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Sermon #77 — Isaiah Series
Title: Stayed Upon Jehovah
Text: Isaiah 26:1-4
Subject: Faith and Peace
Date: Tuesday Evening — March 17, 2019
Readings: Mark Medley and Mark Henson
(Psalm 149:1-6) Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. (2) Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. (3) Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. (4) For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation. (5) Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. (6) Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand.
One of the most delightful, useful, soul-cheering aspects of public worship is singing, the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.
(Ephesians 5:19) Speak to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
(Colossians 3:16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
(Psalm 9:11) Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.
In the Old Testament singers were appointed in the temple to lead the way in worship. When Jehoshaphat went out to battle, Òhe appointed singers unto the LordÉthat should praise the beauty of his holiness as they went out before the army.Ó These singers led the army of Judah into battle, singing, ÒPraise the Lord, for his mercy endureth foreverÓ (2 Chronicles 20:21). And in the church of God that which leads the way and scatters the enemies of earthly care, making a way for the word of God, is the singing of GodÕs praise.
á Special Music — Some of you are gifted musicians. God has given you melodious voices. You ought to use them for the benefit of GodÕs church. Some of you have special talents in playing musical instruments. You ought to play them in the house of God for the praise of God. But special music must never take away from or replace congregational singing.
á Congregational Singing — We all ought to lift our voices together in congregational praise (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Bro. Lindsay carefully selects hymns that are both doctrinally accurate and honoring to God. (We do not sing what we do not believe and would never preach!) As we sing GodÕs praises together, let us do so heartily and joyfully.
(Colossians 3:16-17) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (17) And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
LetÕs open our Bibles again to the 26th chapter of the Gospel of Isaiah and see what God the Holy Ghost tells us to sing in this blessed Gospel Day. In chapter 25, Isaiah spoke of the coming of Christ and the accomplishment of our salvation by him. Here, in chapter 26, he gives us a song of joy, gratitude, and praise to God for that salvation which he has accomplished for us, bestowed upon us and wrought in us by his grace. — Read verses 1-4.
(Isaiah 26:1-4) In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. (2) Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. (3) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (4) Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.
This is an example of the kind of songs saved sinners ought to sing. It isÉ
á An Experimental Song — ÒWe have.Ó
á A Doctrinal, Instructive Song — ÒSalvation will God appoint.Ó
á A Comforting Song — ÒPeace.Ó
á A Challenging Song — ÒOpen ye the gates!Ó — ÒTrust ye in the Lord!Ó
á A God Honoring, Christ Exalting Song — Everything in the song turns our hearts and minds to the Lord our God.
Notice that there is nothing here of sentimentalism and emotionalism. The purpose of the song is not to work up a whoopee, foot-stompinÕ, hand-clappinÕ, good time. The purpose is to lift the hearts of redeemed sinners in the worship of God.
Hold your Bible open on your lap as we look at these first four verses of this song together. ÒIn that dayÓ — In the day of GodÕs grace and salvation, in this Gospel Age, Òshall this song be sung.Ó Matthew Henry rightly observed, ÒThere shall be persons to sing it, and cause to sing it, and hearts to sing it.Ó This song is to be sung Òin the land of Judah.Ó As I have shown you before, the land of Judah symbolically represented the gospel church for whom the gospel covenant was made.
á The church of God is the City of God.
á The church of God is the family of God.
á The church of God is the kingdom of God.
á No one gets saved by joining any church. — Salvation is GodÕs work alone.
á But there is no salvation apart from the church of the living God.
In this song glorious things are spoken of the church and people of God.
Proposition: We have great reason to trust the Lord our God and sing praises unto him.
Divisions: There are four things in this text that I want to show you.
1. A Place of Safety (v. 1).
2. A Work of Mercy (v. 2).
3. A Promise of Grace (v. 3).
4. An Encouragement for Faith (v. 4).
1st — The first verse of this song describes a place of safety. — ÒWe have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.Ó
I repeat, the city spoken of here is the church of God. It is a city which God has prepared and built upon the Rock, Christ Jesus. And it is a strong one. As the Lord prepared it, so he defends it. As he built it, so he keeps it. The strength of this city, the church of God isÉ
á The Presence of God. — The Lord God is a wall of fire about us.
á The Word of God. — His Word is a fire to warm, a hammer to build, and a sword to protect his church.
á The Saints of God. — The saints of God, united to Christ and to one another in him, are themselves the strength of the church (Zechariah 12:5). Our unity, the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace, is our strength.
(Zechariah 1:5) And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the LORD of hosts their God.
Illustration: Spurgeon — ÒMy people pray for me.Ó
The saints of God, having been born into his church and kingdom, are perfectly safe and secure. Our song declares, ÒSalvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks.Ó That simply means, what walls and bulwarks are to a fortress salvation is to GodÕs church and people. Our safety and security is GodÕs salvation.
á The safety and security of the believer is not his will, his works, his worth, or even his faith, but rather GodÕs salvation.
á We believe in the security of the believer, the sure perseverance and preservation of the saints, because we know that salvation is GodÕs work (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
Salvation is the work of God the Father. Therefore every saved sinner is eternally secure in Christ.
á The cause of salvation is the distinguishing love of God, which is unchangeable.
á The foundation of salvation is the purpose and will of God, which is unalterable.
á The source of salvation is the election of grace, which stands not upon the works of men, but upon the will of God.
á The ground of salvation is the covenant of grace, is ordered in all things and sure.
á The security of salvation is the power of God, by which we are kept unto eternal life (John 10:26-28).
(Ephesians 1:3-6) 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.
This is what I am saying, children of God, you have reason to sing praises to God, because not one of GodÕs elect can ever perish until the love of God is destroyed, the purpose of God is altered, the will of God is changed, the covenant of GodÕs grace is nullified, and the power of God is defeated. These are the walls and bulwarks that protect GodÕs church.
Because salvation is the work of Christ, GodÕs dear Son, every believer is secure in him (John 10:27-30).
á His blood is a bulwark against the assaults of Satan.
á His righteousness is a wall to enclose us.
á His mediation is our protection (Zechariah 3:1-9; John 13:38-14:1).
á His omnipotence is our defense (Hebrews 7:25).
(Ephesians 1:7-12) 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.
Shall we not sing praise to the Son of God, our Savior? We cannot be lost, until his blood can be made useless, his righteousness can be destroyed, his mediation can be despised of God, and his power can be overcome! We are safe in the arms of Christ.
And we are secure in Christ because salvation is the work of God the Holy Spirit — ÒIt is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profitteth nothingÓ (John 6:63).
á The new birth is the SpiritÕs work.
á Faith in Christ is the SpiritÕs gift.
á Preservation in grace is by the sealing of the Spirit.
(Ephesians 1:13-14) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
How we ought to sing to our God, the Triune Jehovah! These are the walls and bulwarks of salvation by which we are surrounded and protected.
á The Purpose of God the Father.
á The Purchase of God the Son.
á The Power of God the Spirit.
2nd — Now, look at verse 2. Here is a work of mercy. — We are to admonish one another in song. And here our song admonishes us to perform a work of mercy — ÒOpen ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.Ó I know there is but one door, or gate, by which men and women may enter into the kingdom of God. That Door, that Gate is Christ. But our text speaks of the Gate as though there are many. Why? To show us that the way of life and salvation is open to all the world, north, south, east, and west (Revelation 21:12-13).
(Revelation 21:12-13) And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: (13) On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
Christ alone is the door, or gate, to eternal life. — ÒI am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.Ó (John 10:9)
Man by nature is banished from God, banished from life, and banished from the City of God. But the Lord Jesus Christ, by the blood of his cross, has opened to sinners a way of access to God (Hebrews 10:19-22).
(Hebrews 10:19-22) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, (20) By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; (21) And having an high priest over the house of God; (22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
It is the responsibility of GodÕs preachers to open the gates of life and salvation to men. — GodÕs servants are angels, messengers of mercy, set by God upon the walls of the city to open the gates to the nations (Revelation 21:12-13). Here, GodÕs servants, gospel preachers are admonished in song by the church of God to open the gates of life to sinners everywhere.
á We open the gates by preaching the gospel of Christ — ÒThe Spirit and the bride say, Come.Ó
á The gates of salvation are opened to all men, without exception.
á It is our job always to open the gates, never to shut them (Isaiah 60:11).
(Isaiah 60:11) Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought.
We preach the gospel, open the gates, to all men, so that GodÕs elect, the righteous nation may enter in. Notice how the people of God, those who are saved by his grace, are described in this verse.
They are righteous, not by nature, but by grace. — ÒThy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified.Ó (Isaiah 60:21)
á Made righteous before they enter in by Christ.
á Made righteous by redemption — Imputed Righteousness.
á Made righteous by regeneration — Imparted Righteousness.
á The saints of God are a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). — All who enter into the City of God are people who have, by the new birth, been sanctified, made holy, Òmade partakers of divine nature!Ó
And believers, saved sinners, are people who keep the truth.
á They receive the truth into their hearts by faith.
á They keep it in love with a pure conscience.
á They will not part with it for anything, because we know that it is our salvation (1 Corinthians 15:1-3).
(1 Corinthians 15:1-3) 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;
Believers are chosen, redeemed sinners, called by the irresistible, effectual, omnipotent grace of God the Holy Ghost, who enter into salvation and coming to God by faith in Christ (Hebrews 7:25).
3rd — Now, look at verse 3. Here our song declares a promise of grace. — ÒThou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.Ó
Peace is GodÕs gift to faith. — As we believe God, we have peace, peace with God, through the blood of Christ. It is peace which Christ accomplished. And it is peace that we receive by faith.
The peace promised here is perfect peace. — Let me help you with that. Do not let the word ÒperfectÓ here throw you. Our text is not telling us that unless we have peace perfectly we do not have faith and are lost. There is a vast difference between having perfect peace and having peace perfectly.
á The peace God gives us in Christ is perfect, but it is not perfectly manifested, felt, and enjoyed in the soul.
á The word ÒperfectÓ is exactly the same as the word ÒpeaceÓ in the original. It might be read, ÒThou wilt keep him in peace peace.Ó But our translators wisely and rightly translated the words Òperfect peaceÓ because God here gives believing sinners the promise of true. — The peace that God gives to faith is real and true. It is not false, or imaginary.
á The word used by our translators, Òperfect,Ó also has the idea of ÒcompletenessÓ and Òabundance.Ó
We have peace now. But, oh, what an abundant, complete, blessed peace he will give us in heaven! It will be perfectly enjoyed. And it will last forever (Isaiah 9:7; Psalm 72:7).
(Isaiah 9:7) 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 for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
(Psalm 72:7) In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
This peace is promised to those whose minds are stayed upon Jehovah.
ÒStayed upon Jehovah
Hearts are fully blest
Finding as He promised
Perfect peace and rest.Ó
To be ÒstayedÓ upon Christ is to have your heart fixed upon him, being persuaded of your interest in him, laying the whole weight of your soul upon him. To be stayed upon Christ is to trust him alone as your Savior (Psalm 112:5-8).
(Psalm 112:5-8) A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. (6) Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. (7) He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. (8) His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.
To be stayed upon Christ is to trustÉ
á His Blood.
á His Righteousness.
á His Intercession.
á His Wisdom.
á His Providence.
á His Power.
á His Goodness.
á His Faithfulness.
This is the promise of grace. — ÒThou wilt keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee.Ó
4th — Now, letÕs look at verse 4. Here our song gives us an encouragement for faith. — ÒTrust ye in the Lord forever; for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.Ó
ÒTrust ye in the Lord forever.Ó — This is what I have been driving at. — I want us to trust the Lord God, our Savior. Trust him at all times, in every state, and in every condition. That is what faith is. In time of temptation, affliction, and darkness, faith looks to Christ, trusting him.
Trust the Lord. He will deliver you from every trial, support you in every temptation, and cause all things to work together for your good. Though darkness comes upon you, the Lord will again arise as the Sun of Righteousness to shine upon you at the breaking of day.
When you can do nothing else, when all other help and comfort is gone, ÒTrust ye in the Lord forever.Ó — Keep trusting Christ (Lamentations 3:21-26).
(Lamentations 3:21-26) This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. (22) It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. (23) They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (24) The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. (25) The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. (26) It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
Here is the reason, the grounds, the basis, the foundation for our faith — ÒFor in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.Ó —Jesus Christ is the LORD JEHOVAH, which is, which was, and which is to come. He is our self-existent, eternal, immutable God. And he is our Strength. He will give us his strength. His promise is, ÒMy grace is sufficient for thee!Ó
á To bear every temptation.
á To endure every trial.
á To withstand every spiritual enemy.
á To exercise every grace.
á To discharge every duty.
ÒI can do all things through Christ, which strengtheth meÓ (Philippians 4:13).
And Christ, who is our God and our Strength is Òthe Rock of AgesÓ (See Margin — Psalm 18:1-3).
(Psalm 18:1-3) I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. (2) The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (3) I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
á He is the Rock upon which his church is built, against which the gates of hell cannot prevail.
á He is the Rock upon which we are built. And the soul that is built upon this Rock will withstand the storms of life (Matthew 7).
á He who is our Rock is our Refuge and our Strength forever.
á I bid you to come into the church, the city and family of God. — It is a place of safety.
á I point you to Christ, the Door and tell you that the Way is open. — Enter in and be saved.
á I promise you, upon the authority of GodÕs own Word, real peace, if you will trust the Lord Jesus Christ.
á I assure you that faith in Christ is well grounded faith. — He is the LORD JEHOVAH. — And in him is everlasting strength.