Light In The Darkness

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There is light in the darkness, through Jesus!

Isaiah(3) (Part of the Advent(9) series)
by Stuart Johns(153) on November 29, 2020 (Sunday Morning(211))

All-Knowing (Omniscient)(5), All-Powerful (Omnipotent)(11), Ever Present (Omnipresent)(3), Light(3)

ADVENT - PROPHECY

Light In The Darkness

(Isaiah 9:1-7)

 

INTRODUCTION

It’s been a difficult year!

 

Most of us would agree with that statement. ​​ We could never have imagined in our lifetime that something like the coronavirus would cause such distress, chaos, fear, anxiety, and depression.

 

Add to that the racial tensions that have surfaced over this past year.

 

Then, add to that the political divide that continues to widen.

 

Finally, add to that the economic downturn and we have the makings of something very difficult and dark

 

It’s easy for us to look at 2020 and say that we are living in the land of the shadow of death. ​​ It’s not hard to feel like we are walking in darkness.

 

BODY

  • ME

    • Times of darkness

        • The miscarriage of our one child

        • When criticism comes

          • I’m a self-evaluator

          • I’m hardest on myself

 

  • WE

    • Times of darkness

        • Financial struggles

        • Emotional struggles

        • Physical struggles

        • Spiritual struggles

    • Times of darkness for God’s people

        • God spoke directly to the prophets in the Old Testament

        • He gave them prophetic words for the people of Israel and their leaders

        • Most of the messages from God to His people and their leaders were not feel-good messages, but rather warnings about punishment to come if they didn’t repent and turn back to Him

        • Some of the prophetic words were about the future and brought hope

          • That’s what He did with Isaiah as we’ll see today

          • BIG IDEA – There is light in the darkness, through Jesus!

          • But first I want to do a little background work on Advent for those of you who have never experienced it or have experienced it, but never understood why it is celebrated the four weeks leading up to Christmas

 

  • Meaning of Advent

    • Advent comes from Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival”

    • Candles

        • Prophecy/Candle of Hope (purple)

        • Bethlehem/Candle of Preparation (purple)

        • Shepherds/Candle of Joy (pink)

        • Angels/Candle of Love (purple)

        • Christ Candle (white)

    • Wreath

        • The circle reminds us of God Himself, His eternity and endless mercy, which has no beginning or end

        • The evergreen used, speaks of the hope that we have in God, the hope of newness, of renewal, of eternal life.

        • Candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of Jesus.

        • The 4 outer candles represent the period of waiting during the 4 Sundays of Advent, which themselves symbolize the 4 centuries of waiting between the prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ.

 

  • The Prophecy Candle (Isaiah 9:1-7)

    • Isaiah’s time

        • Most of the OT prophecies were not exciting news for the Israelites

        • God would use the prophets to help turn the Israelites back to Him

        • Israel not following the Lord

        • As we see in Isaiah 8:1-10, God uses Assyria to humble the northern kingdom

        • This was the mode of operation for Israel

          • They would forget about God and turn to idols and other practices that He found detestable

          • He would send them in to exile by using neighboring nations that would come in and conquer them

          • They would remember the Lord while in exile and cry out to Him for rescue

          • He would hear their cries and bring them back to the Promised Land

    • Isaiah’s prophecy – first part (9:1-2)

        • Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? (8:19)

        • Thrust into utter darkness (8:22)

        • We see the transitional word “Nevertheless” or “But” which is contrasting what was just mentioned in 8:22.

        • In the past He humbled the land of Zebulun and Naphtali (the northern kingdom)

              • “They were most severely ravaged when the Assyrians invaded from the north.” (Guzik)

        • In the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles

          • This goes back to the mode of operation for Israel

          • When they repent and cry out to God, He hears them and rescues them from their oppressors

        • The people walking in darkness

          • The reference here, to living in darkness, is something that we all can connect with

          • The Israelites, while in exile, were being oppressed

          • It’s hard to be happy when you are a slave to someone or something else, because that “master” dictates everything you do

          • If your master is an addiction, you know the darkness associated with that and the pull of that master

          • If your master is the opinions of others, you understand the darkness of depression

          • If your master is someone who is abusing you, you recognize the darkness of secrecy that surrounds you

        • Have seen a great light, a light has dawned

          • Isaiah hints here of hope that is coming

          • Light is associated with hope, with being able to see things clearly

          • It drives out fear

          • If you’ve every slept with a nightline on, you understand that even a little bit of light drives out darkness and fear

          • Isaiah says that the people walking in darkness have seen a great light – it wasn’t just a little light

    • Isaiah’s prophecy – first part fulfilled

        • Read Matthew 4:13-17

        • We see in this passage that Jesus lived in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali

        • Matthew quotes Isaiah 9:1-2 and verifies that Isaiah was referring to Jesus as the light.

        • Jesus spoke about Himself as the light

          • John 8:12“I am the light of the world.”

          • John 9:5While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

          • John 12:46I have come into the world as a light . . .

          • John 1:4-5In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.

          • John 1:9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world

        • There is light in the darkness, through Jesus!

    • Verses 3 to 5

        • Isaiah is speaking about future events

        • Some of it was fulfilled in Isaiah 37 when God accepted King Hezekiah’s prayer concerning the Assyrian’s. ​​ The angel of the Lord struck down 185,000 Assyrians.

        • It can also represent the second coming of Christ and His deliverance and victory

          • Jesus’ ministry would bring joy and gladness

          • There will be rejoicing when He returns

          • He will conquer completely – the reference to the burning of the boots and garments was something that would be done when the battle was finished and you had won!

    • Isaiah’s prophecy – second part (9:6-7)

        • Jesus birth

          • A child is born

            • This speaks of Jesus humanity

            • “There is nothing more weak, more helpless, more dependent than a child. ​​ Theoretically, the Messiah could have come as a fully grown man, created as an adult even as Adam was created. ​​ But for Jesus to fully identify with humanity, and to display in His life the servant nature that is in God, made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7)”
              [David Guzik]

            • This was the starting point of Jesus humanity

          • A son is given

            • This speaks of Jesus deity

            • Since He has always been, there was no starting point to his deity, but God gave Him to us.

            • John 3:16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

            • “That Jesus is both God and man tells us that man really is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26) and that perfect humanity is more compatible with deity than we imagine. ​​ It says that our problem is not our humanity, but our fallenness . . . remember that the humanity that Jesus added to His Divine nature was not the sinful humanity we commonly know, but the perfect humanity of Adam and Eve before the fall.” ​​ [David Guzik]

          • Jesus humanity allowed Him to take your punishment for sin and His deity allowed Him to be the perfect sacrifice that God demanded. ​​ Without either we would be lost in our sin.

        • Jesus’ reign

          • The government will be on His shoulders – this will be fulfilled in the Millennium (thousand year reign) when Jesus reigns in Jerusalem.

          • Gayle Erwin writes about the government God promises, both ultimately and right now:

            What might such a government look like? ​​ First of all, it would look like its king. ​​ Politicians of this day look for what they can get from you. ​​ Jesus looks for what He can do for you.

            Leaders of this day surround themselves with servants. ​​ Jesus surrounds us with His servanthood.

            Leaders of this day use their power to build their empire. ​​ Jesus uses his power to wash our feet and make us clean and comfortable.

            Leaders of this day trade influence for money. ​​ God so loved that he gave . . .

            Generals of this day need regular wars to keep their weapons and skills up to date and insure their own advancement. ​​ Jesus brings peace and rest to hearts

            The higher the plane of importance one reaches in this world, the more inaccessible he becomes. ​​ Jesus was Emmanuel, “God with us.”

            Leaders of this day are desperate to be seen and heard. ​​ Jesus sought anonymity so He could be useful.

            Obviously, Jesus is not in charge of the halls of Washington, London, Moscow, Baghdad, Paris or Bonn. ​​ So, how can we ever believe the “government will be upon His shoulders?”

            Actually, His government shows its workings in wonderful ways. ​​ Whenever I see someone who miraculously leaves a life of drugs or alcohol and is restored to his family and work, I can see that he is now governed by God.

            Whenever I see loving Christians gently caring for orphans and those rejected by family, I know I am watching people governed by God.

            Whenever I see people eagerly learning the Bible and joyously praising, I know who the governor is.

            Whenever I see people give up lucrative careers simply to go and share the Good News of Jesus, I know they are governed by God.

            When I see pastors carefully teach and lead the flock God has given them, I know they are getting signals from the great King.

            When I see people leave family to live and teach in distant lands because they love the people who have not heard, I know they are governed by God.

 

          • Daniel Watts of Every Generation Ministries has said: ​​ “When we think about a King building His kingdom we realize it requires battles where they conquer those around them.  The King of Kings, Jesus Christ, did something completely different - He died in order to establish His kingdom.”

        • The names/character of Jesus

          • Wonderful – Hebrew, peh’leh, which means admirable, distinguished. ​​ Jesus’ reign will not be boring.

          • Counselor – Hebrew, yä-ats’, which means one who consults, i.e. cares for, protects. ​​ There is no need for an appointment or fees with Jesus. ​​ He should be our immediate resource as a counselor.

            • Scholars debate whether these two names should be combined or not

            • Whether they are taken together or not we see God’s attribute of omniscience (all-knowing)

            • He knows exactly how to counsel us in the dark times of our lives

          • Mighty God – Jesus cannot only give you wise counsel, but has the power to help execute that wise counsel

            • We see in this name another attribute of God, omnipotence (all-powerful)

            • Nothing is too hard for Him

            • Jesus had and used supernatural power to get the attention of people so He could share with them about God and His kingdom

          • Everlasting Father – Warren Wiersbe says that a better translation is “Father of eternity”. ​​ Among Jews, the word “father” means “originator” or “source.” ​​ In John 8:44 Satan is the “father [originator] of lies”. ​​ If we want anything eternal we have to go to Jesus

            • In Hebrew and Arabic when they say that someone is “the father of” they are saying they are the source of that thing

            • Hippocrates – the father of modern medicine

            • Galileo – the father of modern science

            • Wilhelm Wundt – the father of modern psychology

            • We see here another attribute of God, omnipresent (always present with us, throughout eternity)

          • Prince of Peace – Jesus is the one who makes peace, especially between God and man

            • “The Hebrew term shalom indicates not only absence of war, but a condition of rich, harmonious, and positive well-being.” ​​ [BBC, 63]

            • The final attribute of God in Jesus is omnificence, which means unlimited in creative bounty

    • Isaiah’s prophecy – second part fulfilled

        • Luke 2:11 – Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord

        • Jesus was born in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago.

        • Verse 7 is a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. ​​ It will be fulfilled when Christ returns.

          • There will be unending peace.

          • He will fulfill God’s promise to David that there would always be someone from his line on the throne.

          • He will be a just and righteous King

 

  • YOU

    • Darkness

        • The Israelites understood Isaiah, because they had first-hand experience with being oppressed

        • They needed to have hope in this darkness

        • Perhaps you’re experiencing the darkness of oppression today

          • There may be a “master” that is controlling your actions, attitudes, and behaviors

          • You know you need to get out from underneath that “master”, but it’s difficult

          • There is hope!

          • Allow Jesus to be your master

          • He knows about your situation and has the power to help

          • He is always present waiting for you to cry out to Him in repentance and to ask Him for help

          • He wants to bring peace to your life

          • He is the light that drives out darkness

          • There is light in the darkness, through Jesus!

        • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Begin this Advent season by crying out to God in repentance and ask Him to be my Master.

          • Tell God about the master that is currently oppressing and controlling you

          • Ask Him to remove that master from your life

    • Bright future

        • As followers of Jesus Christ, we know that our future is bright

          • We serve a God who keeps His promises

          • All of His prophecies have come true, so we know those that have not yet been fulfilled will be

          • We can rejoice that God fulfilled his prophecy through Isaiah as we remember Jesus birth during this Advent season

        • Perhaps you don’t see the future as being bright

          • You can change that today

          • John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. ​​ Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

          • This is talking about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ

          • Following Jesus requires a 180-degree turn

            • That turn happens when you repent of your sins and ask Jesus to come into your life

            • The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23) – that’s eternal darkness

            • The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus our Lord

            • God’s offers you the free gift of eternal life by believing in Jesus and receiving Him into your life

            • You can do that today and know for sure that your future is bright

          • My Next Step Today Is To: ​​ Receive God’s free gift of eternal life and know that my future will be bright!

 

CONCLUSION

“During the 2008 presidential race, John McCain was asked by Time magazine to share his ‘personal journey of faith.’ In his article McCain shared a powerful story of something that occurred while he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam:

 

When I was a prisoner of war in Vietnam…my captors would tie my arms behind my back and then loop the rope around my neck and ankles so that my head was pulled down between my knees. I was often left like that throughout the night. One night a guard came into my cell. He put his finger to his lips signaling for me to be quiet and then loosened my ropes to relieve my pain. The next morning, when his shift ended, the guard returned and retightened the ropes, never saying a word to me.

 

A month or so later, on Christmas Day, I was standing in the dirt courtyard when I saw that same guard approach me. He walked up and stood silently next to me, not looking or smiling at me. Then he used his sandaled foot to draw a cross in the dirt. We stood wordlessly looking at the cross, remembering the true light of Christmas, even in the darkness of a Vietnamese prison camp.”

 

John McCain, "A Light amid the Darkness," Time magazine (8-18-08), p. 40; submitted by Kevin Miller, executive vice president, Christianity Today International.

 

https://www.preachingtoday.com/illustrations/2008/december/1120108.html

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