Christ Listened to His Father to Save Those Who Listen to Him (Isaiah Sermon 57 of 80)
December 14, 2014 | Andy Davis
Andy Davis preaches a verse-by-verse expository sermon on Isaiah 50:1-11. The main subject of the sermon is how God saves sinners through a perfect savior despite their disobedience.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
The scripture says, "I will praise you, O Lord, because I am fearfully and wonderfully made." And as I was thinking about Isaiah 50, I focused specifically on the capacity of hearing. The human ear is a stunning marvel of God's creation. It is just incredible what we can hear. The range of decibel levels of very quiet sounds like you could imagine a quiet whisper or the breathing of a newborn on the chest of a mother or a father, just those tiny sounds that you can hear all the way up to something deafening, like a jet airplane flying right overhead. My father grew up in a house in Miami, Florida, and somewhere in there they built Miami International Airport, about a mile from my father's childhood home. And I remember sleeping or trying to, in that house and the jets would be about 100 feet over that house. And the rattling of the windows and things falling off the walls. I guess they learned after a while not to put things that would fall off the walls on the walls, but just the deafening roar of the jet airplanes.
And so, the range of human hearing is just astonishing. One of the most amazing aspects of the ear is its ability to selectively hear certain sounds. Like you could be in a crowded room with music playing and all kinds of conversations going on and you're able to zero in on one person and their conversation and hear specifically what they're saying to you. Or a mother at a crowded playground can hear her child crying over the din of all kinds of play and laughter, and all kinds of things. Even in the middle of a conversation she may be having with another mother, she's like, "Wait a minute." And she's listening and she can hear the child crying. And I find that amazing. We can zero in, or you could listen to a symphony orchestra, and there are just dozens and dozens, maybe even 100 instruments and you can focus on a specific instrument and listen to just that melodic line from the oboe or from a trumpet, or something like that, or the base and it's just beautiful.
God made the ear to hear. And the wide range of the sounds that we can hear from the general rustling of leaves that a breeze makes, all the way up to the awesome power of a thunder, lightning storm, it's just incredible. Now, you heard Kurt say just a moment ago, this incredible verse, Romans 10:17, God has ordained hearing as the way by which the saving message of the Gospel enters our lives. "Faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." But we are able, sadly, to tune out God's word and not listen to it. It can come to us so powerfully and we're still able in some very tragic way, to turn a deaf ear to what God is saying. Now the unifying theme, I believe, the angle I'm going to take today from Isaiah 50 is that of hearing.
We're going to see how God again and again, spoke to the nation of Israel but they didn't listen. He called out to them and they didn't listen. And because they would not listen, he sent them away into exile. And this is the very thing that God had told the prophet Isaiah would happen. You remember back in that famous chapter Isaiah 6, the year that King Uzziah died, he saw the Lord in that whole calling of Isaiah into ministry, "Whom shall I send and who will go for us?" "Here am I, send me."
"Alright, well, what's the mission? What's the message?" He said, "Go and tell this people: 'be ever-hearing but never understanding, be ever-seeing, but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people callous, make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn and be healed.'" Isaiah was told that the nation's refusal to listen to God, would result in the total destruction of their country. In Isaiah 6, 11 and 12, he said, "For how long, O Lord?" And he answered, "Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant. Until the houses are left deserted, and the fields ruined and ravaged. Until the Lord has sent everyone far away." That's exile.
So, their failure to listen to God's word would result in the destruction of their land and exile. Now we're going to see in Isaiah 50, this problem is addressed. Only now, God is speaking across 100 plus years to the remnant that's there in Babylon, explaining again and making very clear how they came to be there, why they were there. And he zeroes in on the fact that their ancestors refused to listen to God. But in the middle of this incredible chapter, someone pops up and the connection between verse 3 and 4 is not so clear. But out of nowhere, someone pops up and speaks to us directly in the first person. And this individual characterizes himself as one who perfectly listens to God, who listens to everything God says and obeys everything he tells him to do.
And he's willing to listen even if it means terrible suffering for himself. Even being beaten on his back and having his beard plucked out. And he would do this to save a people from their own failure to listen to God. Those people would be saved out of their hardness of heart into a whole new pattern of obedience to God in the pattern that he displayed for us. Their hearts of stone would be removed, their hearts of submissive yielded-ness to God by His Spirit would be given to them and everything would change. Instead of spiritual deafness, they would be characterized as he was by perfect listening to God and perfect obedience to him.
So Isaiah 50 is about listening, because it ends in the last two verses, with a challenge. The text brings us to a fork in the road and says, "Who are you going to listen to? Are you going to fear the Lord and listen to His servant, Christ, or are you going to walk by your own lights and by your own wisdom? And if you do, you will lie down in torment." That's the whole chapter. So now let's look at it in detail. And I pray and I already have prayed and I will continue to pray that God would give you ears, to hear. How many times did Jesus say that? He who has ears, let him hear, he wants you to listen today. So I pray that this would hit you in a way that would be memorable and would transform you.
I. A Nation Who Refused to Listen Sent into Exile (vs. 1-3)
So at the beginning in verses one through three, we have a nation who refused to listen sent into exile. And it begins with this question in verse 1, this is what the Lord says, "Where is your mother's certificate of divorce with which I sent her away or to which of my creditors did I sell you? Because of your sins, you were sold, because of your transgressions your mother was sent away." So God is speaking here, through Isaiah the prophet across 100 plus years to the exiles in Babylon, explaining how it came to be that they're there and not in their own promised land.
And he uses this image of marriage and divorce which will be very familiar to those of you that have read a lot of the prophets, the Old Testament, the image of Israel as God's wife. And in some way, God had married Israel, but Israel was adulterous, Israel was unfaithful to her husband. He's using this image of marriage. In Jeremiah two, he says there, "I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me in the desert." Israel was holy to the Lord. Many times in the prophets we have this image.
But God is saying that Zion, her mother, Israel's mother, the ancestors, were sent away, put away, by her husband because of their wickedness and because of their sins. He also uses the image of slavery, "To which of my creditors did I sell you?" He says. So they are, as though they were a wife put away there, as though they were children that were sold into slavery to pay a debt. But it's interesting how he asks, "Can you rummage and go find the certificate of divorce? You're not going to be able to find it. And actually, I didn't sell you to anyone. You're still mine. I didn't owe anybody anything, and I can bring you back any time I want. And I can renew our love relationship, any time I choose."
That's what he's saying, but what he's doing is he's cutting off a self-righteous, forgetfulness and a self-pity among these people saying, "Understand you are there because you sinned. You're in the trouble you're in because you sinned." You know There's a proverb that says, "A man's own folly ruins his life, but his heart rages against the Lord." Does ever characterize you? You do some really stupid or perhaps even immoral sinful things, you get into deep trouble because of it, and you're raged that God doesn't love you. It's not true, your own sins have caused this problem for you, that's why you're in the problem that you're in. And then God goes to say, "Look, it happened specifically because you refuse to listen to me."
Israel Refused to Listen to the Sovereign God
Look what he says in verse 2, "When I came, why was there no one? When I called why was there no one to answer?" God goes into the issue that Israel would not listen to Him, when He spoke to them. They refused to listen. "I called out to you, and you didn't answer me. Why were you so spiritually deaf? When I summoned you why didn't you come and obey me?" Now, how did God do that? Well, he spoke to His people through His servants, the prophets, and again and again, God sent prophets to Israel and again and again, they refused to listen. At the end of the whole history of this as Israel is about to be sent away, or was being sent away in the Babylonian exile in 2 Chronicles 36:16-17 it says that the Lord sent word to them through His messengers again and again because he had pity on them, but they mocked God's messengers, they despised His words and they scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord was aroused, and there was no remedy. And so he brought against them, the king of Babylon.
That's the message. And it's the very thing that Jesus taught about in Matthew 21, you remember? The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who planted a vineyard and he built a watch tower in it, and a wine press and put a wall around it and then he rented the vineyard to some tenant farmers and he went away. And in due time, he sent some messengers to the tenant farmers to collect the fruit, but they seized the messengers, they beat them and killed them. So he said, "I called out to you, and you did not answer, you did not listen." But yet, even still, God is every bit as powerful as he ever was when he established them in the Promised Land.
He hasn't lost his strength, he hasn't lost his power, he can still do all of the same things. Look at verses two and three, he says, "Was my arm too short to ransom you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you? By a mere rebuke I dry up the sea. I turn rivers into a desert, their fish rot for lack of water, and die of thirst. I clothe the sky with darkness and make sackcloth its covering." God is omnipotent, he can do anything. He's bringing their minds back to how God made a way through the Red Sea, or how he made the fish die during the plague, you remember how he turned the water into blood and all the fish died there in Egypt? God can still do all of those same things. He can go to war on behalf of Israel and rescue them. God is every bit as powerful now as he ever was.
And his arm is not too short to ransom us. That's an image. A number of years ago, I heard a black preacher back in the 19th century, whatever, said, "Your arm's too short to box with God." Think about that. You ever picture like a world-class heavyweight champion and there's some six-year-old who's really mad at him and he wants to get at him and he's got him like by the forehead just holding them there with a smile on his face. And here's this little kid trying to do this, trying to punch this big man and the man just smile and hold him off. Your arm is too short to box with God.
What does that mean? You lack the power. God is omnipotent. How could you try to take God on? Well turn it around, He said, "My arm's not too short, I can do anything I want. My arm is not shortened at all," and is sovereign power. He can still do anything and everything that he willed to do. "So why is it you're not listening to me? Why is it you're not calling on me in the day of trouble?" That's what he's saying to them.
II. A Servant Who Listened Perfectly Sent as Savior (vs. 4-9)
Now, suddenly, right in the text, in verses 4 through 9, we have this suffering servant pop up. And it's kind of like that's the way it was in history, too. Jesus just popped up in history. In the fullness of time, when God said it was time, he just came. And so it is, I believe, Isaiah 54 through 9 is talking about Jesus. And actually it's not even talking about Jesus, it's Jesus talking to us. He's speaking in the first person.
Now, I know it's possible you can read this as though this is Isaiah, the prophet, speaking and I know that Isaiah was faithful and listened to God, and all that, and all the prophets were and I accept that. But in that way, Isaiah was just a type and a shadow of Christ's perfect obedience to the Father. Jesus is the perfect prophet fulfilling all of those prophetic images. So ultimately, this is Jesus speaking to us. And he speaks in verse 4 of his perfect obedience. Look what he says here. "The sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me, morning by morning awakens my ear to listen like one being taught." So here we have a direct contrast between Israel that's hard of hearing, people of God, who aren't listening to God and this servant that's perfectly listening to him.
Israel was sent into exile because they refused to listen to God. And when later, he would return them from the exile and bring them back to the promised land, they would still be characterized by the same hardness of hearing. So God must send a Savior, the suffering servant, to listen to him on their behalf, and to obey God on their behalf and to suffer on their behalf and die on their behalf. And at the center of the suffering servant's life is a listening ear and a submissive heart. That's the center of Christ saving work, a listening ear and a submissive heart.
Jesus is speaking to us in verses 4 through 9, we hear his word centuries before he was born of the virgin Mary, and was wrapped up in swaddling clothes and laid in the manger. Centuries before any of that happened, before he was presented to Israel as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, centuries before any of the ministry of miracles, and incredible teachings, and before he died on the cross and before he rose again, before any of that, he's speaking to us. And these verses give us as no other verses do, you're not going to find anything like this, even in the Gospels, an amazing insight into the intimacy of Jesus' relationship with his Father, of his love relationship with his Father. Verse 4 says that God the Father has given him an instructed tongue. Jesus' words were a perfect medicine for a world sick with sin. Jesus said the Father taught him what to say. Specifically the word that would sustain the weary. Is that you today? Do you need a word from Jesus? Are you weary? Are you weary and heavy-laden? Are you weary and struggling? Jesus knows the word to sustain you. And he learned it from his Father, the Father taught him what to say to sustain the weary.
And we go beyond this to look at the details of Jesus' private devotional life. He says the Father wakens him morning by morning, wakens his ear to listen like one being taught. And now we come to the infinite mystery of the incarnation. Here we have the perfect submission of God the Son to God the Father. In heaven, God the Son, neither slumbers nor sleeps, ever, doesn't need to sleep. On earth, he had to be wakened morning by morning. In heaven, Jesus knows everything, always has and always will.
Like I said, a number of months ago in another sermon, I love this statement. Has it ever occurred to you that nothing's ever occurred to God? I love that statement. God doesn't have anything pop in his head. It was already there. That's what omniscience is all about. Jesus is omniscient, in heaven, he doesn't learn anything in heaven. But the infinite mystery of the incarnation is that Jesus learned things on earth. There were things he didn't know. So when he was an infant, he was what he appeared to be, an infant who couldn't say a word, wrapped in swaddling cloths laid in the manger completely powerless. And he had to learn things. It says in Luke 2:52, Jesus "grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and men." So he's just throughout his life, he's learning things, he's growing in his understanding. It says also in Hebrews 5 that although he was a Son, Jesus learned obedience from what he suffered. So that directly connects Jesus with the verb learn. He learned things.
That should blow your mind, circuit breakers just popping off, that's the mind-blowing circuit breakers. Just I can't understand how can he be God which means omniscient and learn things? I don't know. But that's what we're celebrating at Christmas time, isn't it? The incarnation and the mystery? And so, he's learning things and this gets into the practicalities of even his daily quiet time. If you looked at Mark 1:35 later, but this is what it says, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed." So that's his morning quiet time, very early he goes to a private place where he can listen to his father, and his father talked to him and shared things with him predominantly from Scripture, but also what he would face that day.
And Jesus' enemies were astonished at His teaching, and at His learning. I remember how in John 7:15-16, Jesus' enemies were amazed and said, "How did this man get such learning?..." He never studied at our university? We looked through the enrollment records and he was never there. So how did he get all this advanced learning?" Jesus said these words, "My teaching is not my own. It came from Him who sent me." Do you hear that? The father taught me all the things that I know. In John 14:24, He said, "The word you hear is not mine but it is from the Father who sent me." No one in history ever spoke like this man, no one. Do you remember the time that the temple police went off to arrest Jesus? I love that story. And they come back empty-handed and dazed, amazed, right?
I think they might have gotten his autograph if he gave it, I don't think he would give it, but they were just amazed. They said, "Where is he?" They said, "No one ever spoke like this man." In direct fulfillment of verse four of this chapter, his words were amazingly comforting to broken-hearted sinners. For example, he said to a paralyzed man who had faith, he said, "Take heart son, your sins are forgiven." Isn't that comforting? How would you love to hear that from the judge of all the earth? "Take heart son, your sins are forgiven." In the same chapter, to a woman had been chronically ill with bleeding, he said, "Take heart daughter, your faith has healed you."
He knew the word that sustained the weary, especially this one, most famously, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." So every morning, the father awaken Jesus is here to listen and he would be trained what to say to bring comfort and consolation to sinners. And so there's this beautiful summary statement of all this in John 12:49-50, he says this, "I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me, commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that His command leads to eternal life, so whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say." So Jesus literally was given his script by the Father, and He says in John 6:63, "The words that I speak are Spirit and they are life." So as we listen to Jesus speaking these words, they are spirit and life for us. And so Isaiah 50, verse four, ushers us into a secret chamber of Jesus' quiet times and how the father taught him what to say to broken-hearted sinners. But verse five and six talk about his obedience to that.
The Servant Speaks of His Humble Submission to Abuse
Look at it again, "The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious, I have not drawn back. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting." Not only did the Father give Jesus' words to say but he also gave him works to do, and Jesus did all of them, all of them. So verse five shows Jesus' submission to obey the Father's will. "The Lord has opened my ears," that's an obedient heart. "I have not been rebellious, I've not drawn back." I did whatever the Father told me to do, that's what I did.
He was a servant to the Father and he did the works the Father gave him to do. I love at the end of his ministry, before he goes to the cross, but in anticipation of his own obedience at the cross, he says in John 17:4 directly to the Father, "I have brought you glory on earth by completing all the work you gave me to do." Wouldn't you love to be able to say that to God for just one day? Just one day, "I have brought you glory today by doing everything you told me to do." I'm still looking for that one perfect day, maybe you are too. Jesus had a perfect life, he was obedient to everything the Father told him to do. He says in John 8:29, "The one who sent me is with me, he's not left me alone for I always do what pleases Him." Now, the ultimate degree of that was his willingness to suffer for us, to suffer in our place as our substitute.
He was not rebellious, he did not draw back. And the perfect picture of this was Gethsemane. You remember how in Gethsemane Jesus is brought right to the brink of the cross and the Father metaphorically offering him the cup of wrath, the cup of judgment, the cup of death, he says, "Will you drink it?" "Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and He prayed, 'My Father if it is possible, let this cup be taken from me, yet not as I will, but as you will.'" That's the spirit of this. "I was not rebellious. I didn't draw back. I drank the cup you gave to me." A couple verses later, it says he went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away, unless I drink it, may your will be done."
And so the prophecy here in verse six speaks plainly of the suffering that Christ would have to go through to save us from our sins. He didn't refuse the suffering, he offered his back to those who beat him, he offered his cheeks to those who plucked out his beard, he didn't hide his holy face from mocking and spitting. Here, we have the humble savior led like a lamb to the slaughter. All of this abuse would come to him and it was all part of his atoning work. Jesus took our sins on Himself, and with it came all of this abuse that sinners deserve, and he did not refuse it, but humbly submitted to it, and no one in history has ever been more obedient to Scripture than Jesus.
Perfectly obedient. Do you remember how Peter tried to rescue him with his sword and he was going to fight and he says, "Put your sword away for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father and he would at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" Listen to the next word, though, "But how then would the Scripture be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?" "Scripture mandates that I die, and therefore I will die. I was not rebellious. I did not draw back. I went forward and died."
And it says beautifully in Romans Chapter 5, "Just as through one man's disobedience, that many were made sinners, so also through the one man's obedience that many are made righteous." Find your salvation in Jesus' perfect obedience to what he heard from the Father to do.
The Servant Speaks of His Vindication by God
Now, verses seven through nine speak of Jesus' vindication by God, "Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near who then will bring charges against me? Let us face each other. Who is my accuser? Let him confront me. It is the sovereign Lord, who helps me, who is he that will condemn me? They will all wear out like a garment, the moths will eat them up."
So, the ultimate end of the suffering servant is not disgrace, but total complete absolute vindication by Almighty God. Isn't that awesome? Vindication, not shame or disgrace, absolute vindication. The circumstances described in verses six show an astonishing level of abuse which would sum up with abject degradation. People spitting at you, plucking out beard, stripping you, beating your back. But the servant refused to be ashamed. Think about Hebrews 12:2, "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of Heaven." Now what does despise mean? Is that I thought little of it, it's nothing to me, the shame is nothing to me, I get to win a people for God, I get to save them from hell and therefore the shame is as nothing compared to that.
And so he says, "I'm not going to be ashamed." He sets His face like flint and he goes to the cross and God totally vindicated Jesus by His glorious resurrection from the dead. The tomb was empty on the third day, that's his vindication by God. And He raises him up through the clouds, through the sky, through the heavenly realms, up to the very highest pinnacle of power, and sits Him down at the right hand of Almighty God. Now who is ready to accuse Him at that place? Who's going to stand in front of Him and bring any accusation against God, at that point?
Who's going to accuse him? They're going to wear out like garment, the moth will eat them up. Now, isn't it amazing that the Apostle Paul borrows these exact same words and applies them not to Christ, but to us? He applies these same words to us, God's elect. Listen to what he says in Romans 8:33-34, he says, this should sound very familiar to you, this is Romans 8 now, not Isaiah 50, "Who will bring any charges against those whom God has chosen?" That's the elect. "It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus who died, more than that was raised to life, is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." All of this honor, and security and protection that we have in our forgiveness comes from Christ's atonement and resurrection because we are in His exaltation.
We are in Christ, and therefore we are at the right hand of God in Him, and we are protected and no one can accuse us and therefore, there is now no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, that's awesome. And so His resurrection is our vindication. It says in Romans 4:25, "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification." It's an interesting verse because it links our justification to Christ's resurrection, not death there. And so, we are vindicated completely by Christ's resurrection, and that's awesome. So, to sum up verses four through nine, we have presented very clearly for the first time in Isaiah the suffering of the servant. He's perfectly obedient to His Father, He knows the word that sustains the weary and he doesn't hide his face from mocking and spitting or his back from beating. This is the suffering servant.
III. A Key Question: Will You Listen to the Servant or to Yourself? (vs. 10-11)
Now we are brought to a fork in the road in the text. The key question for you, who are you going to listen to? Are you going to listen to the servant of the Lord, as He speaks to you, or will you listen to yourself? Those are the options. So look what he says in verse 10, "Who among you fears the Lord, and obeys the word of His servant? Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God." So it all comes down to this, do you fear the Lord and will you listen to his servant as he speaks to you? As his servant, Christ speaks the Gospel to you will you listen to that and be saved? Romans 10:17 says, "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message and the message is heard through the word of Christ." Christ is speaking the kingdom to you, he's speaking forgiveness to you, he's telling you to repent and believe the gospel. Mark 1:15, "Will you fear the Lord and listen to his servant?"
Apart from Him, we are walking in the dark. Apart from Him, we have no light, apart from Him, we're lost, we're in sin and we need a savior. Do you know this to be true of yourself? If so, God's already worked grace in you, he's already shown you who you are. Come out of darkness into the light of salvation. Jesus said in John 8:12, when Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, "I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but have the light of life." Colossians 1:13 says, "He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us over into the Kingdom of the Beloved Son." Rescued from darkness.
So listen to the word of the servant and come, or, you can do verse 11. And what does verse 11 say? "But now, all you who light fires and provide yourself with torches, flaming torches, go, walk in the light of the torches you have set ablaze." Go ahead and do that, go ahead, light your own fires, walk by your own lights, walk by your own wisdom, figure it out on your own, don't listen to the servant, don't walk in the light of Christ, just do your own thing, be confident in your own righteousness, say, "I don't need a savior." I saw a bumper sticker about two months ago, that said, "Born right the first time." Wow, immediately it was like a slap in the face, but not for me. Whoever put that on was slapping their own self in the face. You must be born again. But this person said, "No, I don't need that, I don't need that, I'm fine." So, this text is odd in that it's commanding you to go ahead and do that then. "I'm going to give you over to it, go ahead and walk in the light of your own torch. Go ahead and figure it out on your own, go ahead and save yourself. This is what you'll get from my hand. You will lie down in torment." That's the final word of Isaiah 50, it's a warning to us. I can't read this except to hear Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."
So what should we do with this text? Well, can I urge you, be very, very careful how you listen to the Word of God. Jesus said that in Luke 8:18, "Consider carefully how you listen." Your soul depends on how you listen to God's Word. Remember the parable of The Seed and the Soils? Are you the rocky soil, the hard soil, are you the thorny soil, or you're the good soil, what are you? What do you do when you hear the word of God?
Secondly, thank God that Jesus obeyed, listened to the Father on your behalf, thank him for that, worship him during this Christmas season, Oh, believer, Oh, Christian, just say, "Thank you for listening to the father for me, for my salvation. Thank you that in you, no one will bring any accusation against me. Thank you that I'm free from condemnation, I'm free from Satan standing to accuse me, I'm free from that. Your vindication has become my vindication. Thank you Jesus, thank you for that."
Thirdly, have a quiet time, like Jesus did. Can I just use a how much more argument? If he needed a quiet time, how much more do you? He wasn't messed up, like we are, we're messed up. We could argue we needed even more than he did, but he had them even better than we did. So very early in the morning, a great while before dawn, am I pinching on you a bit here? A great while before dawn, what would that be about 5:00 AM? A great while before dawn? Okay, when it's quiet, when it's dark, when there's no one going to bother you, have a quiet time. Get the Scripture open and listen like one being taught, like Jesus did. And don't be merely a hearer of the word, but like Jesus in verse six, do what it says, even if it hurts you, even if it costs you something.
And if I can just plead with you if you're here outside of faith in Christ, if you're lost, can I just plead with you not to walk in the light of your own intellect, in your own salvation, in your own righteousness? Can I plead with you to take that torch you lit that you consider your own guiding light and throw it down into a bucket of water or into the ocean and say, "I am lost. I'm lost. I don't know what I'm doing, I don't know where I'm going. I don't know what's going to happen to me when I die, I need a savior. Jesus, be for me the light of the world. I need your light." Call on Him and He will save you.
Don't leave here in the darkness. And finally let's be willing as a church, to suffer, to not hide our face from mocking and spitting and beatings, for the sake of the gospel. Let's be willing to evangelize lost people. There are people surrounding us every day like the person who put that bumper sticker on the car, people surrounding us thinking these thoughts, they need a savior. And they are among the hardest to reach on earth, because they've heard it so many times. We are here to reach them. Let's be willing to suffer as Jesus did, lower level, but let's be willing to suffer.
Let's be willing to suffer financially, what Kurt said, "Let's sacrifice financially, as never before, for the sake of missions." Let's not know that there are brothers and sisters fully-trained ready to go, but they're not going because of funding. That might actually be the clearest application of 2nd Peter 3, "Looking forward to the day of God, and speed it's coming," how? Give money because those folks will be unleashed and unreached people groups will hear. Let's walk in the light of the Lord, as He's given it to us in the scripture, close with me in prayer.