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Sermon #14                                                                                                                                                                                                 Isaiah Series

 

Title:                           Man Humbled God Exalted

 

Text:                            Isaiah 2:17

Subject:                     God’s Determination to Slay Man’s Pride

                                                             And Exalt the Glory of His Grace

Date:                          Sunday Evening — November 6, 2016

Readings:     Rex Bartley and Mark Daniel

Introduction:

 

The religion of the world is calculated to make men and women feel good about themselves. Preachers everywhere call upon those who hear them to stand up and be counted. Churches and preachers bow and scrape before men to make them feel important, valuable, and needed. People like to be recognized, so they give recognition to them for just about anything.

Š      First Time Visitors

Š      Father’s Day

Š      Mother’s Day

Š      Youth Day

Š      Women’s Day

Š      Men’s Day

Š      Deacon’s Day

Š      Pastor Appreciation Day

 

People like to be honored, so churches and preachers invent some way to honor people every week. People like to have a good time, so they co-ordinate activities to show everybody a good time. People like to be pampered, so preachers spend most of their time wiping noses, washing wounds, and mending fences. They call it “pastoral counseling.” But the job basically is that of an expensive baby-sitter for immature men and women whose god is too weak to help them.

 

Even the doctrine of the religious world is calculated to dignify the flesh and give man a sense of power, goodness, and self-worth.

Š      The will of man is made to be sovereign and omnipotent.

Š      The works of men are made meritorious.

Š      At best, salvation is set forth as a co-operative effort between God and man — but (in the minds of people who do not know God) the whole work is determined not by God, but by man.

 

Turn to the 2nd chapter of the Gospel according to Isaiah — Isaiah 2.

 

The religion of the world, the religion of man, the religion of antichrist is man centered, man exalting, and man pleasing. The religion of the Bible is exactly opposite. Hear the words of God by the Prophet Isaiah, as he describes what happens in the day God saves a sinner by his almighty grace — “The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:17).

 

Proposition: It is God’s purpose in all things to humble the pride man and exalt the glory of his grace in Christ. — And you may be sure of this: what God has purposed he will bring to pass.

  • Man shall be humbled!
  • And God shall be exalted!

 

Sooner or later, by one means or another, either in mercy or in grace, God will humble every child of Adam. Sooner or later, God will break your pride and mine.

 

In all his works of providence up to this day, if you analyze the pages of history, you will see that God has been causing the loftiness of man to bow down and the haughtiness of men to made low. Spurgeon once wrote…

 

“If any man should say to me, ‘What is God doing?’ I would answer, ‘He is lifting up the lowly, and he is casting down the proud. He seemeth always to be engaged in this, as though it were his natural work, and he delighted in it.’”

 

Men build their nests among the stars. God tears them down. Then he stoops, in the almightiness of his mercy, love, and grace to lift the beggar from the dunghill to set him among princes, even the princes of his people.

Š      God knows how to humble the proud — Nebuchadnezzar!

Š      And he knows how to get honor to himself alone — Pharaoh!

 

Throughout the history of man, since the fall, this is what God has been doing. And he will continue his work until at last the haughtiness of men has been driven out of the world, until there is no place in the universe for any majesty, except the majesty of the King of Kings. Yes, there is a day coming when, under the canopy of heaven, “The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted.” In that day, when God has thrown down the high looks of men, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess, in heaven, earth, and hell, “That Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God.” — “The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day!

 

Day of Grace

 

But our text is talking about the day of grace particularly. Isaiah is describing what God does in the hearts of his elect when he saves them by his grace. There is a day appointed when God will save each of his elect. — “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day!” Isaiah seems to be obsessed with this matter in this chapter (vv. 10, 11, 17, 19, 21). Would to God that every preacher in every pulpit in the world were this hour obsessed with the humbling of man’s pride and the exaltation of the glory of God’s free grace in Christ!

 

(Isaiah 2:10-11) “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. (11) The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.”

 

(Isaiah 2:17) “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.”

 

(Isaiah 2:19) “And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.”

 

(Isaiah 2:21) “To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.”

 

I pray that for some of you the day of grace has now come. Oh, that “the fear of the Lord and the glory of his majesty” might grip our hearts this hour, that “the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted” in our midst!

 

Divisions: With as much brevity as possible, I want to show you that God’s method of saving sinners by his sovereign grace in Christ is designed to humble man and exalt the Lord our God alone.

  1. The purpose of grace is humbling to man and exalts God.
  2. The revelation of grace in the Gospel is designed to strip men of all pride and self-righteousness and exalt the Lord alone.
  3. The experience of grace in salvation humbles man and exalts the Lord alone.
  4. The distinction of grace in the judgment will lay all flesh low and exalt the Lord alone.

 

The Purpose of Grace

 

1stGod’s eternal purpose of grace is humbling to man and exalts the Lord God alone in the glory of his majesty. Natural men rebel against Divine sovereignty, denounce predestination, and ridicule God’s immutable purpose of grace. Proud men can never rejoice in a sovereign God, because the fact of God’s sovereign purpose robs man of all possibility of adulation.

 

God’s purpose of grace presupposes the fallen, ruin, lost condition of all men. God’s covenant was made in anticipation of the fall. Redemption was planned in anticipation of man’s ruin. The Lamb was slain before the world began in anticipation of man’s sin.

 

Anyone who acknowledges God’s sovereign purpose of grace in Christ must also acknowledge man’s total depravity and inability by reason of personal depravity and sin. God, from eternity, devised a way to deliver men from the pit, because men, from eternity, were looked upon by God as a race fallen into the pit of destruction (Job 23:34). God made an everlasting covenant of peace, securing pardon and life for his elect, because men were looked upon by him as a race of transgressors and a seed of evildoers (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

 

(Jeremiah 31:31-34) “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: (32) Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: (33) But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (34) And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

 

God’s purpose of grace is humbling to man because it is an unconditional, immutable purpose (Romans 8:28-30).

 

(Romans 8:28-30) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

 

Nothing in God’s covenant and purpose of grace is, in any way, determined by, dependent upon, or conditioned on anything in man.

  • God’s love is unconditional and immutable.
  • God’s election is unconditional and immutable.
  • God’s purpose in predestination is unconditional and immutable.
  • God’s gifts and callings of grace are unconditional and immutable (2 Timothy 1:9-10).

 

(2 Timothy 1:9-10) “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

 

The whole purpose of grace is to exalt the Lord God alone, in the Trinity of his sacred persons (Ephesians 1:3-14).

  • The Father’s purpose is “to the praise of the glory of his grace” (6).
  • The Son’s purchase is “that we should be to the praise of his glory” (12).
  • The Spirit’s performance is “unto the praise of his glory” (14).

 

In God’s purpose of grace, “The loftiness of man (is) bowed down, and haughtiness of men (is) made low: and the Lord alone (is) exalted.”

 

The Revelation of Grace

 

2ndThe revelation of grace in the Gospel is designed to strip men of all pride and self-righteousness and to exalt the Lord God alone.

 

Chemists have a means by which they test water for acids and alkalines. It is litmus paper. When it is dipped in water, if the water has acid in it, it turns red. Now, here is a litmus test, by which you may test and prove every doctrine and every preacher you hear. — If the doctrine you hear causes your face to glow with pride, it is not of God. Anything that lifts up man, anything that lowers God, is not of God and is not the Gospel. The Gospel of the grace of God abases the flesh and glorifies God. Let me show you how it does this.

 

The Gospel of the grace of God is always addressed to men and women as sinners. —             Grace is never given to good men. Mercy is never promised to righteous people. Christ came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Matthew 1:21; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 1:9). —— Thomas Wilcox was exactly right when he said, “Christ came to save everybody except the self-righteous.”

 

If you are not a sinner, there is nothing in the Gospel for you. But if you are a sinner, I have good news for you.

  • The Lord Jesus Christ died for sinners!
  • The Lord Jesus Christ saves sinners!

 

Your sinfulness will never keep you from Christ. Only your “goodness” can do that. Your sin will never keep you out of heaven. Only your righteousness can do that. In Christ…

Š      There is pardon for the guilty!

Š      There is a robe for the naked!

Š      There is bread for the hungry!

Š      There is water for the thirsty!

Š      There is rest for the weary!

Š      There is grace for the needy!

Š      There is cleansing for the dirty!

Š      There is help for the fallen!

 

But there is nothing in the Gospel, not one word of good news, for the good, the great, and the righteous.

 

The Gospel is addressed to sinners who are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3). — Talk about helpless! What is more helpless than death? Talk about hopeless! What is more hopeless than death? Talk about obnoxious! What is more obnoxious than death? There is not a complimentary, dignifying, honorable word between the covers of the Bible to fallen man. If you want a picture of humanity, as the Bible describes man, you must go to the cemetery, dig up a coffin, open the box, and look upon the rotten, decayed body of corruption. The Gospel of Christ is addressed to men and women who are dead in trespasses and sin. — Until Christ gives you life…

  • Your works are dead works.
  • Your religion is dead religion.
  • Your doctrine is dead doctrine.
  • Your faith is dead faith.

 

Another humbling revelation of the Gospel is the fact that the sinner’s only hope of salvation is the finished work of Christ, the sinner’s Substitute (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 1:29-31; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21). Our works, good or bad, have nothing whatever to do with salvation. Salvation is the gift, the free, unconditional gift of the grace of God, bestowed upon helpless, hell-deserving sinners by the merits of Christ.

  • Christ is our only Righteousness.
  • Christ is our only Redemption.
  • Christ is our only Acceptance. — “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
  • Christ is our only Sanctification.

 

(Romans 6:23) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

 

(1 Corinthians 1:29-31) “That no flesh should glory in his presence. (30) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

 

(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

 

The Gospel calls upon us to look to Christ for everything —

 

            Illustration: The Brazen Serpent

 

And here is another humbling revelation of the Gospel. — Even the will to look to Christ and be saved by him is determined and given by God (Romans 9:16; Psalm 65:4).

 

(Romans 9:16) “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”

 

(Psalm 65:4) “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.”

 

No sinner will ever come to Christ of his own “free-will.” Those who come know, and gladly acknowledge…

 

                                    ‘Tis not that I did choose Thee

                                    For, Lord, that could not be;

                                    This heart would still refuse Thee

                                    Hadst Thou not chosen me.

 

The Experience of Grace

 

3rdThe experience of grace in salvation humbles man and exalts the Lord God alone.

 

Holy Spirit conviction is a humbling experience (John 16:7-11).

 

(John 16:7-11) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. (8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (9) Of sin, because they believe not on me; (10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; (11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”

 

Repentance is a humbling experience (Psalm 32:1-5).

 

(Psalm 32:1-5) “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (2) Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. (3) When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. (4) For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. (5) I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”

 

Conversion is a humbling experience (Luke 14:23-35).

 

(Luke 14:23-35) “And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. (24) For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. (25) And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, (26) If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. (27) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? (29) Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, (30) Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. (31) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? (32) Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. (33) So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. (34) Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? (35) It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

Faith in Christ is a humbling experience (Matthew 7:13-14).

 

(Matthew 7:13-14) “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: (14) Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

 

            Illustration: The Rich Young Ruler

 

And, perhaps more than anything else, the most humbling experience we have is the fact that the grace of God does not change, alter, or improve our old nature. Grace gives us peace, pardon, and life eternal. Grace gives us hope, joy, and righteousness. Grace gives us a new nature, a new hope, and a new will. But grace does nothing to change our old nature (Romans 7:14-24).

 

(Romans 7:14-25) “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. (15) For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (16) If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. (17) Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (19) For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. (20) Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (21) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. (22) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: (23) But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (24) O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (25) I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

 

  • We grow in grace; but our growth is humbling to man and honors God alone. — We grow by grace.
  • We persevere in grace; but our perseverance is the work of God’s grace (Philippians 1:6; John 10:26-30).
  • Even our blessed times of communion with Christ are humbling to us and exalt our Lord alone, because he will not allow us to leave him (Song 5:2).
  • All that we experience of chastisement and affliction is humbling to man, but exalts the Lord alone (Hebrews 12:5-11; 1 Corinthians 12:1-10).

 

Illustration:              The Shepherd Breaking

                                          The Lamb’s Leg

 

The Distinction of Grace

 

4th The distinction of grace in the Day of Judgment will lay all flesh low and exalt the Lord alone.

 

When I at the gates of heaven appear,

To answer the challenge,

“What claim hast thou here?

What hast thou to offer?

Yea, what is thy plea?”

With blessed assurance

My answer will be, —

All that I have is Jesus,

All that I claim is Jesus,

All that I want, All that I need,

All that I plead is Jesus!

 

Of all earthly treasures

Nothing I’ve brought;

No deeds of merit

Have I ever wrought.

Though vile and unworthy

As mortal could be,

I’ve nothing to offer

But this is my plea, —

All that I have is Jesus,

All that I claim is Jesus,

All that I want, All that I need,

All that I plead is Jesus!

 

My sins, they are many.

I’m vile through and through!

The blood of my Savior

Will carry me through.

When Christ in my place

Died on Calvary’s tree,

Hallelujah, He opened

God’s Heaven for me.

All that I have is Jesus,

All that I claim is Jesus,

All that I want, All that I need,

All that I plead is Jesus!

 

Application

 

(1 Corinthians 4:7) “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”

 

(Revelation 5:9) “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation!”

 

(Psalm 115:1) “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake!”

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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