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Sermon24-3 Is61 Guide

Isaiah 61:1-4,8-11, theme verse Isaiah 64:1

The praise and honor and glory be to our heavenly Father who seeks true worshipers who worship Him with the Spirit and truth.

Two weeks ago, in Isaiah chapter 64, we saw that the Israelites prayed for God’s grace, after recognizing that they could not live according to God's will on their own, so that we saw that God the LORD Himself promised to come to the Israelites who are in such misery in Isaiah chapter 40 last week.And then this week, through Isaiah 61, God proclaims what will happen in the day of glory when He will come. So, while reading and meditating on Today’s text, I hope we may learn few lessons together.

1) As we saw already last few week, the theme of this Book of Isaiah is that the Holy One of Israel challenged his people to live according to the righteousness required by God the LORD who dwelled among them and the book of Isaiah can be divided into five paragraphs:

(1) In the first through the third paragraph whose historical background is the 8th to 7th century BC, Southern Judah, who witnessed Northern Israel was destroyed by their sin, continued to practice idolatry and injustice, so the prophet Isaiah prophesied that if they continued to sin, they eventually would be destroyed,

(2) And then in the following fourth paragraph of chapter 40 to 55, again to the people of Southern Judah, who were eventually destroyed by Babylon and taken captive around the 6th century BC, not listening the warning of God, Isaiah prophesied that but after the promised period of exile, they would receive God's grace to return to Jerusalem.

(3) And then, in the last paragraph of chapter 56 to 66, where we read Today’s text of Isaiah 61, to the people of Judah, who returned to Jerusalem around the 5th century BC by the grace of God, Isaiah encouraged them to live before God according to God's justice from then, while prophesying the vision of the new heaven and new earth that will be re-created on the last day of the world.

2) In particular, in the fourth paragraph of chapter 40 to 55, Isaiah summarizes three In particular, from chapters 60 to 66 where we can see the story of hope in the end, the word “the glory of God” appears 23 times, I mean, in the kingdom of God that the Messiah would inaugurate,

(1) Jerusalem, where God would dwell, would be filled with His glory

(2) and his people, whom He bought with Jesus’ blood, would be glorified

(3) And also in the last days, Isaiah says that the whole earth will be filled and shined with His glory.

3) And among them, according to today’s text, Chapter 61, when the Messiah comes, the One anointed by the Spirit of the LORD,

(1) His people will be called as a tree of righteousness, in other words, the one who will glorify the Lord

(2) and also called as the priests of the LORD and the ministers of God.

(3) and then they will become the offspring whom the LORD will bless, making an everlasting covenant with God so that they will praise the LORD.

4) And the qualification to become His people who will display the glory of the LORD, as His priest of the LORD and servant of God and their characteristics, are the poor, the brokenhearted, the sad, and the sorrowful, in today’s text.

5) And also our Lord, Jesus, explained the characteristics of the people of God’s kingdom and the blessings they will receive are in the Beatitudes on the Mount in Mt chapter 5 that

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. And Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

And here the poor means the poor in spirit so that they recognize their total depravity and inability and rely on the grace of the LORD fully, in other words, they are those who come to God after recognizing that the salvation is only to God.

6) And secondly, in verse 2, it says that the Messiah will proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort those who mourn. Regarding this words, even John the Baptist misunderstood them,I mean, when he was imprisoned by declaring outright that Herod took Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, he sent his disciples to ask the Lord, saying, “Since you came to us, then will the year of favor and the day of vengeance come true?” that’s to say, “Will you avenge me and free me from imprisonment?” But, in fact, this was his misunderstanding, I mean, when Jesus first began His public ministry and read Isaiah chapter 61 in the Nazareth synagogue, Jesus only read that

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim year of the Lord’s favor”

And Jesus did not read the next word of the day of vengeance, since, in fact, this year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of God refer to two different events in history. In other words, the year of the Lord’s favor refers to His first coming as the Messiah to accomplish His ministry in the cross through which He opened the era of grace when all the world can receive His grace by the faith in Him, while the day of vengeance of God actually refers to the day when Jesus Christ will return on the last day of the world and judge all the people of the world. So, some scholars say that the first coming of Jesus Christ is D-day, that is, the day when the kingdom of God was inaugurated, while His second coming is V-day when the kingdom of God will be completed. So in fact we live in this era of grace, in other words, the era of the millennium. And while we participate in earthly rule through the church on earth with Jesus Christ, who rules in heaven, we carry out the mission of God as His kings, priests, and prophets, while growing as His people.

7) And God even said in verse 8 that He would make an everlasting covenant with them that based on the eternal covenant of redemption made by the three persons of God before the creation of the world, when Adam and Eve broke the covenant of works through the tree of knowledge of good and evil which God first made with them, God invoked the covenant of grace, developing and renewing it through Adamic Covenant, Noahic Covenant, Abrahamic Covenant, Mosaic Covenant, and the Davidic Covenant, and even as prophesied in Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36, as Jesus made a new covenant through his flesh and blood, 2000 years ago, God made an eternal covenant with His people in which we receives His grace forever.

8) Through today's passage, we would like to learn few things. First, as verses 3 and 6 of today's text say, we as His people are receiving the grace of the eternal covenant to be called as those who will display the glory of the LORD, and as priests of the LORD and the servants of God. In other words, we who have become His eternal covenant people, receive His glory as Jesus said in John 17:22, “The glory you gave me I have given to them,” and also grow into the glory of God as 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of God, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to anoth. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” so that we could live to reflect the glory of God on this earth. And also, as Exodus 19:5 and 6 says, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel” and also 1 Peter 2:9 confirms that, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light,” and also as Jesus said in John 4:24 to worship God in the Spirit and truth, we are living as His priests, I mean, His worshipers, who sacrifice to God, that is, worship Him. And lastly, in Exodus 4:23, the LORD commanded Pharaoh through Moses, “Send my sons to serve Me (Abad),” and also as ouir Lord told his disciples in Mark 9:35 to live serving all people, we have to live as servants to serve others. And that’s why the Lord summarized all these commandments in Matthew 22:37 and 39 as two great commandments: love God, in other words, a life of worshiping God, and love our neighbors, in other words, a life of serving others. I pray that all of us here will be able to live as His priests, I mean, His worshipers, putting on and growing into the glory of God to reflect His glory on this earth, while serving others as His servants. Secondly. in order to be able to receive God's blessings and the glory of the LORD and live joyfully under the eternal covenant as His priests or worshipers and servants, it says that we have to be poor and broken-hearted, and even sad. Then the question is whether we really think and recognize ourselves as such person. I mean, when you look at yourself, we need to check whether you think you are poor in spirit before the LORD or whether you really think that you feel brokenhearted and sad because of our own total depravity. As we celebrate the third Sunday of Advent season today, while we are hoping to meet our Lord, I hope we may cry out “Lord, come into our hearts today,” and pray that “Enthrone as king in my heart, rule and guide me, so that I may learn the gentleness and humility of the Lord.”

Key Questions as Small Group Activity

Q1 As today's text says, in order to live as His priests and servants, while reflecting His glory after being blessed, we have to be poor in spirit and brokenhearted to rely on God. While reviewing yourself, after checking you have the mind of humility and meekness, I hope you can share your thoughts and experience with your team members to learn each other.

Q2 And in today's text, three characteristics of God’s people is they are called as those who glorify God, as the priests of the LORD and servants of God. While reviewing our life, checking we are living like these, I hope you may share your thought and experience to learn each other.

Love you. Thank you. God bless you.

Prayer Note

Dear ( God’s attribute which you found Today ) God!

Thanks for ( something you received through the sermon or even during the week )

Praise, gratitude and glory be to You, Lord!

Today, I realized my sin (pains) that ( the sin God reminded through the sermon ),

please forgive (or heal) me and help me not to repeat ( the sins you recognized ).

I learned that ( something you learned through the sermon )

Please help me to live in that ( learned way of life )

I pray in ( Jesus’ attribute you find ) Jesus’ name. Amen.


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