Monday, January 16, 2017

The Sign and the Promise Isaiah 7:14, 9:6

  (Podcast Audio link)

Text: Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.


Isaiah is a book written at a very dark time in the history of Israel. They were no longer the regional powerhouse they had been under David and Solomon. Instead they were struggling to hold on to their territory and their people. They were now a divided nation after a civil war that resulted in two separate and much weaker kingdoms. Now instead of protecting their borders and putting the nations around them under tribute they were threatened by the nations of Samaria and Syria. These nations had formed an alliance to fight Assyria to the north and wanted Ahaz of Judah to join them. When he refused, he threatened to attack him. Ahaz then sends messengers to the Assyrian king with bribes to ask him to attack Syria and Samaria. The result was that Assyria did attack Judah’s enemies and then turned their eyes on Judah itself. Guess they should have seen that coming, don’t you think?

In the midst of this turmoil the prophet Isaiah come to Ahaz the King in Isaiah 7:10 Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD. And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings.

Isaiah’s prophecy sweep from the time of King Ahaz and God’s promise of protection to the time of the birth the Jesus Christ, the Immanuel and then continues all the way through Isaiah 9:6- 7 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

We can glimpse God in His power as Isaiah did when he saw God high and lifted up in the temple but most of us must wait until heaven to see God in that manner. Yet, there is a way in which each and every one of us can not only glimpse God but can fully know Him. Much like King Ahaz of old, God says I will give you a sign, I will give you a promise. That sign and that promises are of the same one prophesied by Isaiah almost 3000 years ago. And yet just like Ahaz too many times we refuse to trust God, His Word or His Son. The answer to Ahaz’s problems were in the promised child and the answers to yours are in the Man that child became, Jesus Christ. He is still God’s sign and promise to us today.

Look again at Isaiah 9:6 and see why Jesus truly can answer your deepest needs in life and eternity.

I. Wonderful Counselor
A. A Wonder of a Counselor
1. Literally, in the Hebrew, it is a wonder of a counselor. The word used here means supernatural and miraculous. Not just wonderful in being good and comforting but in the sense of being struck by the wonder of the miracle of someone like Jesus who knows us this intimately. He is a counselor like no other, able to understand us as no one else could understand us.
2. This could only be by one who not only had created us but then also became one of us, lived, suffered and died as a man.
3. Hebrews 2:16-18 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

B. The wonder of Jesus my counselor
1. When you think about the truth of Jesus as my counselor, it really should strike us in awe at such a wonder, such a miracle. He is my God but he also humbled Himself and become man.
2. Jesus can understand me as no other because He knows me both as Creator as creature. He knows what I was created to be, how far from that ideal I have fallen but then he also sees what I can be through Him. He sees the reality of my weakness but also the potential of my strength. He sees the darkness of my fear but also the brightness of my faith. He sees the depths of my sin but He also sees the greatness of grace in me.
3. He sees all of me and understands all of me. He is my wonderful counselor and is my greatest hope of a life worth living through that relationship.

C. Illustration:
1. In 1932 Charles Weigle wrote the hymn, “Nobody Ever Cared For Me Like Jesus.” He sat in a chair in his home in Florida and as he thought of the things he had lost and the pain he had suffered, even his own wife leaving because she didn’t want to be an evangelist’s wife, he simple called out loud, “Jesus, now one ever cared for me like you.” He then went to his piano and in 20 minutes he wrote the hymn and never made a correction to it. He wrote over 1000 hymns but this is the one that has stayed with us.

2. I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus,
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true;
I would tell you how He changed my life completely,
He did something that no other friend could do.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There's no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me. -1932, Charles Weigle

D. Transition: Jesus is a wonderful Counselor, but he is much more. According to Isaiah, He is one who will also have the power to act on our behalf, Isaiah next says, “He is the Mighty God.”

II. The Mighty God
A. The champion in battle.
1. After all that Israel had lost in its battles with Samaria, Syria, and Assyria and the other invading armies, God through Isaiah says the promised one, the Messiah would one day lead Israel to victory in battle over her enemies.
2. This is what the Jews expected when Jesus first came, they had the right Messiah but the wrong time. He was not there to defeat Rome and give them back their political freedom and homeland. That he will do one day but when Jesus first came, He came to fight a different kind of battle for all mankind.
3. Hebrews 2:14-15 - Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
4. Jesus first came as the mighty God of battle to destroy the power of death, to deliver them who were fearful slaves held in bondage to death and the devil.

B. Who is the champion of your battles?
1. We call Jesus, might God but do we truly know His might in our battles? Do we believe that he will conqueror every enemy, drive away ever fear and overcome every obstacle?
2. So often I am defeated by the things in this world. I believe the reason is often because like the Jews during his first coming, I’m misunderstanding what and how Jesus is fighting the battles in my life. I think He is here to inspire me so that I might win, or to encourage me so that I don’t give up and those things are true but I must realize that the battle is the Lord’s and I must let him be my champion, not just my example and inspiration.
3. Jesus came to do defeat and destroy sin, death and Satan. Those battles he won on Calvary and in overcoming the grave.
4. As Paul said in 1 Cor 15:55 – 57, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
5. Too many times I am looking for Jesus to fight with me instead of believing that he has already won. That what is needed from me is faith in my champion and defender Jesus.
6. We need see Jesus in our lives as Mighty God. We must trust Him to who has already won the battles, I keep losing. Believe in Him who has already defeated sin, death and Satan in His resurrection but also in us.
C. Illustration: Japanese POW Camp General after the surrender of Japan.

D. Transition: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty god and then Isaiah under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says, He is the Everlasting Father.

III. Everlasting Father
A. The Everlasting Father
1. Literally, the Father of Eternity. In other words, Isaiah under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit say, “Eternity belongs to Him.”
2. He is the cause, sustainer and to those who trust Him, even giver of eternity.
3. Colossians 1:15-17 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
4. We see in this verse that Isaiah proclaims the Messiah, who we know as Jesus, to be equal to God, giving Him the same divinity, title and power over eternity.

B. Dos the One who owns eternity also own us?
1. Just as sure as our birthday, there will also be our death day and just as sure as we come into this life we will pass into the next life and eternity.
2. Recently a scientist made the declaration that could prove that there is a life after death. He didn’t do this by reading the Bible but by scientific theory of multiple universes. He said the energy of our life can’t just go away, but according to Einstein’s theory energy continues to exist but in a differ form. So, he posits that we go from this life into another universe, into eternity.
Well I’m glad he’s on the right track about eternal life but he better read the real instruction manual on eternity before he discovers that his “energy” is really his soul and that eternal soul doesn’t go to another universe but to heaven or to hell.
3. It is imperative therefore that you know and trust the One who knows eternity.
a) Is He really Lord of your life, or a mere figure head?
b) If He is Lord, then is your life and future determined by His design?
c) A design found in His word and as sure today as it was when Isaiah proclaimed his birth and death, 700 years ago before they occurred.
d) If He knew the future then, does He not know it now?
4. I must realize that I don't know the future, but God does. I must be willing to put my life in His hand and follow wherever He leads.

C. Illustration: Song, "I don't know about tomorrow."

I don't know about tomorrow, I just live from day to day
I don't borrow from its sunshine, For its skies may turn to gray.
I don't worry o'er the future for I know what Jesus said
And today, I'll walk beside him for He knows what is ahead.

I don't know about tomorrow, It may bring me poverty
But the one who feeds the sparrow is the one who stands by me.
And the path that be my portion may be through the flame or flood
But His presence goes before me and I'm covered with His blood.

Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand, But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand.

D. Transition: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and then final description Isaiah gives us is the Prince of Peace.

IV. Prince of Peace
A. The One who is the ruler of all aspects of peace.
1. Jesus, the sign and promise given by God rules over peace in us. He rules over:
a) Inner Peace: Peace to the soul.
b) Spiritual Peace: Peace between God and man.
c) Relationship Peace: Peace between man and man.
d) And Future Peace: Peace over all the earth.
2. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
3. John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

B. The more He rules in me the more peace I know
1. How is the peace of my soul?
a) Not your circumstance or situation, but the peace of that part of you that is eternal.
b) That inner peace overcomes the turmoil of this present life and carries on into eternity.
2. How is my peace with God?
a) Do I know Him as Lord and Savior or am I afraid to meet Him one day because I have rejected His gift of love and forgiveness?
3. How is my peace with others?
a) One of the most undeniable ways of know God is real is in the way He can bring peace between us and those who are our worst enemies.
That he can calm the hurts, betrayals and pains caused by those closest to us. We must just trust and obey.

C. Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.
1. Do you know why you are in conflict, here in your heart? Do you know why there is conflict in your family? Do you know why there is conflict between yourself and others?
2. Because your mind, your soul, your being is not stayed, fastened and joined to, The Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.

V. Conclusion
1. Ahaz wouldn’t trust in God’s sign in Isaiah 7:14 and that disbelief cost Israel greatly as Assyria invaded their land.
2. God has given you the sign and the same promise. His name shall be called Emmanuel, wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
3. Ahaz looked forward in time and failed to believe, we must look back in time and if we fail to believe than our failure is so much more the greater. God has given Jesus Christ, He came, lived, taught, was judged by sinful men, condemned, tortured, crucified, died. But then rose from the tomb, ascended to heaven and now waits there to come again.
He also waits for us. Have you accepted the gift of God's son? Is He your counselor? Has the controller of eternity given you eternal life? Is He your champion? Do you know real peace this morning?
4. If it had not been for the promise and the reality of this passage I would not stand before you this morning. If it had not been for the promises here and all throughout God's word, I would not have survived the battles of my own life. I stand today as testimony that God’s promise is true.
5. If you can’t stand and make that same testimony then come this morning and find Jesus, the wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the eternal Father, the Prince of peace.

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