April 4, 1999, Easter, posted, April 15, 1999.
I had a message all ready, but I had to change it this morning. I used this text just a few months ago, but I feel I should use it again. There is someone here today who needs what they text says. You may be a visitor or someone who grew up in this church. But this is for you.
You all know by now that this is probably my favorite Scripture. You can tell that because I use it so much. Of course, no how much I use this text, it can never be exhausted. And I will use it many times again. Personally, I cannot study this text too much.
While I was an associate pastor in Louisiana, the Lord dealt with me Saturday morning, October 29, 1977. The next day, Sunday morning, I had to teach the adult class of about 100 people. Before Sunday School started, I went over to the pastor's office in the parsonage, and asked him to pray for me. He did. That morning, for some reason, we were in Isaiah 53. I was unable to read the passage for the class. This morning again I feel strongly there is someone here that needs the message of this passage.
Let me just call your attention to a few simple points from this wonderful passage, which is often called, "The Gospel according to Isaiah." We will not have time to deal with the complete passage.
Who hath believed our report?
Isaiah here tells us that out of the many who hear the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, very few will receive the preaching of Christ -- few will believe the gospel message. Christ put it like this: For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:14.
and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
Isaiah tells us that no one can believe the gospel unless God touches the heart through his Holy Spirit. Though Christ did many miracles, he was still crucified. The people did not believe his claim that he was God.
Christ put it like this: No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:44.
Do you have the slightest desire to be right with God today? I DID NOT ASK how long have you been around "Christianity." I ask, "Do you have the slightest desire to be right with God today?"
Genuine Christians are amazed that people do not believe the gospel, and we should be greatly distressed that the gospel is not received. We should express our distress to the Lord, that he would reveal his strength to the lost.
There was nothing in Christ that appeals to the unsaved. The unsaved see Christ and his gospel a lot to do about nothing of any importance --- everything is more important to the unsaved than Christ.
There is NOTHING IN REAL CHRISTIANITY that appeals to the sinner. In fact, just the apposite. The sinner sees Christianity as a burden to be born if one is to avoid hell. One of the most devastating things that has happened to Christianity in our life time is that it has been compromised to appeal to sinners.
THE SPIRIT MUST MAKE CHRIST AND THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION APPEALING TO SINNERS. Man cannot do that without incurring the anger of God.
as a tender plant.
The eternal, almighty God became a weak and frail man. But he did not become a man of worldly importance such as a powerful king. Because he was not a powerful man in the world's sight, he was rejected by the world:
Mark 6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
So it is also with the kingdom of God on earth. To the natural eye, it appears weak and helpless, yet according to Daniel 2, it will grow and flourish in God's good time.
He was despised and rejected of men:
John 18:40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.
John 19:5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! John 19:14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! John 19:15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
V 3, notice that Isaiah describes the normal attitude of men toward Christ:
Despised -- regarded with contempt.
Rejected -- or refused, ignored.
Then we see some things Christ endured:
Sorrows -- both physical and emotional, mental pain.
Grief -- physical sickness or illness, calamities of all kinds. It was pictured especially in the Old Testament as leprosy. We have no record of Christ being physically ill, so it is interesting here that Christ is mentioned as being acquainted with grief.
God in the flesh, Christ, encountered every infirmity and temtation that you or I might go through. It was all in God's plan for the comfort of his people.
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Despite what Christ suffered for me, I hid from Christ. Though I was an associate pastor of a large Baptist church in Louisiana, I was just like the average unsaved person until the Spirit of God revealed him to me, v. 1.
EASTER -- this is a time we remember that Christ was despised and rejected by men. Though he always did good and never did anyone wrong, he was rejected by men, falsely accused and nailed to a cross to die.
Isaiah 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Notice v. 4, Christ was punished for the sins of his people. But people saw Christ as smitten of God because of his own sins before they were shown the truth by the Spirit of God. In other words, the suffering Christ did had no effect upon them until the Spirit spoke to them.
V. 5 is the gospel in a few words.
Transgressions means sin, rebellion against proper authority, particularly God's authority.
Iniquity means faults, mischief.
We know we are not perfect. That knowledge in the back of our minds leaves us with guilt. Whether we want to admit it or not, the guilt is there. We may cover it up with good actions, even religious actions, yet the guilt is still there.
We might be enjoying going our own way, but the guilt is still there, down deep inside.
He was wounded for our transgressions.
Wounded here literally means pierced, as Christ was pierced in his hands, feet and his side.
Bruised means to be crushed, oppressed, beat, broken. (The Old Testament saints who read this passage understood its meaning in the terms of the sacrificial lamb being slain for sin.)
Chastisement means instruction or correction.
Stripes means wounds, bruises, blows.
We have rebelled against God, and we know down deep we deserve punishment.
When Jessica was a small child, she could not keep gum out of her hair. So we told her, "No more gum." We left here with a family in the church while we did something else, and they knew the rule of "no gum." Jessica, however, went to the bathroom and chewed a piece of gum. Many years latter, she told us that she was scarred to death that she would get caught by the family she was with or by us, and she would get a spanking.
She had rebelled against our rules, and she had a very guilty conscience. She knew she deserved to be punished, so she never told us about it until it was past the spanking age. The problem was not the gum, but that we told her "no more gum."
Christ was beaten in our place, for our sins. Christ took the punishment for our sins upon himself. He suffered in our place. He satisfied the righteous requirements of God's law, which requires eternal death for sin.
1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Peace is a well-known word that needs no defining -- when we have a fight with someone we love or a close friend, we are very ill at ease around them. But when we make things right, especially if we were the ones in the wrong, we then have peace both between the two of us and in our own spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Do you have the slightest desire to be right with God today. I DID NOT ASK how long have you been around "Christianity." I ask, "Do you have the slightest desire to be right with God today?"
Christ took upon himself the punishment for the sins of his people. By grace through faith you can become one of his people.
You can be one of his people, come to him and you will have the benefit
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