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Sermon #54 — Isaiah Series
Title: Three Facts
about GodŐs Purpose
Text: Isaiah 14:24-27
Subject: The Purpose of God
Date: Sunday Evening — June 24, 2018
Readings: Mark Medley and Rex Bartley
In Isaiah 13 and 14 the Lord God Almighty promised his people, Israel, that he would both deliver them from their Babylonian captivity and thoroughly destroy their enemies who would hold them captive for so long. But the promise would not be accomplished for 200 years. In that length of time his people, being like us nothing but sinful flesh, would begin to question the LordŐs faithfulness, his power, and his Word. So, in order to strengthen their faith in him and keep his elect remnant looking to him with faith and hope, God promised his people a somewhat lesser and more immediate deliverance. He promised them that he would destroy the Assyrian army, cause his people to tread them under foot, and break the yoke of their oppression. And the prophet of God gave his people absolute assurance that God would do what he promised. The basis of that assurance was the sure, eternal purpose of God.
Read GodŐs promise in Isaiah 14:24-27. This was GodŐs promise to Israel of old. And this is GodŐs promise to his Israel today, his church and kingdom, Ňthe Israel of God.Ó
(Isaiah 14:24-27) 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: (25) That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. (26) 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?
What the Lord God here declares we rejoice to believe and preach. We believe, according to the Scriptures, that the Lord our God is a God of purpose, absolute and unalterable purpose, a God whose purpose must and shall be accomplished.
Before the world was made, before time began, almighty God sovereignly purposed all that comes to pass.
Proposition: This is what I am saying. This is the thing I want us to learn, believe, rely upon, and rejoice in. — Everything that comes to pass in time was purposed by our God in eternity.
LetŐs look into the Word of God to see if this is true. — ŇTo the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.Ó
A Bible Doctrine
Throughout the Scriptures, we are assured that God has a purpose of grace according to which he rules the world. This is a Bible doctrine.
Turn to Acts 15. — Here Luke records the history of the first Bible conference ever held by the church of God. It was held at Jerusalem about 14 years after God has saved Saul of Tarsus. In this conference three issues were dealt with and set forth with clarity by the apostles.
1. The BelieverŐs Freedom from the Law (vv. 5-6, 23-24).
(Acts 15:5-6) But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. (6) And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
(Acts 15:23-24) And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: (24) Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
2. The Method of GodŐs Saving Operations (vv. 8-11).
á Faith alone!
á Grace alone!
á Christ alone!
(Acts 15:8-11) And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; (9) And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. (10) Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? (11) But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
3. The Purpose of God (v. 18).
James here declares, ŇKnown unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.Ó If all his works were known to him, then all were certain to be accomplished. If they were certain, it must be because God had purposed and ordained them. And if he ordained them, then he ordained them to be before the world began. That is not just a logical conclusion. That is precisely what God declares in this Book.
Romans 8:28 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.
Romans 9:11 Here Paul tells us that God chose Jacob in everlasting love and rejected Esau in everlasting hatred and that he revealed this fact to the boysŐ parents Ň...the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.Ó
Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
Ephesians 3:11 Paul explains here that he preached the gospel to the Gentiles, even the unsearchable riches of Christ, that the manifold wisdom of God revealed in the gospel of Christ might be made known to all men... ŇAccording to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.Ó
2 Timothy 1:9 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.
This purpose of God is GodŐs sovereign, eternal work of predestination (Romans 8:28-31; Ephesians 1:3-6, 9, 11, 12). — The purpose of God is the salvation of his elect.
(Romans 8:28-31) 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. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
(Ephesians 1:3-12) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (7) In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (8) Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (9) Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: (10) That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (11) In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (12) That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
In predestination God acted in total sovereignty. His work of predestination was according to his own sovereign will, for the praise of the glory of his own grace, according to his own eternal counsels. All who are finally saved and obtain an inheritance in heavenly glory are said to have been Ňpredestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory.Ó In other words, the purpose of God in predestination is twofold:
á The salvation of his elect
á And the glory of God in salvation.
I repeat, the purpose, object, and design of God in predestination is the glory of his own great name in the salvation of his elect.
When the Jews were in Babylon, in captivity, their plight was hopeless. Deliverance seemed impossible. But God had promised it. He promised them that he would deliver them from the hand of their enemies, set them in the land of their promised inheritance, and cause them to rule over their oppressors. This God had declared to be irreversibly decreed.
And the same thing is true regarding the deliverance and salvation of GodŐs elect in every age out of every part of the world. As the Jews were his elect among the nations, so there is now Ňa remnant according to the election of graceÓ (Romans 11:6), a people he has given to his Son from eternity (John 17:2, 6, 9), a multitude to whom God promised eternal life before the world began (Titus 1:2).
This elect remnant God will search out from the four corners of the earth and save (Isaiah 43:5-7; John 10:16).
(Isaiah 43:5-7) 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.
(John 10:16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
In due time, he will call them by his irresistible grace (Ezekiel 34:11-13) and bring them into a saving knowledge of Christ (Isaiah 65:1; 2 Peter 3:9).
(Ezekiel 34:11-13) For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. (12) As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. (13) And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
(Isaiah 65:1) I am sought of them that asked not for me; I am found of them that sought me not: I said, Behold me, behold me, unto a nation that was not called by my name.
(2 Peter 3:9) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
And these elect, chosen, predestined, redeemed, called ones he will also keep unto everlasting. Not one of them can be lost (John 17:12).
For the salvation of this elect multitude God has made full and complete provision in his eternal purpose of grace and bound himself with the oath of his promise (2 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 6:17-20). If ever one of GodŐs elect should perish it must be by their departure from him, or through their being wrested out of his hand, or by him casting them off. But none of these things can be, because God has purposed, predestinated and promised thatÉ
á They shall not depart from him (Jeremiah 32:40).
á None can pluck them from his hands (John 10:29) or separate them from his love (Romans 8:39).
á He will never abandon them or cast them off (Isaiah 54:7-10).
This is what I am saying. This is what God reveals in his Word. — Before the world was made, from eternity, God predestinatedÉ
á Who he would save (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 1 Peter 1:2).
á The death of Christ as the grounds of our salvation (Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:18-20).
á The means by which he would seek out and effectually call his elect to life and faith in Christ. — The preaching of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:21).
á The time and place he would call them (Ezekiel 16:8).
á And all that is necessary to accomplish his glorious purpose of grace (Romans 11:36; 8:28).
God, from eternity, predestinated our redemption by the blood of Christ, our regeneration by the irresistible call of his Spirit, and our resurrection glory in conformity to Christ.
What about the ungodly, the wicked, the reprobate, who are lost in the end and suffer the wrath of God in hell? Did God irreversibly predestinate some men and women to hell?
While I have no interest in answering the foolish questions of godless and ignorant men, who wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction; and though I will not honor those who oppose the gospel of GodŐs free and sovereign grace in Christ by answering their objections to it, I do want us to be perfectly clear in our understanding of GodŐs purpose.
We assert boldly and emphatically that God chose a people from eternity whom he would save; and that his elective purpose can never be altered. And we assert, just as boldly and emphatically that no one was predestinated or ordained to eternal damnation, except as that eternal damnation is the just and righteous consequence of their unbelief (1 Peter 2:7-9; Jude 4).
(1 Peter 2:7-9) Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, (8) And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. (9) But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
(Jude 1:4) For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
á God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11).
á Any sinner in all the world who calls upon Christ in faith shall be saved (John 3:14-16).
á If you are lost forever in hell, the cause of your eternal damnation will be your willful, obstinate unbelief (John 3:17-19, 36; Proverbs 1:23-33).
And you can mark this down, as surely as God has purposed the salvation of all his elect, it is the purpose of God to destroy every obstinate, unbelieving rebel who refuses to trust his Son. And God will not be deterred from or rescind his purpose.
á The vessels of wrath are fitted for destruction by their own sin and unbelief (Romans 9:22).
á Whereas, the vessels of mercy are by God Ňafore prepared unto gloryÓ according to his blessed purpose of grace (Roman 9:23).
á If you, by your rebellion and unbelief, fit yourself for destruction, God will destroy you!
Now I want you to turn back to my text in Isaiah 14:24-27. Let me show you Three Facts About GodŐs Purpose, and I will send you home.
1st — The purpose of God is immutable (v. 24).
(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:
I do not pretend to understand everything the Bible teaches about the purpose of God. But I do know this. — Whatever the purpose of God is, it is unchangeable. His counsel shall stand. He will do all that he has purposed (Numbers 23:19; Job 23:13; Psalm 33:11; Proverbs 21:30; Daniel 4:35; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17).
(Numbers 23:19) God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
(Job 23:13) But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
(Psalm 33:11 The counsel of the LORD standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
(Proverbs 21:30) There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
(Daniel 4:35) 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?
(Malachi 3:6) For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
(James 1:17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
All Inclusive Purpose
2nd — The purpose of God includes all things (v. 26).
(Isaiah 14:26) This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.
God rules all the nations of the earth by the omnipotent hand of his providence, according to the purpose of his grace toward his elect (Psalm 76:10; 2 Corinthians 5:18).
á Nothing in the world happens by chance.
á Nothing in the world is determined by the will of man.
á Nothing in the world is under the control of Satan.
á God rules the universe!
á And he rules it according to his own purpose of grace.
(Isaiah 45:7) I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
(Romans 11:33-36) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? (35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? (36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.
3rd — The purpose of God is effectual. It must and shall be accomplished (v. 27).
(Isaiah 14:27) For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?
I am trying to tell you who God is. — He is one whose purpose cannot be thwarted, whose will cannot be resisted, whose power cannot be defeated. He is God. And he is God alone (Psalms 115:3; 135:6).
ŇBehold your God!Ó — ŇHe is able to perform what he has promised.Ó
1. We are nothing, but withering grass.
2. But the Lord our God is God indeed. — Because his purpose is immutable, universal, and effectual.
á His Word is Sure.
á His Promises are all Yea and Amen.
á His People are Secure.
á His Covenant will Endure.
3. He is God, you will be wise to bow before him and seek his mercy.