actions and intent. As God, the Messiah knows reality perfectly, so He is able to judge “with righteousness.” His decisions, so unlike the decisions of human government that weigh a person’s wealth or social standing, will be “for the poor of the earth.”

The fact that His judgment will be enforced absolutely is expressed in the image of striking the earth “with the rod of His mouth.”

Acting as God’s representative, the Messiah will execute judgment on the wicked and the oppressors and will offer God’s protection and blessing upon the righteous, who are lowly and humble

The Kingdom to Come (11:6-9).  A description of the Messianic kingdom. Some interpreters take these conditions to be literal, describing those that will actually exist in the new heaven and the new earth (65:17-25); this would be the position that we hold as Dispensationalist. This would involve a radical change in the natures of the animals involved. This picture of cruel beasts regenerated with a new nature that makes them protect their natural prey portrays a reign of peace and security. This can only be realized in the return of the Messiah to establish the kingdom of God (65:17 – 25; Rev 21:1 – 8).

The point is that of v. 9: where the Messiah rules, where “the knowledge of the Lord” prevails, there will be no place for violence or destruction. Precisely how that is to be realized must be left to the imagination; it will be utterly different from anything citizens of the present fallen creation know. It may now be realized person by person, but one day it will be universal.

“A banner for the peoples” (11:10-12).

For the Gentiles will seek Him: Literally this says Ha’Goyim (the Nations) will seek Him.  The glory of the reign of the Messiah will be not only for the Jew, but for the Gentile also. He shall stand as a banner to the people, lifted high to draw all peoples to Him. We have begun to see this is the church age and it will culminate in the Millennial Kingdom when all the saved from all tongues and tribes come to attend the Messiah and worship before His Throne.

 

Side note: The banner was used before to call the nations to judgment against Israel (Isaiah 5:26). Now the banner calls the nations to the blessings of the Messiah.

The second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left: In the reign of the Messiah, there will be another Exodus of the Jewish people, delivering them not only from Egypt, but from all nations where they have been dispersed. In this final Exodus and return to the Promised Land, all of Israel (that is, the righteous remnant) will be restored, forever to be God’s people and the delight of His heart.

Perfect Peace in the Kingdom (13-16)

Nations that have constantly harassed God’s people have finally met their judgment. Jesus will righteously judge and recompense the nations. They will turn their weapons into farming equipment. “Neither shall they learn war anymore (2:4)

At last the end of war, which has plagued man since the fall is ended. War along with its master, Death, has no place in the everlasting kingdom. In Adam’s fall we were denied Eden, in Messiah’s perfect reign, a paradise better than Eden is given us. Messiah the King will be our God and we will be His people and we shall enjoy Him forever.

 

Worship Part 2 (Guest Post)

Worship Part 2 (Guest Post)

From James Quiggle:

These are the principles of worship:

1. Worship requires an appropriate manner, time, place, and attitude.
2. Faith is necessary to worship.
3. Dedicating one’s self to God is worship.
4. Dedicating one’s service to God is worship.
5. Worship is not acceptable if the believer harbors sin in his (or her) heart.
6. Sin must be confessed and repented in order to worship.
7. The act of confession and repentance of sin is worship.
8. Worship is both private and public, in secret and shared.
9. Worship must be based in a salvific relationship with God in Christ.
10. Worship is a time of sharing with God and one another, i.e., a time of fellowship.
11. Obedience to God’s will is necessary to worship.
12. Submission to God’s authority is necessary to worship.
13. Worship is the appreciation and proclamation of God’s Person and works.
14. The practical aspects of worship can include singing, chanting, music, dancing, testifying, preaching, and teaching.
15. The result of worship is the God’s approval of the worshiper.
16. Every act of any significance begins with worship.

Second Week of Advent Readings

Second Week of Advent Readings

Sunday Isaiah 40:3-5

3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Monday Psalms 43:3-5

3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. 4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God. 5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Tuesday Psalms 27:1-4

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? 2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident. 4 One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.

Wednesday Isaiah 11:1-10

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. 5 And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. 6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. 9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. 10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious

Thursday John 12:35-36

35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

Friday Ephesians 5:6-14

6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.

Saturday 1 Peter 2:5-9

5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. 7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. 9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

The Sign of Immanuel (Isaiah 7)

The Sign of Immanuel (Isaiah 7)

The significance of Advent

The vision of life that Advent gives us is twofold; it looks back to the first coming of Christ at Bethlehem, and it looks to the future when Christ will come again. In the interval between these two events we find meaning for our life as a Christian.

First we celebrate Christ-become-human. We view his life and experience his presence as a human being in our history. Christ came to show us what life can and should be. He gave us true and valid principles by which we can live god exalting lives. More importantly, He modeled the life that pleases God and, in His perfect obedience and substitutionary death, He purchased our vicarious atonement.

When Christ left this earth, he did not abandon us. He remains with us through the indwelling and ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Church, the Ordinances, the Scriptures and each other. He lives in community with us and keeps his vision of life before us through the faithful preaching of the Word. When Christ comes again, his presence will no longer be hidden behind the signs and symbols of various liturgies or the words of the Scriptures. His presence among us will be revealed in all its fullness, a presence that will never end, a presence that will perfect and complete our community.

7:1, 2. The Immanuel Prophecy (7:1—12:6) introduces the hope of the future in spite of pending judgment. Ahaz ruled Judah from 736 to 720 b.c. He was an ungodly king who refused Isaiah’s words of encouragement. Rezin was the last king of Syria to reign in Damascus. He was later killed by Tiglath-pileser of Assyria. Pekah was the king of northern Israel from 740 to 732 b.c. He usurped the throne by assassinating his predecessor, Pekahiah, and was later murdered by his successor, Hoshea, the last king of Israel. Syria is confederate with Ephraim refers to the fact that they had formed an alliance against Ahaz to force him into an alliance with them against Assyria. This event is generally dated at 734 b.c. What Ahaz fears is an invasion of Judah by Syria and Israel.

7:3–9. Isaiah is sent by the Lord to warn Ahaz not to form an alliance with Assyria, but to trust Him to rid the land of its enemies. Accompanying the prophet was Shear-jashub (“A Remnant Shall Return”), his son, whose name was indicative of hope. The location at the end of the conduit of the upper pool is the same place that the Assyrian Rabshakeh would later defy Hezekiah (36:2). The invading kings are described as smoking firebrands (lit., “smoldering sticks”). The prophet predicts that the threatened invasion will not succeed and that within threescore and five years (65 years) the northern kingdom will fall into captivity.

 

Ask for a Sign

Isaiah told Ahaz to ask God for a “sign.” Old Testament prophets often authenticated their messages by making a prediction or performing a miracle which proved God spoke through them.

Word Study: Virgin

Isaiah 7:14 This prophecy of the virgin is declared in Matt 1:22, 23 to be fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. There has been a great deal of discussion over the Hebrew word found here for virgin (almah) and the word that Matthew uses (parthenos). The latter refers unambiguously to a virgin, while the former (almah) has been said to refer to a young woman, in contrast to the Hebrew word bethulah, which is the equivalent of the Greek parthenos. It has also been noted that the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT, has parthenos here for almah, and that Matt 1:23 is taken from the Septuagint. Some have wondered why the Septuagint translators used the more specific word parthenos. It is fair to say that this question is the result of oversimplifying the vocabulary and misinterpreting the distinctions.

The Hebrew words almah and bethulah can actually refer to the same kind of woman; almah is a youthful woman of marriageable age, one who has not yet had her first child, while bethulah is one who has not been touched in an intimate way. Furthermore, in the present context it would be unthinkable to infer that the woman might have had sexual relations outside of marriage. So the well-known translation of “young woman” for almah, while technically not incorrect, can be viewed as too ambiguous for the Hebrew word and the context. Parthenos was an appropriate choice in the Greek. Another word, kore (for “girl”) could have been used, but it has a wider range of meaning than the Hebrew almah (Mark uses a related word, korasion, to translate Jesus’ Aramaic word talitha). It should also be acknowledged from a theological perspective that when Matthew cites the verse with parthenos (Matthew 1:23), he thereby authenticates it as inspired by virtue of his apostolic office.

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son: The far or ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy goes far beyond Ahaz, to announce the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus Christ. Remember, in many cases, the Hebrew Prophets spoke to both near and far off events in their prophecies

Immanuel

This word is unusual. We might render it, to give it its true emphasis, “WITH US is God!” Thus the construction of this name captures the wonder of the Incarnation itself, that the God of glory would actually become a Man.

How do we know the prophecy speaks of Jesus?

We know this passage speaks of Jesus because the Holy Spirit says so through Matthew: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)

We know this passage speaks of Jesus because the prophecy is addressed not only to Ahaz, but also to David’s entire house (O house of David!).

We know this passage speaks of Jesus because it says the virgin shall conceive, and that conception would be a sign to David’s entire house. Those who deny the virgin birth of Jesus like to point out that the Hebrew word translated virgin (almah) can also be translated as “young woman.” The idea is that Isaiah was simply saying that a “young woman” would give birth, not a virgin. While the near fulfillment may have reference to a young woman giving birth, the far or ultimate fulfillment clearly points to a woman miraculously conceiving and giving birth. This is especially clear because the Old Testament never uses the word in a context other than virgin and because the Septuagint translates it categorically virgin (parthenos).

We know this passage speaks of Jesus because it says He will be known as Immanuel, meaning “God with Us.” This was true of Jesus in fact, not only as a title. Immanuel speaks both of the deity of Jesus (God with us) and His identification and nearness to man (God with us).

Call His name Immanuel: Jesus is truly Immanuel, God with us. “Christ, indeed, was not called by this name Immanuel that we anywhere read of… but the import of this name is most truly affirmed and acknowledged to be fully made good in him.” (Trapp)

“He is, therefore, called God with us, or united to us; which cannot apply to a man who is not God… it denotes not only the power of God, such as he usually displays by his servant, but a union of person, by which Christ became God-man.” (Calvin)

 

“In what sense then, is Christ GOD WITH US? Jesus is called Immanuel, or God with us, in his incarnation; God with us, by the influences of his Holy Spirit, in the holy sacrament, in the preaching of his word, in private prayer. And God with us, through every action of our life, that we begin, continue, and end in his name. He is God with us, to comfort, enlighten, protect, and defend us, in every time of temptation and trial, in the hour of death, in the day of judgment; and God with us and in us, and we with and in him, to all eternity.” (Clarke)

The significance of the Advent Promise

God has determined to act in human history. Petty kings’ dreams of conquest, or their fears for preservation, are meaningless. This scenario does deal with an immediate deliverance but also looks forward to a greater deliverance; one day the true King, God Himself, would take on human form. When God became Man with us, then the fears of Ahaz and all the glory of the kingdoms of this world would dissolve in the revelation of God’s true glory. The King would enter history as a Man, born of a virgin. When He, the ultimate sign, appeared, all nations would recognize the majesty and wisdom of the Sovereign God.

YHWH, Himself is the sign

Human parthenogenesis, a virgin birth, is a statistical impossibility. In fact, outside of Divine intervention, the odds of parthenogenesis are so small that I have a better chance of winning the Powerball while standing on the side of I-10 in a rainstorm getting struck by lightning simultaneous with being hit by a Mack Truck. In point of fact, the only way this could happen is found in Matthew 1:18 (NLT), “This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

God with Us

If you have a problem with the “virgin” conceiving and bearing a child that should be nothing in comparison to the thought of Immanuel––God with us in the flesh. That is the greatest feat. How else could the “Word become flesh and dwell among us” than by means of a virgin becoming pregnant and bearing a son? God in the flesh means “God with us.” The child to be born will be called Immanuel; therefore, the translation “virgin” is demanded in the sentence. It is nothing short of a miracle, and that is exactly where the problem lies with those who want to reject “virgin” in Isaiah 7:14.

The child called Immanuel will be a special child and will embody the truth, “God with us.” This special child born of a virgin will be God among His people. Only as we look into His face, listen to His voice and see Him in action do we know what God is really like (Hebrews 1:1–3).

All of Christianity rests upon the foundation of this prophecy in Isaiah chapter seven. God meant the sign to be earth shaking. God meant it to be such a sign that when it was actually fulfilled in history men would stand back and say, I saw God do it! It is something only God can do.

The sign of Immanuel, “God with us,” is the coming of the child of a virgin. That sign was fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

Nothing in history approaches the mystery, beauty and glory of the LORD God coming to be with His people.

God sent Gabriel to Mary and said, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him, Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:31–33).

Mary got rather upset with the angel. “How can this be, since I am a virgin,” she demanded (Luke 1:34). There is no question about the Greek word she used. The word for “virgin” always means a marriageable young woman who had preserved the purity of her body. She kept herself sexually pure. If the child were illegitimate it could not be a sign. The whole context of the Bible rules it out. If the birth was out of the ordinary, and unusual because she was a virgin then it is of such a magnitude that God has come to be with His people and deal with their sins. There is only one person in history of whom it can be said that He was God incarnate, God with His people, and that is Jesus Christ. The very presence of this child, born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem cannot be applied to anyone else. Jesus the Christ is the Son of the Virgin and the Mighty God.

The deity and preexistence of Christ demanded this miraculous conception and Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ.

“And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. . . For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:3537).

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows. When His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. . . . And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sin. . . . And Joseph . . . kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus” (Matthew 1:18–25et passim; cf. Luke 2:1–21). They named Him “Jesus.” They named Him after His Father! They called Him Joshua. The original full form is Jehoshua, meaning “Yahweh our salvation,” “Yahweh saves,” Yahweh’s salvation.”

“God with us.” Now we know what He is like. This could only be true when the Word became flesh and dwelt among His people in the person of the Anointed of God. Oh, the wonder of wonder, God in the corporeal self–manifestation to His people. He is a super–human person. He is the incarnation of deity. This coming child would be God among His people. John 1:1–3181814:14–20Colossians 2:9–10;

 

 

First Week of Advent Scripture Readings

First Week of Advent Scripture Readings

Sunday Romans 13:11-14

11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Monday 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Tuesday Mark 13:33-37

33 Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. 34 For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. 35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: 36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. 37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.

Wednesday John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Thursday John 1:6-9

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Friday Jeremiah 33:14-16

14 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. 15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness.

Saturday Isaiah 6

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. 11 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, 12 And the Lord have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. 13 But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.

 

Thanksliving: Giving God Exuberant Praise

Thanksliving: Giving God Exuberant Praise

Psalm 100

Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 2 Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3 Know that the Lord, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. 5 For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.

 

Giving Praise to the Lord.

Make a joyful shout, serve the Lord with gladness

The psalmist does not declare God’s sovereignty. Neither does he extol God’s amazing character. Instead, he commands that we give God His due, worship and service.

{Cornerstone Commentary: “The crescendo of praise that has been building since Psalm 93 reaches a climax in Psalm 100” (Howard 1997:180). Psalm 100 brings to a conclusion the central celebration of the Lord’s kingship, a kingship that makes him “Lord of all the earth” (97:5) and “supreme over all the earth” (97:9). His glorious deeds have been published “among the nations,” (96:3) and his righteousness has been revealed “to every nation” (98:2). So it is fitting that Psalm 100 addresses “all the earth” with its invitation (100:1-4) and motivation (100:5) to worship the Lord.

 

The Invitation/Call to Worship (100:1-4). There are seven imperatives in these verses. “Acknowledge that the Lord is God” (100:3) is the central imperative. It is central in that it is preceded and followed by three imperatives and surrounded by the imperative “come” (100:2b, 4a). It also stands somewhat apart from the other imperatives. Knowing is different from the liturgical actions envisioned in the other six imperatives. Knowing is foundational to doing. At the foundation of worship is knowing the central truth about the one we worship. Simply put, “the Lord is God!” But there were and are many gods calling for worship. Who is this God? He is the one who “made us,” perhaps in the sense that he created us, but especially in the sense that he saved us. 1 And the biblical logic is that since he made us, we belong to him (see 24:1-2). Yet how do we belong to him? One word in the Hebrew gives the answer: ‘ammo [TH 5971A, ZH 6639]—”his people.” Not his enemies. “His people.” And not just any kind of people. We are “the sheep of his pasture” (100:3), “the people he watches over” (95:7). We are the people he loves and cares for, as a shepherd loves and cares for his sheep. In knowing him, we know ourselves, for to know that he is the God who made us is to know that we are the people he loves. This knowledge is the spring from which all the actions of worship flow.

 

Surrounding this knowledge of who God is and who we are is the dual invitation to enter his presence with songs of thanksgiving (100:2b, 4a). We have responded to the call to “serve the Lord with reverent fear” (2:11), and we have submitted to “God’s royal son” (2:12), so we do not enter with servile fear but to “serve/worship the Lord with gladness” (100:2). And in this spirit of gladness we shout for joy, give thanks to him, and bless his name.}

 

 

A joyful shout: “The original word signifies a glad shout, such as loyal subjects give when their king appears among them. Our happy God should be worshipped by a happy people; a cheerful spirit is in keeping with his nature, his acts, and the gratitude which we should cherish for his mercies.” (Spurgeon)

 

All you landsThis admonition is not only for the House of Israel, it is also for ha’Goyim, the nations. All people everywhere are to worship the Lord, the one true, living, eternal God who is indescribable in majesty, unrivalled in beauty, the source of all things. By His very nature, this is what God deserves.

Micah looks forward to the day when the nations will indeed come into God’s presence with praise: “In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. (Mic. 4:1)

 

Think of this shout as what you might hear when a victorious army returns from battle or for a more modern connotation, the shout of fans of a victorious football team after the Superbowl

 

Serve the LORD with gladness: The whole earth is invited to serve the LORD. The Psalmist likely had in mind the service of worship or temple rituals, but the principle applies to any service directed to God. Those who serve the LORD should do it with gladness.

 

Adam Clarke and Charles Spurgeon on serving the Lord with gladness:

“It is your privilege and duty to be happy in your religious worship. The religion of the true God is intended to remove human misery, and to make mankind happy. He whom the religion of Christ has not made happy does not understand that religion, or does not make a proper use of it.” (Clarke)

 

“As for the true believer in Jesus, he serves his God because he loves to serve him; he assembles with the great congregation because it is his delight to worship the Most High.” (Spurgeon)

 

Come before His presence with singing: As in many places in the psalms, praise is expressed in song. Singing is not the only way to praise God, but it is an important and chief way to praise Him. I would go so far as to say that exuberant singing is wholly appropriate and, in fact, is entirely consistent with what is known as the “Regulative Principle of Worship.” We are to worship God in the manner that He indicates in the Scripture and right here, in this Psalm, we see that God calls for exuberant praise.

Know that the LORD, He is God: Right here, bring to mind Isaiah 42:8, “I am YHWH, that is my name. I will not give my glory to another or share my praise with idols.

Any other than the Triune God of Scripture is a pretender, a demonically empowered falsity designed to damn your soul. YHWH, alone, is God. There is no other (Deuteronomy 6:4)

 

“Be convinced of it, ye heathens, whose fantasies have forged false gods; and ye Jews, acknowledge the true God to be Three in one, and One in three.” (John Trapp)

 

It is He who has made us: YHWH is our Elohim, the creator God of all things. We worship Him for giving us life.

[Albert Barnes: Know ye that the Lord, he is God That is, Let all the nations know that Yahweh is the true God. The idols are vanity. They have no claim to worship; but God is the Creator of all, and is entitled to universal adoration.

It is he that hath made us The Hebrew is, “He made us,” and this expresses the exact idea. The fact that he is the Creator proves that he is God, since no one but God can perform the work of creation. The highest idea that we can form of power is that which is evinced in an act of creation; that is, in causing anything to exist where there was nothing before. Every created thing, therefore, is a proof of the existence of God; the immensity of the universe is an illustration of the greatness of his power.

And not we ourselves Margin, “And his we are.” The difference between the text and the margin is owing to a different reading in the Hebrew, varying only in a single letter. The reading in the text is, “And not <h3808> we;” in the margin, “And to him <h8705>) we.” These words would be pronounced in the same manner, and either of them would convey good sense. The weight of authority is in favor of the common reading, “And not we;” that is, we are not self-created; we derive our being from him. All that we have and are, we owe to him.

We are his people By virtue of creation. The highest “property” which can exist is that derived from an act of creation. He that has brought anything into existence has a right to it, and may dispose of it as he pleases. It is on this idea essentially that all idea of “property” is founded.

And the sheep of his pasture As the shepherd owns the flock, so God is our owner; as the shepherd guards his flock and provides for it, so God guards us and provides for us. (Psalm 95:7]

 

F.B. Meyer tells us:  “The sense of God’s proprietorship is the true basis of our consecration. We must realize His rights over us before we can freely give Him His due. Those rights are manifold in their sweet reasonableness; but amongst them all, this of creation is one of the chief. God has a right to us because He has made us.”

We give God honor and praise and service because we are the Covenant People-the Redeemed. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Moreover, we have an even better reason to celebrate, we are adopted as children and are now joint heirs with the Prince of Heaven, namely Jesus Himself (Romans 8:17).

 

If that was not enough, consider Revelation 22:1-5 (NIV) Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. Do you really need more reason to celebrate?

 

How do we approach God in worship? Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

 

Nehemiah 9:5 (ASV) Then the Levites… said, Stand up and bless Jehovah your God from everlasting to everlasting; and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.

 

Exalted above all blessing and praise…God is so absolutely superlative that no words of praise adequately describe Him. We will bless God and praise His Name from everlasting to everlasting, we will never get tired of it. Long past the point where time is no more, we will exalt God’s name above everything.

 

Now the Psalmist pictures the people of God from all the lands entering through the gates and into the courts of the temple. As God’s people approach, they should do so with thanksgiving, gratitude that recognizes how much God has done for them. In the Millennial Kingdom we will see this happen and will watch, first hand, as the redeemed from the Tribulation and all of Israel who has been saved come before the Throne of the Lamb in celebratory praise (Micah 4:1).

 

In commenting on entering the courts with praise Adam Clarke says “Publicly worship God; and when ye come to the house of prayer, be thankful that you have such a privilege; and when you enter his courts, praise him for the permission.”

 

Into His courts with praise: Thanks and praise merge together, as God’s people are thankful and bless His name. When I was a child we used to sing in church,

 

We bring the sacrifice of praise
Into the house of the Lord.

 

We bring the sacrifice of praise
Into the house of the Lord.

 

And we offer up to You
The sacrifices of thanksgiving;

And we offer up to You
The sacrifices of joy

 

Sacrifices were ended at Calvary but even today we offer up thanksgiving and joy as we celebrate the goodness of the Lord.

 

YHWH is no longer distant; because of Calvary we can come before the Throne and be received as friends where, once, we were enemies. The Cross is reason enough to celebrate the kindness of the Lord and when you have been given 10,000 years to praise Him for His goodness you will just be getting started.

 

What is that praise going to look like? What will our fullness before the Throne consist of? The song, “The Mighty One of Israel says it perfectly”

 

The eyes of the blind shall be opened and they’ll see

The ears of the deaf shall hear

The lame man shall jump and shall leap as a hart

The tongue of the dumb shall sing

 

Or in the words of Charles Wesley

Hear Him ye deaf His praise ye dumb

Your loosened tongues employ

Ye blind behold your savior come

And leap ye lame for joy

 

Why do we praise?

{Cornerstone Commentary: The Motivation for Worship (100:5). What is implicit about the character of God in 100:3 becomes explicit in 100:5: “The Lord is good.” The king who is “robed in majesty and armed with strength” (93:1) is good. “The God of vengeance” (94:1) is good. The “great King above all gods” (95:3) is good. The God who “will judge all peoples fairly” (96:10) is good. The God before whom “every god must bow” (97:7) is good. The God who “has revealed his righteousness to every nation” (98:2) is good. The God who “punished them when they went wrong” (99:8) is good. The God who “made us” to be his people (100:3) is good. This is why we shout for joy, worship with gladness, come before him with songs of joy, give him thanks, and bless his name.}

 

For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.

 

For the LORD is good: This thanks and praise is right in recognition of God’s goodness. He is good in His plans, good in His grace, good in His forgiveness, good in His covenant, and good in every aspect of His being.

 

To paraphrase Paul Washer “the scariest truth in the Scripture is that God is good and we are not.” I would add to that “The truth that God is good and we are not may be scary but it is also very comforting. We can rest peacefully in the knowledge that God will always do what is good and right; He is, Himself, the very definition of what is good and right.”

{Cornerstone Commentary: And we are secure in this goodness, because “his unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” He is our God forever. We are his people forever. We are the sheep he cares for forever. So we worship him forever. When we think about the kind of God our God is, is it too much to ask that we worship and serve him with the whole of our lives (Rom 12:1)? We belong to him, a God who is good and loving and faithful. We should honor him with the whole of our lives.}

 

As Jim Boice pointed out…

“The gods of the heathen were not good. They were selfish and capricious. You could never know when they might turn against you and do you harm. Not so our God. The God of the Bible is and has always been good.”

 

Ultimately we give thanks to God for grace. Now what is grace? Paraphrasing one of my teachers, Wayne Kinde, “Grace is every quality of God that is brought to bear on our behalf through the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Grace saves (Ephesians 2:8-10).

 

No matter how much sin increases, Grace increases to cover it (Romans 5:20)

 

In Revelation 22 we will see the Edenic State restored. Imagine, if you can, what the praise will sound like when eyes that have never seen behold the Lamb. Allow your mind to hear the thunder of ten thousands of tongues that had never before spoken as they shout the Lambs praise or see in your mind a host that has never walked before and now, like David of old, they dance with all their might before the Lord.

 

God will be ours and we will be His. No longer will this wretched body, stained by sin, separate us. It will be like it was in the beginning…we will fellowship with God face to face and will celebrate Him forever!