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Sermon #29 — Isaiah Series
Title: A Call to Dogmatism
Text: Isaiah 8:20
Subject: Fundamentals of the Faith
Date: Sunday Evening — August 13, 2017
Readings: Josh Peterson and Mark Daniel
I’ve got a message on my heart that’s popping to get out. So, if you will turn with to the 8th chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy, I want to issue a call to dogmatism. That is the title of my message: — A Call to Dogmatism. I issue this call to you, to this congregation; and I issue this call to every man who claims to be a preacher of the gospel. If I could have the ear of every preacher in the world, I would say to them all, “Either proclaim the gospel of Christ with bold, God honoring, dogmatism, or shut up, get out of the way, and let somebody else do it.” I am sick to death of mealy-mouthed, pussy-footing preachers who are scared to death of offending anyone except God!
In chapter 6 Isaiah saw the Lord Jesus, the crucified, risen, ascended Christ, exalted and sitting on his throne (Isaiah 6:1-4; John 12:41-42). With the revelation of Christ, he tells us how he experienced the forgiveness of sins through the Savior’s shed blood (Isaiah 6:5-7). Then, the prophet was commanded to preach the message, the glories of the crucified Christ, until the land was utterly desolate and “there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land” (Isaiah 6:8-12). “Yet in it,” God promised, “shall be a tenth…whose substance is in them…So the holy seed shall be the substance thereof” (Isaiah 6:13).
In chapter 7 we read about a confederacy made between Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the king of Israel. The children of Israel, the ten northern tribes of Israel, who claimed to be worshippers and followers of Jehovah, united with the Syrian, pagans, base idolaters, to destroy God’s elect remnant among them, the children of Judah (Isaiah 7:1). Syria and Ephraim formed a confederacy to stomp out the worship of God and destroy those who worshipped God (v. 2). But the Lord God said to his chosen, “Take heed, and be quiet; fear not, neither be fainthearted” (v. 4). He says, concerning the reprobate confederacy and its determination to destroy God and his people…
(Isaiah 7:7) “Thus saith the Lord GOD, It shall not stand, neither shall it come to pass.”
Without question, all these things were written with historical reference to the physical nations spoken of in this chapter. I understand that. But I understand this, too: These things are written for us, addressing issues facing us, in this day of swarming infidelity and apostasy, when those who profess to be worshippers and followers of God join in hellish confederacy, to destroy God’s church and God’s truth. Multitudes who claim to be unflinching defenders of the truth are quick to compromise the gospel of God’s glory, that they might be accepted by those who hate the gospel. They form a confederacy with the will-worshipping idolaters of the world, to make war against Christ, his people and his gospel.
Š Ian Paisley and Bob Jones
Š Edgar Andrews’ Request
Š Parker, Shepard, and Byrd
Š Gary’s Doctrinal Adjustment
The war is not a war between men and men. It is a war of men against God, against him whose name is Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). — “For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire” (Isaiah 9:5). And you can be sure of this: — Immanuel is going to win this war!
(Isaiah 8:9-10) “Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. (10) Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand: for God is with us.”
(Isaiah 9:6-7) “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
Now, let’s look at our text. Here is a call to dogmatism written by the finger of God himself in Isaiah 8:11-20.
Verse 11 — “For the Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand.” — The Lord Jehovah spoke to me by his Spirit accompanying his word, and bringing it home to my heart. He spoke to my heart that I might deliver his message to your heart. He spoke, taking me by the hand, in loving efficacy, pulling me back from the road traveled by the multitude, pulling me back from the hellish confederacy.
His purpose in speaking to me was “that I should not walk in the way of this people.” — It is God alone who keeps me from howling with those ravenous works, will-worship wolves and roaring legal lions who seek to destroy the souls of men with free-will, works religion. I don’t tune my fiddle to their pitch because God has spoken to me. I have been swimming against the tide my entire life as a believer; and I am prepared to do so until I die, even if I swim alone!
(2 Peter 3:17) “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”
(Isaiah 8:12-15) “Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. (13) Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. (14) And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (15) And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.”
(Isaiah 8:16) “Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples.”
I am here to “bind up the testimony” of God, the Triune Jehovah, to his people given in this Book. The Testimony” is the Word of God. It is the Word he had given to his prophet, particularly the Word he had just given Isaiah concerning the Person and work of his dear Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (7:14; 8:14-15).
(Isaiah 7:14) “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
(Isaiah 8:14-15) “And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (15) And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.”
The Testimony of God is the gospel of Christ (2 Timothy 1:8-12).
(2 Timothy 1:8-12) “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (9) 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: (11) Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. (12) For the which cause, I also suffer these things: nevertheless, I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
The preacher is responsible to “bind up the testimony” as something indescribably valuable, taking great care that no part of it be neglected or lost. By diligent study, prayer, and preparation, he is to bind it up in his own heart and mind like a priceless treasure.
Then he must, by his preaching “seal the law among my disciples.” —— “The law” here does not refer to the Ten Commandments, or to the ceremonial Law of Moses, but to the whole Word of God. It is the whole doctrine of Christ. It is the responsibility of every gospel preacher to establish God’s saints in the doctrine of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-14; 2 Timothy 4:1-4).
(Ephesians 4:11-14) “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
(2 Timothy 4:1-4) “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; (2) Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; (4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
Standing before eternity bound sinners, speaking in the name of God, as I now do, it is my responsibility to deliver to you the Word of God. When I do, I claim for myself the right to be heard. I do not preach without preparation. I do not give out leftover, rehashed sermons. And I do not simply repeat that which I have heard someone else say, or something I have copied out of a book.
When I come to the pulpit to preach the gospel, what I preach to you in forty-five minutes is the result of many hours of labor in study and prayer, labor spent for your soul. That gives me the right to be heard. But that does not give me the right to be believed, obeyed, and followed. I do not claim for myself a right to blind loyalty and allegiance. No man, no matter how sincere he may appear to be, myself included, is to be given unqualified allegiance (Read 1 John 4:1). It is your responsibility to try what I say by the Word of God. That is what we read in verse 20. — “To the Law and to the Testimony” (to the Doctrine of Christ revealed in the Testimony of God given in the Book of Holy Scripture) “if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is not light in them!” — Compare that with what the Apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 1:6-8.
(Galatians 1:6-8) “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: (7) Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. (8) But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
I have come here this hour “to bind up the testimony” and “seal the law,” to bind a precious treasure the Testimony of God, so that nothing be lost, and to seal the Law, the Doctrine of Christ to you. And I believe God the Holy Spirit has given me the message to do it, if he will speak by me to your hearts.
Here are nine, stubborn, irrefutable statements. They go right to the heart of true Christianity. You will either accept or reject these nine statements. There is no middle ground; and you will find it impossible to be indifferent regarding them. There is no room for compromise on any of these nine points. I say, regarding every man who claims to be a prophet or preacher sent from God that which the Lord God said to Isaiah. — “To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is not light in them!”
(1.) Either this Book, the Bible, is in its entirety the holy, inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God, or it is in its entirety a lie by which the souls of men are eternally deceived and damned. If the Bible is not the Word of God, throw it away. But if it is, as it claims to be, God’s Holy Word, we better pay attention to it.
Š It claims, as such, a total sway over our lives.
Š It must be our only rule of faith and practice.
(2 Peter 1:21) “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
(Psalms 138:2) “I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name.”
(Psalms 119:128) “Therefore I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.”
(2 Timothy 3:16-17) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
(2.) Either God almighty is absolutely sovereign, in total control of all things, at all times, or there is no God. Again, there is no middle ground between these two poles, between God’s absolute, total sovereignty and absolute, total atheism. To speak of a god who is not totally sovereign is utter nonsense. Atheism is far more sensible than Arminianism. If God is, he is sovereign!
(Psalms 135:5-6) “For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. (6) Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.”
(Daniel 4:34-37) “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth forever, whose dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom [is] from generation to generation: (35) And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest Thou? (36) At the same time, my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. (37) Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works [are] truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”
The one true and living God, he who is God alone, is absolutely sovereign…
Š In Predestination.
Š In Creation.
Š In Providence.
Š In Salvation.
(3.) Either man is totally depraved, utterly dead in trespasses and in sins, or there is nothing wrong with him and he needs no Savior. There is no such thing as partial depravity or partial goodness before God. Either we are totally sinful and depraved or we are totally righteous and good. There is no middle ground.
Š Utterly Dead, without Ability
Š Utterly Corrupt
(Psalms 14:2-3) “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. (3) They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
(Jeremiah 17:9) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
(4.) Either God chose some of Adam’s fallen race to salvation and eternal life in Christ before the world began, as the Bible says he did, or there is no possibility of salvation for anyone.
Š Salvation is God’s prerogative, not man’s.
Š Grace is God’s gift, not man’s choice.
Š Salvation is by God’s will, not man’s will.
Š It is by God’s choice, not your choice.
Š If God does not choose to save and choose whom he will save, no sinner can ever be saved.
(Romans 9:13-18) “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. (15) For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (16) So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. (17) For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. (18) Therefore, hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”
(5.) Either the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God is altogether and alone the effectual Redeemer and Savior of his people, or he is a fraud and a failure. Again, there is no middle ground, no room for compromise. Either Christ did what he came here to do, or he is a failure. If he is a failure, he is not God, and we have no Savior.
(Isaiah 53:10-11) “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”
“The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ shall never be discovered a miscarriage.”
——Thomas George Lawrence
Š Substitution (Real Substitution — Penal Sacrifice — Just Satisfaction — 2 Corinthians 5:21)
(6.) Either we are regenerated and called to life and faith in Christ by the irresistible power and effectual grace of God the Holy Spirit, or there is no such thing as salvation. The only hope for a dead sinner is free and sovereign grace, grace that asks for nothing and gives everything, grace that waits for nothing and does everything.
(Psalms 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.”
(Psalms 110:3) “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.”
(John 6:63) “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
(7.) Either God’s people are entirely free from the Law, as the Scriptures declare us to be, or we are yet under the bondage of the Law and entirely obligated to keep it perfectly. There is no such thing as being partially under the Law and partially free from it, not in biblical terms. The only way sinners can satisfy, fulfil, and establish the Law is by faith in Christ (Romans 3:31). — “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14). — “We are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:15).
(Romans 7:4) “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
(Romans 8:1-4) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (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: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
(Romans 10:4) “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.”
(Galatians 3:24-25) “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. (25) But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
(Galatians 5:1-4) “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (2) Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (3) For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (4) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
“If you love Christ, do what you want to.”
(8.) Either every sinner who comes to Christ is saved by Christ, or none are saved by him.
(Matthew 11:28-30) “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
(John 6:37) “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
What does it mean to be saved by Christ?
Š Completely Forgiven!
Š Fully Justified!
Š Perfectly Holy!
Š Utterly Secure!
Come humble sinner, in whose breast
A thousand thoughts revolve;
Come with your guilt and fear oppressed,
And make this last resolve.
“I’ll go to Jesus, though my sins
Like mountains round me close;
I know His courts, I’ll enter in,
Whatever may oppose.
“Prostrate I’ll lie before His throne,
And there my guilt confess;
I’ll tell Him I’m a wretch undone
Without His sovereign grace.
I’ll to the gracious King approach,
Whose scepter pardon gives;
Perhaps He may command my touch,
And then the suppliant lives!
Perhaps He will admit my plea,
Perhaps will hear my prayer;
But if I perish, I will pray,
And perish only there.
I can but perish if I go,
I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away, I know,
I must forever die.
But if I die with mercy sought,
When I the King have tried,
This were to die (Delightful thought!) —
As sinner never died!”
(9.) Either every saved sinner shall persevere to the end, being preserved and kept by God’s infallible, immutable grace, or none shall. The perseverance of the saints is demanded by the purpose of God, the purchase of Christ, and the power of the Spirit.
(Philippians 1:6) “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
(Jeremiah 32:37) “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: (38) And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: (39) And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: (40) And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. (41) Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. (42) For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them.”
(Jude 1:1) “Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.”
(Jude 1:24-25) “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (25) To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”
 “Doctrine” (singular), not doctrines (plural) — The Doctrine of the gospel, the Doctrine of Christ, the Doctrine of God is one.