Monday, August 30, 2021

Stand Up And Shine Out - Isaiah 60:1-5

Stand Up And Shine Out - Isaiah 60:1-5

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Introduction: A Change of Direction

A notorious drunk got on the bus early one morning after being out all night drink. He woke up on a bus bench and climbed into the bus. He staggered down the aisle, and as luck would have it he sat right next to an elderly woman who was reading her Bible.

She looks the wayward drunk up and down. He smiles his best smile though foggy eyes and terrible breath and tells the old saint, “Good morning, miss. Isn’t it a beautiful day?” A light of righteous indignation comes into her eyes and she says, "I've got news for you, Mister.  You're on your way to hell!"

Suddenly the man jumped up out of the seat and shouted to the driver, "Stop. I'm on the wrong bus AGAIN!"

Cause to Shine - Isaiah 60:1  

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

God Commands His Nation

Background and Context: God speaking through Isaiah in the chapters previous to 60 has told the nation Israel it is a mess.

In Isaiah 58:1 He condemns their religious hypocrisy, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.  Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

In chapter 59 He exposes their utter sinfulness 1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. 3  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

But then suddenly we come to chapter 60:1 and God speaking through Isaiah tells the same people “Arise, Shine!”.” In the midst of such darkness such sin and such hypocrisy He says “Stand up and Shine Out.”

Why? How after such a scathing rebuke of the blackness of their sin, would he tell them this?

Well of course the reason is right there in the verse, “Arise, Shine for thy light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.”

It was not what hypocritical, sinful Israel could, would do or was doing. The reason they would be able to stand up and shine out was because of what God was going to do. He was going to bring a light to them, He was going to let His glory be seen  in them.

This would happen when their Messiah, their King, the Lord of Light was sent from God to rule and reign. This take place at the end of the Tribulation we have been preaching for the past 2 years. Well not quite that long. More specifically this is a prophecy of what will take place during the Millennial rule of Jesus on earth after He returns and scatters the night of sin from the earth.
Their light will be the light of their King, Jesus Christ. Lord of Lord and King of Kings.

Jesus himself claimed this part of Isaiah prophecies. He clearly stated that they were about Him. Every thing from Isaiah 58-66 is about God reclaiming Israel as His nation, His people and His spiritual wife. Each chapter is a sermon. Just like all preachers, The Lord liked to preach themes.

God’s Retaking of Israel and The Plan of Peace

Sermon I. False worship contrasted with true. 58:1-14.
Sermon II. Israel’s confession and her rescue by God. 59:1-21.
Sermon III. Radiance and peace of God’s redeemed people. 60:1-22.
Sermon IV. The joy-bringing gospel of the Annointed One. 61:1-11.
Sermon V. restoration of Zion; destruction of infidel heathen. 62:1–63:6.
Sermon VI. Israel’s plea for help, based on past mercies. 63:7–64:12.
Sermon VII. God’s mercy reserved for spiritual Israel. 65:1-25.
Sermon VIII. Blessing of true believers in the final age. 66:1-24. - Wycliffe Bible Commentary

Jesus Claims the Promise

When Jesus was here, He began the work that would one day result in God’s people Israel coming back to His father.  In Luke 4:16-21 we read, And he (Jesus) came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

That is why in our text today, we hear the command of the Lord to Arise and Shine. Jesus has come and His light has banished the thickest night.

Jesus Commands His church

As you read this command given to Israel, shouldn’t it also thrill our hearts? Surely, we can see the parallel between God’s message to the nation of Israel and Jesus’ message to His church today.

All you have to do is look around.  Do you see hypocrisy? Hypocrisy is so prevalent, that most people believe it’s normal. Especially when it comes to politicians and the ruling elite that govern us. They can tell us what to do and then ignore the very same mandate when it comes to them, their friends, and their families.  Hypocrisy is a fog of lies that makes the darkness around us deeper. And let me tell you from God’s word, God hates hypocrites.
In the darkness around us it is easy to see the individual streams of hypocrisy trying to obscure the outright sin that is going on behind its veil. Never in our lifetimes nor in the history of this nation has sin been so openly accepted, encouraged and even applauded.  Babies are sacrificed to the God of planned parenthood, children are groomed for the God of homosexuality, families are being shattered by the god of feminism and many churches are being infiltrated by the god of this world. People, its dark out there.

Yet, in the midst of such great sin, we are told to god and be a light for Jesus. Just as God one day will say to Israel, “Arise, Shine!” We have already received that command from our Lord. Jesus has already sent us forth to be light in this dark world.

Unlike Israel, we are not waiting for a returning Savior, He is already with us. His light has already been given to us. God’s glory, that same glory that led Israel in the wilderness, and filled the Temple, has already come upon the church on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:1-4 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.

We have seen the light of Jesus Christ, we have been baptized in the glory of God through the Holy Spirit and now in the midst of this present darkness we rise and stand as beacons of light, like lighthouses along a dark and stormy shore we light the way to safety and hope in Jesus Christ.

Illustration: Cutting Holes in the Darkness

At age twelve, Robert Louis Stevenson was looking out into the dark from his upstairs window watching a man light the streetlamps. Stevenson's governess came into the room and asked what he was doing. He replied, "I am watching a man cut holes in the darkness." This is our task, this is our calling to cut holes in the darkness with the glorious light of God.  -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 178-179

In verse 2 the God tells Israel that in the Millenium they will be those lighthouses for him.

Covered in Dark Isaiah 60:2

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

God’s Promise

The people they would be a great light in great darkness
In Isaiah’s prophecy God paints a picture of strong contrasts.

A world and a people in great darkness.
The darkness upon the heart of the people even blacker than the darkness upon the world. God says it will be gross darkness.

The Hebrew word means gloom, like the darkness that comes not only from the night but also from a night is which the sky is filled with threatening clouds. A darkness in which even the moon and stars can’t be seen.
Then in the midst of this impenetrable blackness, God says, “But the Lord shall arise upon thee and his glory shall be seen in thee.”

Let me give you a review and a preview of our Revelation series. When Jesus the King of the Jews returns for his nation, it will be, just as is prophecied here, a black and seemingly hopeless night.

The Bible tells us that the stars will go out, the sun not shine through and the moon will be seen as though it is has been turned to blood.

Jerusalem will be at war with the world and at the very brink of defeat. Taking their last stand in the City of Zion.

Then at that moment, at the split second when it seems too dark to survive, a shout will be heard, “Look in the east, there is a light.”  And all the participaants in this battle from the Jews to the army of the Anti-Christ will look to the eastern sky and there they will see the light of Jesus, ripping through the darkness. He come like lightning, the Bible says and with Him all the host of heaven’s armies. He comes to claim victory, to save his people from utter destruction.

Then Israel shall arise and shine and God’s glory seen in her.

Listen to what happens next as its recorded by Zechariah 12:4-6, 8-9 In that day, saith the LORD,I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left:

Vs. 8 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

God’s Power - The darker the night, the brighter our light.

Isn’t it always this way with God? Doesn’t he always wait until we have spent our own strength and all we have left is hope in Him?

It should not break us, or cause is to faint or fall away when we see the world around us getting darker with each passing day. Yes, the darkness of men’s souls is so dark at times it seems as though there is no hope.
But it is at those deep dark times that God acts and the hope of the gospel and the promise of His Word shine the brightest. We need to realize that the darker the night the brighter is our light.  The harder our path, the greater will be our joy when we reach our destination.  The more hopeless our situation, the sweeter will be the victory in Jesus.

When you think its time to give up on this world, this country or those family and friends around you who seem too lost in the dark to ever find their way out, just remember you, child of God, you shine brightest to them in their darkest hour. No, it is not a time to be discouraged. It’s not a time to shrink back due to more bad news, or bigger disappointment. Oh no, that’s the time to Arise and Shine, for never has there been darker nights but we are even brighter lights through Jesus Christ.

Illustration. Christmas at Ravensbruk

   It was Christmas, 1944. Betsie had died. I was in a hospital barracks in Ravensbruck. Dark it was in my heart, and darkness was around me.

   There were Christmas trees in the street between the barracks. Why, I don't know. They were the saddest Christmas trees I ever saw in my life. I am sure it was with the purpose of blaspheming that they had thrown dead bodies of prisoners under the Christmas trees.

   I tried to talk to the people around me about Christmas, but they mocked, ridiculed, and sneered at whatever I said. At last I was quiet. It was in the middle of the night that I suddenly heard a child crying and calling, "Mommy! Come to Oelie, Oelie feels so alone." I went to her and saw a child not so young, but feebleminded.

   "Oelie, Mommy cannot come, but do you know who is willing to come to you? That is Jesus."

   The girl was lying on a bed next to the window, not far from my bed. Although Oelie was completely emaciated from lack of food, she had a sweet face, beautiful eyes, and wavy hair. It was so touching to hear her call for her mother. Oelie had been operated on and the incision on her back was covered by a bandage of toilet paper.

   That night I told this poor child about Jesus. How He came into the world as a little baby -- how He came to save us from our sins.

   "The Lord Jesus loves Oelie and has borne her punishment on the cross. Now Oelie may go to heaven, and Jesus is there right now. He is getting a little house ready for Oelie." Later I asked her what she remembered of what I had told her.

   "What is the little house like?" I asked.

   "It is very beautiful. There are no wicked people as in Ravensbruck -- only good people and angels. And Oelie will see Jesus there."

   Then Oelie folded her hands; together we gave thanks.
   Then I knew why I had to spend this Christmas in Ravensbruck -- 1944. Corrie's Christmas Memories

Coming of Kings - Isaiah 60:3

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Jesus In Jerusalem Brings The World

The Lord promises the result of arising and shining.
Isaiah tells his nation the result of God’s shining and their arising. The Gentiles and Kings of the Earth would come to their light.

This nation, despised, invaded, attacked, and driven almost to destruction now becomes the nation where all the world comes. The Bible tells us that during the Millennium, the 1000 year reign of the Messiah upon the earth, all the world will flock to Jerusalem, all the great leaders of the world will make pilgrimages there.
Why would they do this? Because Jesus will rule and reign on the throne of David and all the world will come to see the true, everlasting, “light of the world.” They will come to hear Him, teach the words of life. They will come to feel His healing touch upon their broken lives and bodies. They will come to experience the deepest, truest love they will ever know. They will come to the Son of God and there will no longer be any doubt of who He is or what He can do.

Jesus In the Church Brings The Lost

That same reality, that will bring the nations to Jerusalem during the Millenium, can also bring people the light of Christ today. It can and it will, if it can be seen in us, our families and our church that Jesus rules and reigns on the throne of our heart today, just as He will reign one day on the Throne of David.

We must show the light and truth of Jesus in us and then people will see that light through us. Isn’t this what Jesus said, in Matthew 5:14-16 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

We must not hide our light, we must be that city set on a hill, we must arise and shine!

Don’t be like the timid Christian who prayed every morning: "Lord, if you want me to witness to someone today, please give me a sign." One day he found himself on a bus when a big, burly, intimidating man sat down right next to him even though the bus was nearly empty.
The cowed Christian anxiously waited for his stop so he could exit the bus.  But before he got there, the big guy next to him, burst into tears and began to weep.  He then cried out with a loud voice, "I need to be saved.  I'm a lost sinner and I need the Lord.  Won't somebody tell me how to be saved?" He turned to the Christian and pleaded, "Can you show me how to be saved?" Our hero immediately bowed his head and prayed, "Lord, I need to ask you, is this a sign?

It’s not hard, all you have to do is Stand up and Shine Out.

If you’re a child of God then the light is already in you. You’ve just got to get out from under whatever bushel is covering you up and let your light shine.

Illustration: Luigi Tarisio and 246 violins

Luigi Tarisio was found dead one morning with scarce a comfort in his home, but with 246 exquisite violins, which he had been collecting all his life, crammed into an attic, and the drawers of an old rickety bureau. He loved the violin but by collecting them in his attic, instead of letting others play them, he had robbed the world of all that music. Others, that he bought violins from had done the same. After his collection was discovered and gone through, they found a priceless Stradivarius. It was presented at a concert for the world to hear it music for the first time in over 147 years.
Don’t be like that misguided man. Your light is not meant to be hoarded or hidden. It is meant to be seen. Let is shine. -James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 492

Conclusion: “Let the Lower Lights be Burning”

The song, “Let the Lower Be burning” Was written by Phillip P. Bliss. At DL Moody’s urging Bliss became a singing evangelist so in 1874, Bliss and his young wife Lucy, began full time evangelism, “winning souls” for Christ.

Bliss wrote Hold the Fort, Almost Persuaded; Hallelujah, What a Saviour!; Let the Lower Lights Be Burning; and Wonderful Words of Life. He wrote the tune for It Is Well With My Soul. It seemed he had a great future before him, but on December 29, 1876, Philip and Lucy were traveling through Ashtabula, Ohio to an evangelistic meeting at Moody’s church in Chicago. While the train was crossing a bridge it which collapsed. All seven cars fell into the ravine. Phillip somehow survived the fall, but could not find Lucy, the carriages had caught fire but Bliss ran toward them to try to free his wife. They yelled at him to stop, it was too dangerous, but he said, “If I cannot save her, I will perish with her.” He would not let her die alone. That same love and devotion to lost souls is reflected in all his songs and this one is a fitting way to end this sermon.

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy from His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
For to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore.

Chorus: Let the lower lights be burning!
Send a gleam across the wave!
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.
Dark the night of sin has settled, loud the angry billows roar;
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Eager eyes are watching, longing, for the lights, along the shore.
Trim your feeble lamp, my brother, some poor sailor tempest tossed,
Trying now to make the harbor, in the darkness may be lost.
Let the lower lights be burning! Send a gleam across the wave!
Trying now to make the harbor, some poor sailor may be lost.

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