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December 23, 2021 3:00 am
Most children to child at heart. Christmas morning can't get here soon enough. It's not easy to wait to unwrap a gift. We really want or something. We need and yet that's exactly what God's people today on Truth for Life. Alister Bragg examines the eager anticipation of those who spent their whole lifetime waiting for God's promise. Our series is titled a child is born. Isaiah chapter 9 and verse one. Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who where in distress in the past, he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles. By the way of the sea along the Jordan, the people walking in darkness have seen a great light on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarge the nation and increase their joy.
They rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest as men rejoice when dividing the plunder for guys in the day of Midian's defeat.
You have shattered the yoke that burdens them the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. Every warriors boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning will be fuel for the fire fertilizer child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of peace of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this gracious God, what we do not know teachers what we do not have give us what we are not make us for the glory of your son's sake, we pray. Amen. Now the first seven verses of Isaiah chapter 9 are vying for is one of the clearest and most meaningful prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, Jesus. Isaiah writes in his own time as his own man, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit as Peter tells is in his letter and in the confusion and uncertainty which marks the time of Isaiah. He is enabled to describe the coming events with a certainty that speaks of completed action, and as we noted in our very first study we will quickly go wrong if we don't understand this. If we don't recognize that what will happen is described by Isaiah in terms of what has happened and he uses for those allies who are interested prophetic conflicts in the original, in order to make that point. But since we don't have the original.
We need to be told that the very terminology and phraseology and verbiage that he uses allows the reader to understand that although these are events are yet future. He is absolutely convinced under the guidance of the Holy Spirit that what will be is in some realistic sense already. The reality and the people. He says that we have been walking in darkness have seen a great light. This metaphor of darkness and light runs all the way through the Bible and the picture of darkness is a picture are not only of the circumstances of the people here in Isaiah's day, centuries before Christ, but it is a fitting picture of the circumstances of each of us by nature. As men and women either rebellious by nature passively just indifferent to God himself in the Bible explains that we find ourselves in the dominion of darkness by our very nature, and the only way that we would ever be in the kingdom of light is a result of our coming to trust in the one who is himself the light, but we run ahead the darkness into which the light has come is aptly described at the end of chapter 8 you will remember there from verse 19. And on the people in Isaiah's day were looking for answers in all the wrong places. Verse 19 when men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists who whisper and mutter as observers of course what men and women are told to do today. This is not something that is away 600 years before Jesus is as up-to-date as your newspaper this morning where and some of you may be tempted to read your horoscope and look to those who may be able to whisper and mutter to or read your palm or go up the stairs in a darkened room and look at a crystal ball and so on all that has been going on for ages and the people were engaged in it. They were looking for answers in all the wrong places.
It was indicative of their darkness and they were intrigued by information, but they ignored Revelation as verse 22.
The law and to the testimony is pointing to that he saying this is where we should go to God's revelation of himself and he says if they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. This is the only source of light.
All the rest is darkness and instead of looking warily onto Luke they look either to those who are blind guides or they look in upon the earth, as if the earth itself would produce the answers and in verse 21 and 22 we find them as distressed and hungry, and despairing and angry and it is into the Shadowlands is aware of oppression and of arrogance and of despair that this light shines another thing that is so wonderful about it and I hope this is come across to visit certainly struck me this year with renewed forcefulness lies in this that when the individuals then subsequent to then and now look for this source of deliverance. Look for the one who is able to liberate to break the bar of oppression to set them free to burn their warfare weaponry and the close of the soldiers, the uniforms of arrogance and tyranny when they go looking for that answer. They find the face of a child peeling back at that and when you read through here and come to verse six.
It is only our familiarity with it that stops us from being completely bowled over the Midian circumstance gives indication of the defeat that follows the burning of the boots and the garments, and so on, and why is this. Well, he says, for to us a child is born, that the answer to oppression to warfare despair. All the darkness in all of the sin is not found in a concept that the Bible urges us to understand but is found in a Christ of the Bible urges us to trust and in this Christ in this Messiah is light and that light was the life of men. Now the child with four names as we considered him and his names are there in verse six is a child is born to be king. His kingdom is different from any other kingdom is going to establish his government and peace.
His principles will be the principal's verse 7B of righteousness is procedures will be marked by justice so that is not going to establish a kingdom by the force of imperialism or the force of tyranny.
He's not going to beat back oppression with oppression. He's not going to overturn the coercive arrogance of the proud dictators of the world. Why is it were taken them on at his own game, but actually this king is going to come meek and lowly in heart, writing not on a white charger, but actually on a donkey on the colt of a donkey into Jerusalem and the peace that he brings his lasting and the kingdom that he establishes will never come to an end that to see what makes this so enigmatic and so profound. Where is there ever been a government that is establish peace that will not end search in vain through the annals of history where might we look for a king who will emerge and rein in justice and righteousness from this time the beginning of his reign, and then whatever. There is no king that reigns forever, that we can find in the in the history there is no establishment of peace that is everlasting and eternal in its significance.
Save this piece and this king know that by way of introduction, I have three words together.
Our thoughts, the first word is expectation.
The second word is fulfillment in the third word is application expectation. These verses that we have become familiar with some of is almost knowing them all by heart.
Now are in keeping with the rest of the Bible that are in keeping with the rest of the Old Testament, and I know that to go where I'm about to go is to go down pathways over which some of us have trod routinely and I certainly don't want to weary you by this, but I also want to remind myself what it is I'm supposed to be doing and this is what the Bible expositor is supposed to be doing at least in part, opening up what for others is closed, making plain what is obscure unraveling what is noted and unfolding what is tightly packed course we all read the Bible by ourselves.
Of course we got a home Bible study groups, we can help one another and we can read concordances and indeed if that were God's purpose there would be no one like me, and I would be out of a job and so would my colleague, but the Bible tells us that the ascended king Jesus has given to the church gifts that he is given to the church and in that collection of gifts he has provided pastor teachers those who would be the shepherds under the shepherding role of Jesus those who would be the teachers not of their own ideas of the Bible. So the people taught by them would become people who learn the Bible so well that he would know at any point when their teachers began to deviate from the truth.
That's the objective. It is an easy thing to take what is clear in the Bible and for the person in my position to make it very unclear for everybody in the pew that's not a spiritual gift that's a great concern and what we need to be praying about is this that God would give is increasingly the ability in our study and in our proclamation in our listening in our understanding in our trusting and in our believing to come to it, possessed of a clarity which the Bible itself owns. So let me just give you a little background. A quick rush through the history of the Old Testament on this matter of expectation.
I'm not going to turn to all the references because it will be tedious, but the first book of the Bible Genesis ends with this expectation. At the end of the and indeed in the 49th chapter of Genesis where the blessings of Jacob are extended to his sons.
He says concerning Judah that the scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, then there's not a.
But a coma, and he says this will not happen until he comes to whom it belongs. So the reader knows that there is going to become somebody to whom belongs the scepter and this rule and this rain, but we don't know who it is at this point you turning to the next book of the Bible and into Exodus you go 15 chapters to the song of Moses after the great deliverance Miriam's sisters playing the Tamarine and Moses is saying and he has a jumpstart on the hallelujah chorus and in the 15th verse of Exodus 15 you find that Moses is singing the Lord will reign forever and ever and your exams into Miriam's sister hey play the tambourine a little louder and this this is terrific sister post on the tambourine and says what is it mean Moses, that the Lord will reign forever and ever is is you and are really friendly. Don't have much of a clue, but I do know that he will reign forever and ever will just have to wait and see. But that is our expectation station. Remember that the book of Judges and means the very end of the book of Judges and in those days Israel had no king and everybody did what they wanted.
Everybody did what was right in their own knives and the inferences in the expectation of the people was if we can get a king. Maybe we can fix this. We like to have a king, despite the fact that it was a lack of faith because they already had a king in God. God acceded to their request and gave them kings, but even the best of the kings were magnet. Saul was magnificent, but he failed politically. David was incredible, but he failed morally.
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, and yet he fail religiously. His many wives turned his heart away from God. So now the people who wanted a king and got the king of the best of gangs find themselves saying we don't just need a good king. We need a perfect king someone said to his friend Aurelia are going to get a perfect king so I don't know but I have a sneaking suspicion that there might be one because there has to be something better than this and what you find when you read the Old Testament is that the expectations of the people finally outgrew the ability of any mere mortal to fulfill when they conceived of the kind of king that they would need to realize that when we put together the profile if you like the job description, the character requirements and they looked around they said there has never been there is not and that is apparently not going to be anyone that will fulfill our expectations and that consistent expectation of the Old Testament became an urgent expectation and the closer you get to the end of the Old Testament, especially since the people.
By this time are aware of the promise that God is made to David that through his lying there will be an eternal and universal king who will come strange in an enigmatic statement in two Samuel seven. You can read it on your own for homework.
The people said that car. Apparently God spoke to King David and he said that there would be somebody come from the line of David and the king that would come as the son of David, would would rain universally and eternally house that she does expectation zero is important to be students of the Bible and all students of the New Testament of the whole Bible because easy if you come in on the second act of the drama, you don't know the characters are in the play. If you stay in the first act.
You know the characters. But you don't know the why we need to read our Bibles in the New Testament clothier the Old Testament closes with this unanswered question and then there's the silence of 400 years in the inter-testament will. What was going on. Of course we don't know because we have nothing written down, but we know from secular history.
The people went about their business. Babies were born and people got married. Religious people did the religious things pagans worship the earth. Life went on people came people went people died, generations, generations go and there would be those who were devout, waiting expecting a king. They would tell their children who were aware of the fact that life was not all it might be listen Ruben listen Levi listen Ruth God has promised. He promised King David that he will send a king who will rule and reign and free us from oppression and tyranny in all these things and the children said and when will that be and the father said I don't know, and the father died and the boy became the man and the man became the father and then the grandfather and the grandchildren asked the grandpa and the grandpa gave them the same story and the grandchildren begin the grandfather and the generations pass and all of that posting urgent expectation builds virtually to a fever pitch until you find yourself in 63 BC with the the overthrow of all of the Jewish world on the Roman occupation holding these folks in absolute subjection, and as a result of that, the bars in the areas perhaps our king will come.
Perhaps the one who is to come the Messiah will come perhaps he will come even today that teaches to fulfillment because when you read on the Bible and you get to the beginning of the New Testament you find exactly what you would expect. Now it comes out in Luke's gospel in a very helpful way, know that it doesn't in the other Gospels but I have always been struck by Luke chapter 2 many of you are like me, have known this since you were a small boy in the in the days of Caesar Augustus in those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that is not how it was in the King James version. It was more grand than that in the days of Caesar Augustus decree went out into all the earth that all the world should be taxed in each one came to his own city or whatever it was I was even as a small boy I thought you know this is not something that happened away in a corner. This is not this is not some speculative philosophical notion, this Christian thing has roots. This Christian thing is verifiable in relationship to secular history itself because Caesar Augustus has nothing to do with the unfolding drama of redemption. He doesn't lie there is aware in the lineage of David, but he is a marker and quite really is is a marker and so the Luke who sets out to carefully investigate to talk to the eyewitnesses to write down the story and sit in history. This was the first census that took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria and everyone went to his own town to register. Mary probably said you know Joseph I you know I don't awaken his newest senses here in Nazareth, white what what you want about Nono Mary, we have to we have to go up to Bethlehem a wider estimate of Bethlehem forgiveness and I would have a baby and it is no time for going to Bethlehem he could. Can you fill it out here and to send it out there know we must go to Bethlehem doesn't mean anything to anybody. In reading the Old Testament is cinders and what that's about. Bethlehem, but anyone reads the Old Testament was Bethlehem.
The demon Bethlehem. That's where Ruth was.
That's where she was in the fields of barley take longer than the data that among the fields of barley that was that was Ruth.
And that's when Boaz fans either an ice right around where the narrator and that's when they became the great-grandfather of David, that was where David lived after the sheep the same fields where the shepherds are now found. Now you read. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house on the line of David did to them to do them to than that of the hundred seat is his building and putting in the background music now is beginning to build a sense of expectation and is it any surprise, then, that when the Angels make their announcement to the shepherds in those same fields don't simply to say today. A Savior has been born to you, but they say today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, increasing the sense of expectation even in the in the muddy years of the shepherds who with their heritage would've caught something of this here then is the fulfillment which gives rise to my favorite Christmas Carol know that you care, but it is once in Royal David's city stood a lowly capital ship where a mother later baby in a manger for his back. Mary was not mother mild Jesus Christ. Her little child and then it advances the member when it finishes, and our eyes. At last show. See through his own redeeming love for that child Sumit and gentle is the Lord in heaven of expectation fulfillment. It was a long awaited announcement, a Savior has been born your listing to Truth for Life with Alister bag with part one of a message titled, he will reign forever. Alister concludes this message tomorrow.
We were reminded today that the answer to the darkness we face in our lives is found in Jesus. He is the light of the world.
It's this message that fuels our mission of Truth for Life we want to teach the Bible clearly so God's word can do God's work in the hearts of those who listen.
We also intentionally select books to help you and your family grow in your faith today were recommending a book that will help deepen your prayer life book is titled piercing heaven prayers of the Puritans. It's a collection of prayers written by men like Jeremiah Burroughs Matthew Henry, the prayers have been slightly updated for easier reading. There are more than 200 players in this book and they make a great resource for you to enhance your own prayer time impact this is a book you may want to give as a gift to a friend to start the new year, or book, you'll donate churches like cluster copy of piercing heaven. When you give to Truth for Life find it online the Truth for Life.org/donate or tap the book image of the mobile above Lapine. Our offices are closed today so our team can spend Christmas weekend with their families, but Alister returns tomorrow to conclude today's message. If Jesus is the eternal King. Why don't we see the effects of his reign. Now find out more tomorrow. The Bible teaching of Alister bag is furnished by Truth for Life Learning is for Living