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December 27, 2021 3:00 am
The it's not uncommon for people create a God of their own design a God whose purpose is to grant their every wish, but a man-made godlike that offers little comfort when our circumstances are overwhelming today on Truth for Life. Alister Greg helps us see God for who he is, continue our series a child is born is Alister part one of a message titled the seal of the Lord everything to read from Isaiah chapter 9 beginning at verse one returned to Isaiah 94 the seventh and I think the last time at least within this present series. Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were 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 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 US people rejoice at the harvest as men rejoice when dividing the plunder rise 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 book used in battle and every garment rolled in blood be destine 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. Amen. When the angel came and visited Mary and made what was a quite startling announcement concerning the fact that she was going to give birth to a son that his name was to be Jesus concerning the fact that he would be great would be called the son of the most high, that he would reign on the throne of his father David and over the house of Jacob forever. Mary displays her humility, her honesty, her intense practicality by answering what might be regarded as the obvious question how will this be how will this be how is it possible that the things that you angel have said concerning what is conceived in me will be fulfilled in the way that you have described in much the same way as we come to the end of this prophetic passage in Isaiah chapter 9 and as we come to the final sentence of it. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this, we are at the end of one of the more startling and dramatic messianic prophecies that Isaiah gives us is told is that a child is to be born that this child will establish a kingdom that unlike any other kingdom.
This one will never end. He will be the Prince of peace and his peace will prevail is to be the king who will end all kings.
No one will come after him is in need of no successor. No one is going to come along and say I think we can improve on what is being done because no improvement will be necessary. No improvement will be possible and what is being prophesied here by Isaiah is propelling its way through the story of redemption. History till finally we get to the place where Paul summarizes the expectation and the phraseology in one day at the name of Jesus every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father. It is that kind of deep-seated conviction which provides clarity in our proclamation, which gives to us a spirit of boldness hopefully tempered by humility so as to be able to speak into our generation words that are quite staggering to the ears of men and women and when we feel enabled to do so to speak to those who are in authority over us to confront is aware of the structures of our day, of the political structures in the financial structures all of the structures of our day with news of this amazing Prince of peace, and we find that we stand on the shoulders of those who've gone before. Just this week in receiving the gift of a new copy of that Calvin's institutes which were written in the 17th century as a theological structured guide and visit devotional help. I read for the first time the letter that Calvin wrote to the king of France, Francis the first in 1636, providing him with a copy of this theological tone that he had written and he wrote to them as follows your duty most serene Prince is not to shut your ears or mind against the cause involving such mighty interests as these. Then he outlines the mighty interests how the glory of God is to be maintained on the air, how the truth of God is to preserve its dignity how the kingdom of Christ is to continue among us compact and secure. The cause is worthy of your ear worthy of your investigation worthy of your throne, the characteristic of a true sovereign is to announce that in the administration of his kingdom. He is a minister of God, he who does not make his reign subservient to the divine glory. Acts not a part of a king but of a rubber now.
What possible conviction would possess Calvin as a theologian to write to the king of friends in such a way except that he recognizes the truth that is contained in the final sentence of the seventh verse of Isaiah chapter 9 the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this because when we stand back from Isaiah's portrait and review something of his vastness, then I think that if we are honest, we find ourselves asking the question, Mary asked, namely how will this be. It's as though Isaiah anticipates that question in the mind of the reader and so he answers it. Before there is further because for a long and he recognizes that these events that he has described will not transpire in the ordinary course of affairs for all of this to take place, it will demand the Lord Almighty variously translated the Lord of hosts this Almighty God, who is the God of unbounded power, who is the God of unlimited resources. It will need him and his zeal to accomplish all of this and that is exactly what Isaiah declares the zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this it when I put it in common parlance, it's as though God speaking through his prophet says to his people. Don't worry I will see to it. Don't worry I will see to it and in the sit in the sense that those of us have enjoyed errantly fathers who were able to pronounce such things and then to come good on their promises. We've had just a little inkling of God's fatherhood and ability to make sure he sees sees things through. So, for example, maybe your dad like my dad was would always tell me no more. I will wake you up. There is no need for you to set your alarm, I will be happy for you and I will wake you for all the years I had and I never ever had to set an alarm because he always did what he promised to do, he would see to all kinds of things in my life and earthly fathers and mothers of done the same as is represented in this congregation, and in a Far Greater Way, God the Almighty God, the Lord of hosts, the one who comes in the passionate commitment to the exercise of his purposes speak through his prophet and he says don't worry I will see to it. Now what remains for us is not a study in 3D, as in the artistic world, but a study in 3D's and I have three D's for you in relationship to the zeal of the Lord Almighty. First of all that zeal define then that zeal displayed and then that zeal discovered. First of all their lives trying to find our terms. It is important to define things because without definition we can pour into words any kind of meaning we want a tall, I know that is contemporary as a philosophical speculation and it works fairly well when people are just engaging in late-night philosophical ramblings, but it doesn't really work when you're trying to pinpoint your place on a map in terms of coordinates nor in terms of transatlantic flight, nor in terms of microsurgery and it certainly doesn't work in terms of theology. What then is the zeal what we need to understand that zeal and jealousy in God are two sides of the same concept.
God is both zealous and jealous. Indeed, we might say that God is zealous because he is jealous and the reason he is jealous is because he is love, and both his zeal and his jealousy in marriage from a heart that is compassionate and devoted this kind of love is a love that will brook no rivals and it's the love that is provoked by disloyalty, we will immediately go wrong. If we start to think of jealousy in the terms of our human pettiness. The kind of envy that resents what another has an once it just because we don't have it. Nothing could be further from that which is revealed here the jealousy of God. The seal of God is that which displays a desire to protect and to provide to protect and provide for those who are the objects of his law.
If we want to argue from the lesser to the greater or trying to send out to get a picture of what we are referencing we might think in terms of the unwillingness of a wife to share her husband's affection with another wouldn't possibly be a mark of fidelity and monogamy to be prepared to share the affections of your spouse with someone else. Any by any wife or husband worth their salt wants to guard zealously and jealously the affection of the one who has become the object of their love. There is no surprise in that it is a corrupt and unstable mind. It is an immoral posture that deviates from that. In any dimension tall.
If we don't go there.
Perhaps we can go to the protective love of a father for his daughter who protects with the zeal and a right jealousy, the owner of his daughter in every place in amongst all people.
This is my daughter. You may not say that offer is my daughter.
You may not treat her that way.
I am absolutely passionately committed to her to her protection to or provision and to her honor.
Every father worthy of the board. Father understands that when we go from the lesser to the greater and then we look to God who is the epitome of fatherhood who is if you like the great bridegroom preparing his people as a bride for himself and you realize the extent of his zeal and his life and he is zealous for his own honor and for his own glory and he is allowed to be because he's good reason that many of us have trouble with the idea that God protects his own honor and glory and provides for it is because we want to be God and there is only one God and that is why the chief end of man is the shorter catechism tells us chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. Now it is in this realm that zeal is if you like, then a component of true love and certainly a component of God's covenant love because God loves unreservedly, those who are the object of his affection. He is zealous in his provision and protection of them. He is jealous in the way in which he guards them. Because ultimately through them he gets glory to his name and he is concerned, ultimately, for his own glory. Secondly, let's go on and see how this then is displayed, how should we view this as being displayed. Let me suggest to you in two simple ways. First of all that we see the zeal of the Lord Almighty displayed in God's plan or in his purpose, or in his will. We can use those words interchangeably. The zeal of the Lord Almighty displayed in his planner in his will in Ephesians chapter 1 Paul reaches back before the creation of the world when he thinks in terms of God's will, or his purpose or plan any speaks about the eternal councils of his will.
You can actually see that if you turn to Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 440 chose us in him before the creation of the world and the reason this is important is because it makes it very clear to us that this plan of God in redemption is not something that he executed in time in order to correct the defect in the system is not as though he was the CEO of a vast Corporation and the stock took a dramatic late on a Friday afternoon and he fired a few people on early Monday morning and rearrange the various departments in order that he could go on the phone to Wall Street and tell them that really that they the object of that of the next few months was very very clear and defined in the changes that have been made at that have been introduced to correct what is been a very faulty problem. I will now unfolded in a way that will restore the stock to its it is a place of honor and significance no is nothing like that or tall. It is not the were introduced to a plan that is executed in a moment in time to correct something that is gone wrong, but rather we are told that it is a plan that is established in eternity to achieve a purpose which cannot be gainsaid not in time to fix a defect, but in eternity to achieve the purpose.
I don't want to belabor this but I want to show you three verses if your Bible is open and it should be in verse five, first of all, you will notice that he says that he's doing this in accordance with his pleasure and will. God's pleasure and his will, interwoven the purpose there in verse six, you will see is to the praise of his glorious grace in verse nine and he made known to us the mystery of his will notice again. According to his good pleasure. It is again which he purposed in Christ, and he was going to put that into effect, he says in verse 10, when the times of reach their fulfillment, and then in verse 11 in him we were also chosen, having been predestined according again notice to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.
In other words, God's covenant love is at the epicenter of his plan for the world.
God's covenant love is at the very center of his plan for the world that I think is why so many of us love to read John 316 isn't it for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.
That's in the very heart of the plan and purpose of God and God's design and his zealous commitment.
His passionate commitment of your life for zeal is ardor. Zeal is passion is passionate commitment to his people is such that even when things seem most wrong. He remains absolutely inevitably unclenching Lee committed to fulfill what he is purpose. The hymn writer puts it ill that he blesses is our good and unblessed good is ill and all is right. That seems most wrong if it be his sweet will. You see, we have to always revert to.
I will see to it.
I was seated, and the journey of the Christian is essentially the journey of discovering increasingly the reliability. The trustworthiness of the fathers promises so much so that we are able then to encounter that which runs in the crosshairs. Is it where to what would seem best and if you doubt that you need only to read the Bible and go back and start from the beginning and read it all the way through and you discover that the unfolding plan of God is an expression of his zeal, so let's take just one illustration you can read about it in Genesis 45 as homework when Joseph's brothers are finally made aware of the fact that the encounter that they've been having with this individual.
The representative of the pharaohs is none other than an encounter with their own brother. You remember that their reaction is one of fear lest he punishes them. It's one of sadness in relationship to their guilt because after all they were the ones who conceived of the plan to put them in the pit they were the ones who can hide the notion so that they could take the deceitful story back to his dad and now they stand before this individual and he says to them ego I meet it is me. It is Joseph, I'm Joseph. And as they weep under troubled.
What is he say to them, it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. Don't be troubled was Joseph doing Joseph was recognizing in the most dire circumstances.
The fact of God's plan in the 60s, Jimmy Phillips, you paraphrase for as the New Testament wrote a book entitled your God is too small and he wrote it to the church and eroded the church in the 60s. To say you know our conception of God is so limited he could never have conceived of how small the guard is in contemporary evangelicalism, a God who exists to meet our needs. A God who exists to fix our finances a God exists to do all these things for us, as if somehow or another you are a genie and all we had to do with rubbish tonic and it is not out in the environment of paganism that we see so much the disfigurement of the God of the Bible.
It is within two contemporary ranks of the church that is so patently obvious, because as soon as everything goes counter to our desires.
As soon as something doesn't fit the way we plan it will immediately pop up in arms because our God is too small God's love is at the very core of his eternal purpose for our lives, even when our plans go drastically wrong listing to Alastair Begg and this is Truth for Life. Having a limited view of God actually cripples our faith meant. One of the reasons why our mission the Truth for Life is to teach the Bible every single day. Our goal is to keep our messages clear to show how the Bible's instruction is relevant to like today in our prayer is that God will use Alistair's teaching to reach people who don't know Jesus, to build up believers in their faith and the strength of local churches.
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