The sermon starts at the 10:40 mark. Soli Deo Gloria!
Welcome to episode 49 of the Reformation Roundtable podcast. My name is Joe Stout, and it is my pleasure to bring to you the audio from our Lord’s day service that took place on June 6th, 2021. Reformation Roundtable is a production of Christ Covenant Church. In Centralia Washington. We are reformed and evangelical church that have now been planted. And we have just had a glorious Lord stay service. It was our third Lord’s day service.
So we are a brand new, but we are excited. We’re excited for what the Lord has in store for us. If you’d like to join us for Lord’s day worship or join us with the other things that we’re doing in the Lewis county area, please go to Lewis county.church. Please enjoy the sermon.
Our meditation in preparation for worship this morning comes from Psalm one 30 verses seven and eight oh Israel. Hope in the Lord for, with the Lord. There is steadfast love. And with him is plentiful redemption, and he will redeem Israel from all his Iniquities.
Pray with me,
Father, we ask that you would prepare our hearts for worship this morning. We want to worship you in the beauty of holiness. Prepare us now for this glorious event we ask in Jesus name. Amen. Please rise with me. As we worship the triune, God, grace and peace to you from God. The father, son and holy spirit are called a worship. This morning comes from Psalm one 34 behold. Bless the Lord. All you servants of the Lord, who by night, stand in the house of the Lord, lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord.
The Lord who made heaven and earth bless you from Zion. Lift up your hearts. Pray with me, father in heaven, you are a holy holier than any of us can possibly fathom. So holy that even Moses needed a veil to protect those around him, from the leftover reflection of the glory that you bestowed upon him. When you pass before him, it is into this holiness that you have called us and we’ve come. We know we don’t belong here based on our merit.
We know how dirty we are. We know how unfit for your holiness, our sin makes us. And yet we are here anyway, as we come into your presence and lift up our hands in the sanctuary and bless you, we do so only because of the perfect and complete work of Christ. Our king fought the dragon in our place and cast him down from on high. He has plundered the strong man’s house and set us free. And so we stand in your presence, reverently and boldly because your son king Jesus has made this possible.
We wouldn’t dare approach your throne as we boldly do. Now, if it wasn’t the victory of the cross, thank you for sending a Redeemer to set us free from Satan so that we might serve you in all things and in worship. Now we thank you for the great honor of coming before you in worship and the name of Jesus who reigns with you in the holy spirit. One God world, without end. Amen. Please turn your bullets into the hymn. Immortal, invisible God only wise.
Amen. Please be seated. When God made the world. One of the first things he did was plant a garden and put a man in it. This garden was in the east, in the land called Eden, and it was here that he placed every tree, every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. This classification included two, especially important trees, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
God then gave the man work to do tend and keep the garden. He provided him with a wife in marriage and he provided for that couple, every one of their needs. He said of every tree of the garden you may freely eat. And then he also gave one, count it one rule of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You shall not eat or in the day that you eat of it. You shall surely die. This tree. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not a bad tree.
It was pleasant to the sight and good for food. Like the rest of the trees, God planted. However God said something special about this tree. God told the man Adam, to refrain from eating the fruit of this one particular tree. Why did he do this? Why not make it impossible for Adam to not be able to sin? It seems like a bee make everything a lot easier now, but I believe Adam was calling out. I believe God was calling Adam toward growth and maturity.
Adam needed to trust God and to exercise self control. And one day we got a speculate here, but it seems almost a certain, a, a certainty that one day God would have given him that food to eat. God was growing the fully grown, but still baby immature Adam into a mature and kingly man who would trust him, obey him and act like the son of God, the king that he was when he had reached this point.
I think it likely that God would have given him the additional glory and responsibility that comes with the tree of knowledge. If you remember Solomon, the one thing he asked from God, the one gift was the knowledge of good and evil, to be able to know the difference between good and evil. That was the thing that Solomon wanted. That was the thing he desired. If Adam could only wait, he could that as well. I remember as a kid thinking to myself, well, if Adam hadn’t sinned, someone would have eventually it was really inevitable, but this isn’t true.
The garden like our temporal lives now was temporary. And Adam was it’s covenant head. It was to him that the law had been given. And to him that it had been entrusted. If Adam had resisted this temptation, obeyed God and cast the serpent out of the garden, we would never have been cast from the presence of God. We would never have been cast from the garden. As we of course know, this is not what happened.
Adam failed to protect his wife from the deception of Satan. And instead for suck his faith and self control for the fleeting pleasures of sin, he was then cast into the wilderness to scratch his living from the dust of the earth. The very stuff he was made of, it would be thousands of years of darkness and desolation before he knew Adam would come. This new Adam would be, would begin first in the wilderness where he would be tempted in every way, man has ever been tempted.
And yet he would overcome the second Adam would then be placed in another garden. This one called gets Semini a reversal of the curse where he would be tempted by the serpent. And again, would over come. He would cast this serpent out and crush its head. This second, Adam Jesus Christ led the way and was victorious and is therefore our example in our fight against temptation, we cling to the good news that we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help him in time of need to love God is to obey him. We don’t obey him to find favor. We obey him because we already have his favor. We don’t obey him to become sons and daughters of the king. But because we already are his sons and daughters, we of course this week have failed miserably at this obedience to his law, which is what reminds us to confess our sins.
So as you are able, please kneel before the Lord with me
Falling followings from Psalm one 30 verses one through six out of the depths, I’ve tried to you a Lord, Lord, hear my voice lecturer ears. Be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If you will, a lower should in marketing activities. Oh Lord, who could stand, but there is forgiveness with you that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits and in his word, I do hope my soul waits for the Lord. More than those who watched in the morning. Yes, for them. Those who watch with a morning, you pray, Lord, we cry out to you from the depths, from the depths of our sin and misery.
We cry to you please. You’re always, we have a rediscovery sin against you in thousands of ways, in a thousands of times during this past week. And we asked for your forgiveness Lord in the works of the flesh are far too deep. As far too often creeping into our lives in trying to throw you from your throne. We are tempted and fall outwardly. And in our hearts to adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions heresies.
And we worders drunkenness revelries Lord. We confess these things to you and as a do not mark such a big equities against us, but what instead remember remembering covenant to us that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. We ask you to forgive us. Not because it is possible for you to tolerate sin, but because Jesus has already settled the debt on our behalf, we have a call on the name of Jesus. And we ask that you remember your promise to us in Christ. We now confess our own individual sins to you.
Now, instead you ask a lot of this and a good name of Jesus. Amen. Amen.
Please rise for the assurance. Here are the following promises from scriptures, knowing that he who raised up the Lord, Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus and will present us with you. Therefore we do not lose heart even though our outward man is perishing yet in the inward man, it is being renewed day by day for our light affliction, which is bud for a moment is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
People of God hear the good news. Your sins are forgiven through Christ. Thanks be to God. Our text this morning comes from Isaiah 61 verses one through three. Hear the word of our Lord. The spirit of the Lord, God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted to proclaim Liberty, to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn to grant those who mourn in Zion to give them a beautiful headdress.
Instead of ashes, the oil of gladness, instead of mourning the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit that they might be called Oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. They shall build up the ancient ruins. They shall raise up the former devastations. They shall repair the ruined cities. The devastations of many generations let’s pray.
Father. We are thankful for the text that is before us. We ask that you would eliminate it accurately and send your spirit so that we might be truly changed by the power of your revealed word. We ask this in the name of Jesus, the incarnate word. Amen. So before we enter into this glorious passage from Isaiah, and if you’ve got your Bibles, that’s Isaiah 61 verses one through four. Before we enter into that, I’d like to set the scene for the significance of this part of scripture.
After his glorious baptism in the Jordan river, our Lord Jesus was tempted in the wilderness in every way imaginable. He was tempted with hunger, with fear, with a desire, with pride in all of these temptations, he fought the devil using scripture and he and was ready for his ministry to begin. He was victorious over the devil. So he’d been baptized his victory over Satan was fresh. And following this victory in the desert, we are told what he did next.
So put your finger in Isaiah 61 in turn over in your Bibles. If you’ve got them to the gospel of Luke chapter four, chapter four, starting in verse 14, you got it. so Luke four, starting with verse 14 here, we read that Jesus returned in the power of the spirit to Galilee and news of him went out through all the surrounding region.
And he taught in their synagogues being glorified by all many translations. In fact say that he was praised by everyone. In other words, Jesus was getting off to a very good start. He was saying the right things and turning the right heads. It was at this point that Jesus came to his hometown of Nazareth in found a very different crowd waiting for him. Continuing in verse 16, we read. So he came to Nazareth where he had been brought up and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read and he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah.
And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written. Jesus, then proceeds to read the first half of the very passage. I just read you from Isaiah here. It is again, this is the words of Jesus. The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim Liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at Liberty. Those who are oppressed to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Then we’re told that he closed the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down.
And the eyes of all who were in a synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say the, to say to them today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. I’ve chosen this passage from Isaiah 61 because it is the text Jesus chose as his first recorded sermon. This sermon really took, make people sit up and take note. In fact, this first sermon he preached first one that was recorded, a ended near the ended with him being thrown off a cliff.
And since this is my first sermon at Christ covenant, I considered a personal ministry goal to preach and such a way that people either confessed Jesus Lord in our encouraged in their faith, or they try and throw me off a cliff. So I’ve chosen this passage because we here at Christ. Covenant church are just beginning on what I hope is a multi-generational mission of spreading the fame and glory of king Jesus throughout Lewis county. We belong here and we will be long here.
I’ve chosen this passage because it’s so clearly lays out what Christ has done is doing and will continue to do. And how this reality will transform us from children of wrath, into sons and daughters of the king. So if you will, let’s turn back to Isaiah 61 and we’ll, we’ll dig in verse by verse. So the text begins with the spirit of the Lord. God is upon me. That first part that we have that phrase, Lord, God, almost, you would almost think it’s like redundant, but we know this well.
First of all, we know that since this was originally written by Isaiah, a prophet of the Lord with the anointing of God’s spirit on him, we know this to be a true statement. Even if Christ hadn’t applied it to himself, Isaiah declares the spirit of the Lord, God, this, which is like the sovereign ya’ll way or the sovereign Jehovah. This God sent his spirit upon Isaiah. This type of Christ is prophet. This means that ultimately the spirit of the Lord, God sovereign Lord is on Christ himself.
Now we know this occurred visibly during Christ’s baptism. The spirit of God literally descended upon Christ following his baptism in a form of a dove. And then the voice of God, the father declaring this is my son in whom I’m well pleased. So you have all members of the Trinity present that Christ baptism Christ has a spirit of the Lord, God upon him. And therefore what he says and what he does obviously should be of utmost importance to us. The text continues. It says because the Lord, because y’all way has anointed me to bring good news to the poor Christ is the Messiah.
In fact, Christ means Messiah, which Messiah also means anointed one. So there are three kinds of people who are anointed in the old Testament, prophets priests and Kings Jesus is all of these. He is the ultimate anointed, the ultimate Messiah. He is the perfected prophet, Elijah, the courageous and renewed high priest, Aaron. And he is the new and better king. David Christ is the fulfillment of the type and shadow that these men and many others represented to be anointed or consecrated is to be anointed for a specific task.
In this case, Christ has been anointed for something. What is that something well it’s so that the poor or the afflicted might have the good news preached to them. This is why, or at least one of the reasons why he was anointed as Christians. We also are anointed with the holy spirit and we are set. And POS Paul says we are set unto good works in Christ. We’re annoyed with the holy spirit and set unto good works in Christ. So our anointing is for something, takes a, someone.
Paul tells us we are anointed with the holy spirit so that we can do something. We can do the good works that had been prepared for us. For, for us in Christ. We like Christ can carry. We can bring, we can serve this good news to the poor and to the afflicted. And that doesn’t just mean physically poor. Although it certainly does. It also can mean poor in spirit. The world is a hurting place and we have the good news. So let’s continue the next part of verse one. We’re still in verse one.
Next part says he has sent me. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted to proclaim Liberty, to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. So to bind up the broken hearted is really a beautifully poetic way of saying to heal those with broken hearts, broken heartedness is a condition, right? That has plagued mankind since the fall in our lectionary readings. We didn’t read it today, but, but if you read through the lectionary readings, you’ll see in Genesis three, that immediately following their sin, both Adam and Eve are what, they’re a shame.
And they’re hiding from God. As our first parents broke fellowship with God, their hearts were broken too. They were ashamed in hiding and they were quick to blame others. Broken-hearted people are not pretty. This is a I’m in a romantic view, a broken heartedness, broken hearted. People can be vicious and ugly in their sin. Imagine as well. The broken hearts of both Adam and Eve, when their son Cain, bludgeoned to death, his own brother, Abel, these parents lost two sons, all sons in the same day.
That would be a couple of broken hearts that needed Hume. However, it’s important to note that this healing only takes place. It only takes place on those hearts that are broken, not because of their hardness, but because the spirit has wounded their conscience. You know, we, we, Christ talks about being the cornerstone and those people who fall on the cornerstone and a broken, but those who have the cornerstone fall on them are crushed. Christ came to a pose.
The hardhearted, he came to a pose. The proud if you’re a broken heart is full of bitterness in pride. Then Christ is the rock on which you will find yourself crushed. But if you’re a broken heart is full of longing to be comforted by the king. Then I have a good news for you. Take heart. Bless it are those who mourn for they shall be comforted Christ. The Messiah, the anointed one has also come to proclaim Liberty to the captives during his ministry, Jesus would proclaim in the gospel of John.
That quote, if the son sets you free, then you are free. Indeed notice here that it’s a proclamation. It’s something he’s saying freedom from something starts with a proclamation of freedom. Only after you are declared free. Are you able to then be free? If somebody breaks you out of prison, but you actually belong there and you get caught, you’re going to get sent back to prison. You first need to be proclaimed free. Christ comes in proclaims our freedom.
He comes and opens the prisons in which we find ourselves bound to be free. One must first believe he has been set free. Indeed. It has to start with faith. We don’t want to be like the elephant. I heard about it as a kid back in the before times, when you could enjoy things like circuses without being called names and having your banking privileges revoked back in those days. I remember hearing about how these circus elephants, a, the keepers and these circuses would train the elephants to drive their own stakes into the ground, to which the elephant would then be tied.
It was, it was fascinating. The elephant would be holding a stake in its trunk that was connected to a chain. And that chain was connected to a banned around its leg with a trainer would lead the elephant to the area where he wanted it to be confined. And, and then he’d motion to the elephant to plant the state. This enormous beast would then hold a steak, perpendicular to the ground and step on it with its foot, drive a stake into the ground where the elephant would be tied up. And he was tied up there. He was bound until the circus was over.
And the funniest thing was that when it was time to pack up and leave, the trainer would motion to the elephant to grab hold of the steak and pull it out of the ground. And the elephant would do. And it would be a, it would be a piece of cake. You just pull it right out of the ground. See the elephant believed he was a captain. It never believed it was free, even though it could have pulled the steak out of the ground at any time. So Jesus came to proclaim Liberty to the captain and to the opening of the prisons, to those who are bound. Do we really believe this to be true? Do we really believe Christ has set us free?
That he’s really us free from our captivity, from our slavery, ask ourselves that, do we really believe he has set us free from our greed, our lust, our pride or selfishness? We should, he declared it. So, and we should be like the father in John chapter five. If you remember this, this father in John chapter five, you don’t have a turn there, but he’s, he’s desperate for Jesus to come to his house. He wants him to physically come to his house and heal his son. His son is on the point of death and his father is desperate. And Jesus rebukes everybody that saying there.
He’s like, unless you see a sign you won’t believe. And the man said, please just come, come and heal. My son and Christ said, go, your son is healed. What did that, what did that father do? Did he say, no, I need you to come. I need to see with my own eyes he’s he believed God. He believed God. He went home and he found that at that moment, his son had been healed. And so that’s what we need to do. Even though we may want Christ to do something for us that we can see with our own eyes. We have to just believe him at his word.
John Calvin said, we are prisoners and captives until we are set free through the grace of Christ. And when Christ wishes to break us under our chains, let us not refuse. The grace that is offered to us. Let’s move on to verse two, verse two starts with, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God. Here, we have a paradox of sorts. Christ has come to proclaim the year of you always favor while simultaneously proclaiming his vengeance.
If you don’t know what a paradox is, a paradox is a statement that seems on the surface at least to contradict, but upon further inspection, it actually Reveal’s a deep truth. The fact is that when Christ came, he was ushering in both the Lord’s favor and his vengeance all at once. He came not to condemn the world, but to save it. John, the Baptist calls him the savior of the world. And in Matthew four 16, the prophecy of Isaiah describes the coming of Christ.
As the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light. And for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death on them, a light has dawned. In other words, glorious things are happening in the year of the Lord’s favor. The year of the Lord’s favor is upon us arise, shine for your light has come. And the glory of the Lord surrounds you. And yet, and yeah, at the same time, much of the ministry of Christ was devoted to calling the scribes, the Pharisees, the prostitutes, the adults were as the liars and the hypocrites to repent of their sin or what or face the wrath that was to come much of Christ ministry was spent prophesied in excrutiatingly accurate detail.
The outpouring of God’s wrath and judgment that was to come upon the Jews within that generation judgment for their apostasy, for the rejection of the Messiah and for their killing of the prince of glory. The destruction of Jerusalem in 78 was quite possibly Christ’s most public and accurate prophecy. And while Jesus did stop short of reading this part of Isaiah as relating to himself, there is no question that in the comm that with the coming of Christ, that it brought both salvation and favor, as well as vengeance and wrath.
The last part of verse two says to comfort all who mourn Jesus promised us that those of us who mourn are a blessing, because we will be comforting to be comforted is a blessing that can only come to those who mourn. When my son William was just three weeks old, he was with an eye Elizabeth and I were told that he suffered from a rare skull deformity that would not allow his brain to grow unless the doctors first completely shattered the fuse sutures in his skull and remolded his entire head into the correct shape.
This was devastating news for us, not only because he was a brand new baby boy with a potentially life-threatening condition, but he also had a violent surgery ahead of him. And that was going to hang over our head for at least a year before you finally, before you finally could have the surgery during this time that we waited his surgery, Elizabeth and I mourn, and we were comforted. In fact, the evening we found out the news, we wrote the following to our family, asking for prayer. And we specifically asked that we would walk through this darkness, knowing that our creator is leading us and that the light of the gospel is stronger than the shadows.
This prayer was answered in a glorious way. We experienced tremendous comfort over the next 12 months while we waited his surgery, we, we experienced tremendous comfort when the surgery came in, as he fully recovered from the surgery, he’s just a normal, a little boy. It looks totally normal now, but we would never have been blessed with this comfort unless we were first made to mourn and pour out our hearts to Christ so that he might bless us to be blessed with comfort means going through the valley of the shadow of death.
In theory, no evil for God is with us. He’s with us, comforting us along the way. Let’s move on to verse three. Verse three says to grant to those who mourn in Zion to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness, instead of mourning the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit. So at the end of verse two, we are promised comfort for all who mourn. Now at the beginning of verse three, we are promised that the Lord’s Messiah will give beauty to those who mourn in place of ashes to be a first century Chu in here, Christ promises, promises that you are blessed.
If you mourn. We likely to be a pretty bizarre thing. The Jews practice putting on sackcloth and ashes when they were mourning the sackcloth and ashes, they did this to make the, both their appearance and their physical bodies filled and miserable. They were showing how filthy and miserable they were to be mourning was the opposite of beautiful or a comforting. You were covered in ashes and not beautiful. You recovered in sackcloth, which was horrible. The uncomfortable you are, neither beautiful nor comforted in a way, God is promising that the Messiah would bring both.
Instead of the misery of ashes, they would get a beautiful headdress or a Garland. Instead of wretched morning, they would receive the anointing oil unto what unto gladness. They would be anointed under gladness and instead of a faint spirit, or as Jesus says in Matthew 1220, a smoking flax, the Messiah would wrap them in a garment of praise. Think about that one. That one especially gets me. How often do we feel that a faint spirit, that where our heart is, our spirit is just kind of smoldering.
There’s just a barely anything going, the, the feeling that your courage is pretty much fully spent, perhaps at the end of a long discouraging day, maybe it’s during a particularly dark season of your life. Everything seems wrong in discouragement is deep. Our spirit is faint. It’s barely even smoking hanging on to that wisp of life. The very last thing we would expect to be given in the midst of this sorrow is a garment of praise to be figuratively wrapped in a divinely, inspired him from God to have a heart that is filled with a new song unto the Lord.
This is the wildly kind and unexpected gift that the Messiah brings his people glory to God. Verse three continues. It says that they may be called Oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord that he made be glorified. We now approach a tree. The main points in this passage up until this section a verse three, we have seen, or we hear rather what the Messiah is doing, what he’s proclaiming while he’s proclaiming Liberty to the captives, what he’s bringing, he’s bringing good news to the poor, what he’s healing, he’s healing, the broken hearted, what he’s granting, he’s granting comfort and beauty to those who mourn.
That’s all what the Messiah is doing. Now at the end of verse three, we see why he is doing all of this. You come to the wife, people are clearly us. We’re clearly a bunch of needy buckets. We are a mess. We need him to do everything. So why is he going to all this trouble? The answer was right there in front of us. It’s so that we can bring him glory. God has decided to call us and to plant us as Oaks of righteousness. He is calling and planting us to be like the man in Psalm one.
If you, if you have your Bibles turn with me to Psalm one, In Psalm one, a God is obviously it’s the beginning of the, of the, of a little Bible as Luther called it. The, the salt is a, a 150 songs, but in Psalm one, God is telling us what, how to be a man or woman or, or a boy or a girl. How are you can be a blessing how you can truly have the blessing of God, how you can truly be happy.
He says, blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stands in the path of sinners nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord. And in his law, he meditates day and night, he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither and whatever he does shall prosper. So that’s from Psalm one.
And it’s telling us that the man who carefully follows after the law of Yahweh will be like a tree of righteousness that will not wither because it’s been called and planted next to a stream of a stream. We could even say of living water. This is the man, the woman, the boy, or the girl who was lost in the Messiah, came to seek and to save and to call an Oak of righteousness, but see carefully what the text says back in Psalm, in Psalm, in Isaiah 61, unlike Psalm one, Isaiah 61, doesn’t eat it.
Doesn’t say that we will be like hopes of righteousness. And it doesn’t even say that if we accept these good gifts, we will become Oaks of righteousness. It says in Isaiah 61, that the Messiah is proclaiming and bringing and healing and granting wonderful gifts so that we might be called Oaks of righteousness. The planting of the Lord y’all, we will be known for planting us. It’s entirely his work it’s for his fame alone. It’s through his sovereign hand that we find ourselves the planting of the Lord, and it’s for his glory that we have been called and planted following our inaugural a worship service a few weeks ago, a each member of a price covenant church was given an Oak tree along with this passage from Isaiah 61 that we have been studying.
Many of these Oak trees were a well, they are a tiny, some of them are a little more than a stick in a pot of soil, but if planted in the ground and carefully tended and guarded one day, these sticks will be glorious trees that bring glory to God in a very real way, all creation, proclaims the glory of God. Well, we are those trees, but far more so because we bear his image that Oak tree does not. But each one of us is a puny stick in a pot of soil, small and frail on our own.
But with the calling and planting of the Lord, we will be called mighty Oaks of righteousness. And finally, we get to the pinnacle of what God is doing. He’s doing all of this so that he might be glorified. We have been called and planted so that we might bring glory to God. Now, the translations differ on the capitalization of that word. He, at the end of verse three, some, some capitalize it and some don’t. So it wasn’t clear in the amount of time that I spent studying this, whether the, he refers to the man unto whom he’s being planted and being called an Oak of righteousness, or whether it’s the glory is, is for God.
It really doesn’t matter though, because I think it’s far more likely that it’s referring to God’s glory, but to be called and to be planted as an Oak of righteousness is to be glorified. So it could go either way. So some translations capitalize the H some don’t either way it’s already established in the previous chapter of Isaiah. If you go back one chapter to chapter 60, and we look at verse 21, you’ll see the future glory of the church was prophesied there.
And it all becomes very, very clear. It says your people shall all be righteous. They shall possess the land forever. The branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. That’s God talking about his people. So God works all things for his own glory, just as a husband and father is proud of his wife and children, and is therefore glorified by their presence. So our father in heaven seeks his own glory by raising up his people from the loneliness of our sin and making us into a Royal priesthood, Kings and priests unto him.
We glorify God when he draws us out of the Myrick and sets our feet upon the rock of Christ. Think about that. We get to glorify him just by being saved. Hey man, a catechism that we teach our kids from as early as they can talk. And it goes like this, it’s, it’s really three questions who made you God, what else did God make? All things? Why did God make you a note? All things for his own glory. Yeah. I’m going to say something that we might be tempted to just nod along with and not actually really believe something that if considered in its totality is going to sound too good to be true, but we must believe it.
Well, those reconciled to God, through the blood of Christ and walking in the power of the spirit for those chosen by God, before the foundations of the world, to be his elect unto salvation. For those of you calling on the name of the Lord, Jesus as king and as Lord, God is proud of you. He delights in you. He is crazy about you. Well, there is nothing we have done to earn this unmerited favor of God. God, nonetheless is rejoicing over us with loud shouts of singing.
And he does this because he is glorified by us. Turn your Bibles to Zephaniah three 17, a you can find Zephaniah toward the end of the old Testament. It is the fourth book from the end. It’s only three chapters long. It’s easy to miss group three chapters long. They say three or four, three chapters long while you’re turning there. A I’ll set the set the scene a little bit. It says the, at this time when Zephaniah was a was written, the chosen of God, the chosen people of God were of course, the nation of Israel.
And they were incredibly faithless to him. They just, they were doing everything wrong. They were doing nothing right and everything wrong, worshiping bale Malek, and doing others, shameless things Zephaniah says. And so most of the book of Zephaniah is focused on a terrible day of the Lord, which will bring destruction to the ungodly and the godly and the Jews included. However, at the end of the prophecy, the following promise is made to God’s people. Indeed is glorious, starting a little bit before a verse 17, sing aloud, a daughter of Zion, shout O Israel, rejoice and exalt with all your heart O daughter of Jerusalem.
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you. He has cleared away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord is in your midst. You shall never again, fear evil on that day. It shall be said to Jerusalem, fear, not a zine. Let not your hands grow a week. The Lord, your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will say he will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you by his love. He will exalt over you with loud singing.
This is how God views his people, even in their sin number. This was given to the people of God in the midst of their terrible sin. He is glorified when he is merciful and forgives our sin. He is glorified. When we resist temptation, when we do the good works that he has set out for us to do, he is glorified. When we faithfully follow him, he rejoices over us with gladness. He is quiet in his love for us, not quiet as though subdued or bored, but quiet in a sense of peace because the entity that existed between us and him has now been erased by Christ.
He’s both quiet and loud singing exultantly over us. He is a father who is proud of his children because they bring him glory. Jesus was very in tune with glory, giving and glory receiving. He knew how important it was. This is the words. Listen to his words. At the beginning of the, of the high priestly prayer in John 17 says, father, the hour has come glorify your son, that the son may glorify you. And then he says, I glorified you on earth.
Having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now a father glorify me in your presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. All things work toward the glory of God. Nowhere is this more true than with the mercy and grace, God shows towards his people. Getting back to Isaiah. We see that we have been called Oaks of righteousness and that we have been planted by the Lord so that we might bring him glory.
Now find the other verse for this is the, this is verse four in its entirety. It says they shall build up the ancient ruins. They shall raise up the former devastations. They shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. So the first three verses we’ve looked at are really statements that we ought to believe to be true. God’s people are having the good news preached to them by the Messiah. And he is fixing us. He’s fixing our brokenness in manifold ways. Amen and amen. Now in verse four, though, we see what happens once God’s people have been pulled out of the Myrie clay and had their feet set upon the rock of Christ.
We see what God promised the church. What has God has? We see what God has promised? The church, we, as the body of Christ, we start to do things verses one through three is all about what the Messiah has done and is doing for us. Verse four says what we do in response to this service of the savior, we build up the ancient ruins. We raise up things that formerly have been devastated. We repair the ruined cities, cities that have been devastated due to the unfaithfulness of previous generations.
God’s people are builders. We are healers. We are gardeners who, who bring and spread good news, Liberty, joy, and praise, because we have been given these things and it’s changed everything. I titled this sermon repair, the ruined city, because all we have to do is look around this city, this county and the cities and towns, it contains. And in it, we see that there is devastation everywhere, ruins all around us, who is counting I’m in his home to nearly 80,000 people.
And the vast majority of them are sitting at home right now, watching TV they’re at work, advancing their careers. They’re sleeping off last night, working in their gardens, doing whatever they want, but they’re not worshiping God. Even if they might check the Christian box on the census form, they aren’t following Christ. Even if they were, where are they going to worship God faithfully, we don’t have enough faithful churches. This so-called a pandemic that we’ve decided to self-destruct over as a nation has revealed just what the churches in this area are made of.
For some, it has been incredibly encouraging. They are made of Sterner stuff and have been shown to be as tough as tree roots, God be praised for those faithful churches. May they, may. They grow and increase for other churches though. The government lockdowns have revealed who they truly fear and the end for a pasta such as that cannot come soon enough. As I said, at the beginning of the sermon, we here at Christ covenant church are just beginning, but we’re just beginning on what I hope is a multigenerational mission of spreading the Reformation in transforming power of the gospel to Lewis county.
I said this at the beginning, we belong here and by God’s grace, we will be a long here we belong here. And by God’s grace, we will be a long here. My dream in prayer is that this first generation of our church would be like the first few pebbles falling from a mountain side that start a landslide of Reformation. That we would be like those in the generations who came before Luther Calvin in boots or the teachers, fathers, and mothers of those great reformers of antiquity by the spirit, we can rebuild the ruins of 19th century, liberalism of 20th century, individualism and 21st century digital or a C.
But we have a lot of work to do our home, our place that we’re devoted to, that I did a two for Christ’s kingdom. It’s overrun with all sorts of sin. It’s overrun with slavery, to drugs, drugs, and alcohol bondage, to pornography, abortion centers, and people who frequent them, who go there for an occasion. Adultery and children born into illegitimacy are part and parcel of this community that were a part of a liberal Christianity, which is no Christianity at all.
Pervasive falsely named social justice movements that promote demonic ideas like critical race theory, sexual perversion, socialism, feminism, and other rebellions. That’s here. That’s amongst our people, the sexual and sale, the sexual sale and trade of the innocent and the vulnerable that happens here. And then just a general apostasy, which stems from self-sufficiency slavery to sin and impotence in our local churches.
I’ve not even begun to name them all. That’s just a few. But what is clear is we have worked to do, Jesus told us to go into all the world to preach the gospel and to baptize the nations, teaching them to do what, to obey his commandments because many of our fathers were faithful to do this. We are here today because many were not. The work will be harder. There’s no need to leave this county to go be a missionary somewhere else. We are desperate for missionaries right here.
My prayers that Christ covenant church could settle into this community. We could be long here. We could settle into this community in such a way that 500 years from now, when all our names are forgotten in all the work we’ve done to plant this church is lost to the midst of time. My prayer is that this church in a multitude of churches that have spawned from it will still be proclaiming good news to the poor Liberty, to the captives in a year, a year of the Lord’s favor. So what do we do?
What tools can we go apply right now? First, I believe the promises of God, about you, about your children, about the power of the gospel, to cast down every ruler from their throne into raise up the lowly, believe it with all your heart and live as though it were true. As we heard in our gospel, reading those who are the brothers and sisters of Christ are those who do the will of God confess those secret sins. Christ has already forgiven. You walk in courage among your neighbors.
Christ has already conquered death. What can man do to you, God, with all your heart, soul, mind, and straight strength, faithful Lord’s they worth it. Worship is vital and key to lasting Reformation. What we believe, what we truly believe will come out of our fingertips. Our orthodoxy will shape our orthopraxy. So believe the promises of God in expect him to use you to use us, to bring in his kingdom.
We are told pray, and David prayed during his prayer that thy kingdom come and I will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Our God is a God of means he uses the willing and the unwilling to accomplish his plans. So B a willing servant, as we seek to convert the nations, specifically the nations of Lewis county, we do this by obeying Jesus husbands, love your wives, wives, submit to your husbands children. Honor. Your parents, employees work hard for your bosses.
Employers treat your employees as you would want your son or daughter to be treated. Sing the songs with Gusto and fearlessness. Be explicitly Christian in everything you do have your devotion to king Jesus. Be the thing that defines you, that defines you in work at home around your dinner table, with your family, with your friends, with your enemies. We want to build an explicitly Christian society, a society where the goodness of God and his law guides and everyone, Christians.
We can all, I only do that. If we are faithful to be explicitly Christian in every part of our own lives of our own society. Now, so let’s be faithful with a little so that God can trust us to be faithful with a lot. This is how we faithfully follow out the chief end of a man to bring him glory and to enjoy him forever. Pray with me gracious. God, thank you for your glorious promises. Thank you for making us a part of your glorious plan. Thank you. That Jesus is the author and the finisher of our faith.
We thank you for your word in the name of Jesus, the incarnate word, amen. We’ve now come to the high point of our service. This is why we’re here. God has called us into his presence and we have come. We have confessed our sins, both corporately and individually, and he has promised us his forgiveness. We’ve been consecrated or sanctified by the reading of his word, offering of prayers of Thanksgiving and petition singing songs and hearing the word preached.
And we have been made more like Jesus. And we are at peace with God through the work of Christ. Now we get to feast. God is quiet with us in his love and is not at war with us any longer. He is offering us bread and wine, which are the components of every piecemeal. We feast on the bread, which is the broken body of Christ. It gives us spiritual strength in our souls. We then are offered the cup of blood, which is the blood of Christ.
The new covenant. This is a potent cup is full of joy, inducing wine, which gives us Shalom peace with God. Since we have a union with Christ through baptism, we are able to have communion with Christ through the bread and wine of his table. This table is not our table. It belongs to Christ. And all those who have been brought into union with Christ through baptism and who are not under the discipline of their local church, should partake in faith. So come and welcome to Jesus.
The charge is this, go back out into the world, expecting the gospel to overcome the world, expect to see God at work in marvelous ways in Lewis county, as we seek to bring in the kingdom of Christ on earth, as it is in heaven, received a benediction from Psalm one 22 verses five through eight. The Lord is your keeper. The Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night, the Lord shall preserve you from all evil. He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out in your coming in from this time forth and even forevermore in the name of the father, son and holy spirit.