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Sermon #53 — Isaiah Series
Title: Captivity, Deliverance,
Text: Isaiah 14:1-4
Subject: Every Believer’s Experience of Grace
Date: Sunday Evening — June 10, 2018
Readings: Psalm 71:1-24
Merle Hart and Rex Bartley
You will find my text in the 14th chapter of Isaiah. As God the Holy Ghost will enable me, I want to talk to you about four things experienced by every saved sinner, four things experienced by every heaven born soul — Captivity, Deliverance, Warfare, Victory.
We know that the prophecy given in Isaiah 13 and 14 had an immediate reference to the physical seed of Abraham, the nation of Israel, and their deliverance from Babylonian captivity. But those who limit the prophecy to these historical events have missed its message altogether. There are some things spoken of in this text which cannot be applied to the Jews and the Babylonians.
The things spoken of in the passage before us will find their perfect accomplishment in the salvation of God’s elect, the Israel of God, in every believer’s experience of grace.
Proposition: The people of God shall be triumphant over all their enemies by the grace that is ours in Christ Jesus. — We are more than conquerors through him that loved us and gave himself for us.
(Isaiah 14:1-4) “For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob. (2) And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors. (3) And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, (4) That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! The golden city ceased!”
Here are four things promised in these four verses of Scripture. —
1. The purpose of God in all things is that he will have mercy upon his own elect. — “For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob.”
God’s treatment of Babylon, the nations of the world, and the demons of hell is determined and regulated by his purpose of grace toward his Israel (Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 5:18).
2. Though in providence God sometimes appears to be angry with his people, he will never cast them off. — He “will yet choose Israel and set them in their own land.”
There is a great multitude which no man can number, scattered throughout the nations of the world whom God will save. Though they are now strangers to the covenant of promise, they must be joined to the people of God (John 10:16).
Illustrations: The Iron Curtain Countries
3. Many who now oppose Christ, his gospel and his church shall soon be made to serve him, his cause and his people. — “The people shall take them and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord” (v. 2).
Illustrations: Saul of Tarsus
4. And God’s elect shall triumph over all their enemies by his grace (vv. 3-4)
(Isaiah 14:3-4) “And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, (4) That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!”
In these four verses of Holy Scripture every believer’s experience of grace is set before us in four stages.
Divisions: We will trace the work of God’s grace in the souls of men in these four stages.
1st — Grace finds us in a state of bondage and captivity. All men like to boast of their freedom. They like to flatter themselves with the idea that they are morally, spiritually, and intellectually free. But the fact is every man by nature is in a state of bondage and captivity. If you are here without Christ, you are a bondman, a slave, held in captivity. And the first work of grace is to show you the misery of your present condition. Like Israel in Egypt or in Babylon, we are all by nature in the land of captivity. Even the believer is, in a sense, yet in captivity to sin (Romans 8:23).
“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:23)
If the believer is yet in captivity while he lives in this world, how much more so are you who are without Christ.
Fallen man is held in bondage by the world and to the world.
I am talking about natural, unregenerate men and women. And what I am saying is true of all men by nature.
Now and then, some individual steps out of the general mold of society and appears to be an independent individual. But upon closer examination, you will see the shackles of the world upon him. — He is a slave after all, held in bondage by the shackles of…
Š Prejudice and Pride!
Š Greed and Ambition!
Š Opinion and Custom!
Š Approval and Applause!
The things of God appear to be foolishness to many and the multitudes cannot receive them, because the carnal mind will not accept that which is contrary to the wisdom of this world (1 Corinthians 1:18-24).
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-24)
What bondmen we are to sin! You may not behave in the shameless manner of the profligate pervert, cold-blooded murderer, common thief, or drunken reveler. But there is a malignant principle of sin in us all that so corrupts us that every imagination of our hearts is only evil continually (Genesis 6:5) and every righteous deed performed by us is perverse and filthy (Isaiah 64:6). Sin is the nature of man (Matthew 15:19). And no man can escape or change his nature (Jeremiah 13:23; 17:9).
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23)
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
I know that what I am saying is offensive to the flesh. Some of you may be seething in your hearts with anger against me for saying it. But you know it is true. And your anger is but an evidence of the truth of what I am saying. You are in bondage to the world, in bondage to sin. And…
Fallen man is in bondage to Satan, taken captive by him at his will. We read in this chapter about Lucifer and his fall. Lucifer, the king of Babylon, is allegorically portrayed in this passage as Satan. It is he who made the earth a wilderness and made men to tremble.
How the prince of darkness secretly manipulates the thoughts of men’s hearts and the actions of their lives, I cannot explain. I only know that he is a mighty, subtle, cunning adversary. He is “the prince of the power of the air, who now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). And I know that men are taken captive by him at his will (2 Timothy 2:26).
Illustration: My Cousin’s Husband
The great pity is that man’s bondage to the world, the flesh, and the devil is a voluntary bondage. It is true, we were born in bondage. But from the days of your youth, you have wilfully, continually chosen to remain in bondage. And because your bondage is the result of your own, willful rebellion and sin…
You are in bondage as a prisoner under the sentence of God’s holy law (Ezekiel 18:20).
“The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Ezekiel 18:20)
Will you hear me, my dear friend? The wrath of God is upon you! You are guilty. You are condemned. The sword of God’s justice is thirsty for your blood. God is angry with you; and God will slay you.
I hope that you see your natural state and condition. If you do, there is hope. God has set before you a door of hope. And that Door is Christ. Enter in now and be saved forever.
That is my first point. Grace finds us in a state of bondage and captivity, lost, helpless, ruined, and justly condemned. This is the condition of all men by nature.
2n — Grace brings us into a state of deliverance (Isaiah 61:1-3).
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; 3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)
We are by nature the house of a strong man armed. But when Christ comes in, by the power of his omnipotent grace, he binds the strong man, casts him out, and takes the spoils of victory (Isaiah 49:24-26).
(Isaiah 49:24-26) “Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? 25 But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. 26 And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.”
This deliverance is the work of God alone. — “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord!” As soon as a man is born of God, as soon as Christ is revealed in the heart, as soon as you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ by the irresistible grace and power of God the Holy Ghost, you are saved. Deliverance is accomplished! Christ delivers his people from…
Š The Charms of the World.
Š The Power of Satan.
Š The Dominion of Sin.
Š The Curse of the Law (Isaiah 40:1-2).
(Isaiah 40:1-2) “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.”
We are saved, if we trust Christ, saved forever. But our deliverance is not yet complete. Like the children of Israel after they had crossed the Red Sea, we have many enemies to face, many conflicts to endure, and many battles to fight in this wilderness before we can enter the promised land of rest.
3rd — But I want you to know that grace sustains us in a state of perpetual warfare. The believer in this world is not in the land of peace. We are at war with the world, the flesh, and the devil. The world allures us, the flesh opposes us, and the devil tempts us. But, blessed be God, grace sustains us (Philippians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 12:9).
“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:” (Philippians 1:6)
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
If you come to Christ, I do not promise you a life of ease, peace, and tranquility. I promise you nothing in this world but pain, conflict, tribulation, and war. But in the midst of that warfare, I promise you peace with God and the assurance of victory at last.
In this world, we have trials and tribulations to endure. We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Š Natural Trials
Š Providential Troubles
Š Religious Persecutions
Š Doctrinal Heresies
Š Spiritual Trials
But whatever the trial may be, however severe the tribulation, the Lord will sustain you. Indeed, the very trials themselves are means by which the Lord God works our salvation (Isaiah 43:1-7).
(Isaiah 43:1-7) “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4 Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”
In this world we must endure manifold, and sometimes great, temptations. As our Lord was tempted in all points, so must we be. Satan will not leave us alone. When it appears that he has, we are in real trouble. But when we are tempted our God will not forsake us (1 Corinthians 10:13).
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Illustration: Bunyan’s Pilgrim and the Roaring Lion
And while we live in this world, we must endure a constant inner warfare with sin (Romans 7:22-24; Galatians 5:17).
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:17)
(Romans 7:14-8:1) “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. —— 8:1 ¶ There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
The flesh and the spirit are at war with one another in my soul. And I know that as long as I live in this body of flesh this warfare will continue. But God will sustain me by his grace. —— And I think I know, at least in part, why these things are so.
4th — Grace shall deliver us into a state of victory and dominion. Look at Isaiah’s prophecy again (Isaiah 14:2-4, 24-27).
(Isaiah 14:2-3) “And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors. 3 And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, (4) That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! The golden city ceased!”
(Isaiah 14:24) “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.”
(Isaiah 14:26-27) “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. 27 For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? And his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”
Soon we shall be free! The God of Peace will bruise Satan under our feet shortly! In the end we will rule over our oppressors. — “And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall give thee rest” (Revelation 7:14-16; 21:4; 22:1-6). He will give you…
Š Rest from Your Sorrows
Š Rest from Your Fears
Š Rest from Your Hard Bondage
(Revelation 7:14-17) “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”
(Revelation 21:1-5) “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
(Revelation 22:1-6) “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: 4 And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 5 And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. 6 ¶ And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.”
Illustration: The Robins’ Shells
The work of grace is…
It is he “that strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress.” (Amos 5:9)
(Psalms 72:4) “He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.”
(Psalms 72:12-13) “For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. 13 He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.”
These are the four stages of grace experienced by all God’s elect.
No wonder the prophet said we shall be a people “wondered at!” Oh, may God graciously perform these wondrous works in you for Christ’s sake.
(Jude 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 ever.