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Sermon #78 — Isaiah Series

 

Title:                           Five Encouragements

for Faith

 

Text:                            Isaiah 26:5-11

Subject:                     Encouragements for Faith

Date:                          Tuesday Evening — March 26, 2019

Readings:     Jimmy Bowman and Rex Bartley

Introduction:

 

I want to encourage you and encourage myself to believe God. The title of my message is Five Encouragements for Faith. — Five Encouragements for Faith. My text will be Isaiah 26:5-11.

 

A Distinction

 

One thing that distinguishes God’s elect from all other e people is this: — All who are born of God believe God. Four times in the Book of God we read, “The just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). Yet, we all struggle with unbelief. — How I struggle with unbelief! Constantly, I am compelled, as I bow at the throne of grace, to confess to my God, “Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief!” Yet, I do believe. — Is that the case with you?

 

All men are aware of God’s existence. Everybody believes in God. But few believe God. There is something in every man and woman, by nature, that makes them aware of God’s being, presence, and power. All have a God conscientiousness from which they cannot escape (Romans 1:18-20). There is no such thing as an atheist. All who claim to be atheists are liars. And they know it. There is something residing deep within every human being that makes all aware of God’s being.

 

All religious people have a fear of God. But few believe God. Though it is no more than a slavish, legal fear of bondage, it is a fear of God that restrains them from performing all the excessive works of wickedness that are stored up inside. The vast majority of the people in this world are restrained from committing horrible crimes against humanity, not by any love of righteousness, or love for others, or love of morality, but by the fear of facing God in the Day of Judgment. And I thank God for it. It will be a sad day for this world when men and women are no longer restrained from evil by the fear of God! — But being afraid of God is not believing God.

 

All men are aware of God’s existence. And all religious people have a fear of God. But the believer, the Christian, the child of God, is a person who trusts the living God! There is a vast difference between knowing that God is, or even fearing him, and trusting him. The believer is a person who walks with God in this world by faith, trusting him.

 

      Illustrations:       Enoch 365 yrs. (Genesis 5:21-22).

                                                                                    Noah 950 yrs. (Genesis 9:29).

 

We do not know what trials and tribulations Enoch had to face during his 365 years on this earth. But this we know — From the day that God called him by his grace, until the day that he called him home to glory, “Enoch walked with God!

 

None of us can imagine the troubles, persecutions, slanderous accusations, and taunting jeers Noah had to endure or what trials he had to face from the world, his own flesh, the devil, and his own sons. But this we are told, astonishing as it may appear, for the better part of 950 years “Noah walked with God!

 

This is the thing that separates the believer from the religionist. The believer walks with God by faith. The religionist only fears God’s wrath.

 

Isaiah 26

 

In Isaiah 26 the prophet of God gives us a song of praise, instruction, and exhortation. In verse 4 we read this exhortation — “Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” Having admonished us to trust in the LORD forever, our song gives us several encouragements to faith in verses 5-11. I want us to look at these five encouragements for faith together.

 

Proposition: In these seven verses we are taught that the best way for us to glorify God and find comfort for ourselves in this world is by believing God.

Š      Nothing honors God like faith in him.

Š      Nothing is more honored by God than faith in him.

Š      And nothing is so comforting to God’s people in this world as faith in him.

 

Divisions: This is my message to you — Trust ye in the Lord forever.” I want to show you five reasons to trust the Lord.

1.    He will cause us to triumph over our enemies (vv. 5-6).

2.    He weighs the path of the just (v. 7).

3.    He will give us the desire of our souls (v. 8).

4.    He will save his people (v. 9).

5.    Only the wicked refuse to trust him (vv. 10-11).

 

The Lord

 

When God’s prophet says, “Trust ye in the Lord forever,” the One he calls for us to trust is “the Lord!

 

He who is Jehovah is the Lord. There is no other. He is not one god among many. He is the God, the Lord! Beside him there is no other.

 

He who is the Lord is Jehovah our Savior, the Christ which is, and was, and is to come, eternal, self-existent, and immutable. — He is the Lord! Beside him there is no other. The Triune Jehovah is in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10) and Christ is Jehovah. The Triune Jehovah has made Christ, the God-man our Savior, Lord of all. — There is no Lord but Christ, no sovereign but Christ. — “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). — If all power is his, no one has any power but him!

 

In him is “everlasting strength, the strength by which we live, the strength by which we believe, and the strength by which we serve our God. — “God is my strength” (2 Samuel 22:33). — “The Lord is my strength” (Psalm 28:7).

 

Christ is all our righteousness and all our strength. He is strength, has strength, and gives strength to his own, strength for everything for which it is needed.

Š      Temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Š      Afflictions (Isaiah 43:1-3)

Š      Duties

 

Our Rock

 

Those words, “everlasting strength,” might be read “the Rock of Ages.” — The LORD JEHOVAH is Jesus Christ, our God and Savior. And he is the Rock of Ages.

Š      The Rock in Whom we take Refuge (Proverbs 18:10)

Š      The Rock upon Whom we Build

Š      The Rock that Followed Israel (1 Corinthians 10:4)

Š      The Smitten Rock from which the Water of Life Flows to Sinners

Š      The Strength by whom we Live and Serve our God. — He who is our Rock is our Strength. — And he is the Lord!

 

God, the Triune God, was in Christ reconciling the world of his elect unto himself (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

 

(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.

 

Truly and joyfully, we sing with Moses in defiance of all the imaginary gods of men, “Their rock is not as our Rock” (Deuteronomy 32:31. — Such a God as our God, the Rock of Ages, our Savior is worthy of our implicit faith and confidence. Therefore, the prophet says to you and me, — “Trust ye in the LORD forever” and gives us five reasons for trusting him, five things by which he encourages us to trust him. because…

 

Victory Sure

 

1stTrust ye in the LORD forever” because he will cause us to triumph over all our enemies (vv. 5-6). As God brought down the mighty cities of Babylon and Nineveh, so he will bring down mystical Babylon and give his church and kingdom success at last.

 

(Isaiah 26:5-6) For he bringeth down them that dwell on high; the lofty city, he layeth it low; he layeth it low, even to the ground; he bringeth it even to the dust. (6) The foot shall tread it down, even the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy.

 

He will make the humble who trust in him to triumph over their proud enemies. — “The LORD lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground” (Psalm 147:6 — Malachi 4:3; Romans 16:20).

 

(Malachi 4:2-3) But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (3) And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.

 

(Romans 16:20) And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

 

Š      He can do it.

Š      He has often done it. — Pharaoh and the Red Sea — Joshua and the Jordan River — Israel and Jericho — Pentecost and the Early Church — The Reformation — Revival — Our Personal Experience.

Š      He will do it (Revelation 18-19).

 

Path Weighed

 

2ndTrust ye in the LORD forever” because he weighs the path of the just (v. 7).

 

(Isaiah 26:7) The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.

 

God looks upon the way of his people in this world with care and delight. He weighs out path. He makes the measure of our path. He directs our path

 

The way of the just is uprightness. — The way of the just is the way God appointed for his people and it is the way of uprightness, righteousness and justice, holiness and truth.

 

Š      Christ is the Way (John 14:6).

Š      The way of our salvation is uprightness (Romans 3:24-26). He who is our God is “a just God and a Savior” (Isaiah 45:20).

Š      The way of the believer’s behavior is uprightness.

 

The word “uprightness” might better be translated “evenness,” referring to the honesty, integrity, truthfulness, and sincerity of the believer’s life. God’s people are not dishonest, deceitful, and cunning, but simple and honest.

 

Thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.” — Obviously, the prophet here addresses the Lord God, our Savior. He is telling us that with the upright God shows himself upright (2 Samuel 22:26).

Š      The Lord knows the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:6).

Š      The Lord orders the way of the righteous (Psalm 37:23).

Š      The Lord protects the way of the righteous. — “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Psalm 91:11).

Š      The Lord approves of the way of the righteous (1 John 3:22-23).

Š      And the Lord is the end of the way of the righteous (2 Corinthians 5:1-9; Philippians 3:13-14).

 

God, the most upright, our great God and Savior levels and smooths the path of the just. Turn to Jeremiah 31, and you will see how delightful this is.

 

(Jeremiah 31:6-14) For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God. (7) For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. (8) Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. (9) They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. (10) Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. (11) For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he. (12) Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. (13) Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. (14) And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.

 

Our Desire

 

3rdTrust ye in the LORD forever” because he will give us the desire of our souls (v. 8).

 

(Isaiah 26:8) Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee.

 

It is our highest duty, our greatest privilege, and our surest comfort to wait upon the Lord, to trust him, and to keep our desire toward him in the darkest of times (Psalm 123:1-4; Hebrews 4:16).

 

(Psalm 123:1-2) Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens. (2) Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.

 

We wait upon the Lord in his house, to hear his judgment, his Word, by which our lives are governed.

Š      Here we are instructed.

Š      Here we are corrected.

Š      Here we find direction.

Š      Here we learn his will.

Š      Here we are comforted.

Š      Here we are motivated and inspired.

 

And we wait for our God to make himself known to us in the midst of his providential judgments.

Š      When our God brings judgment upon the nation, while others question God and curse him, we wait for him.

Š      When God brings providential judgments upon us (afflictions, sorrows, trials), we wait at his throne for grace and help (Hebrews 4:16).

Š      God’s acts are his judgments. His judgments are his deeds. — All are performed for us. So let us wait before in the way of his judgments.

 

The desire of our soul, if we are God’s, is one desire just one. Our great concern is for the honor of God’s name. — “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name!” — Whatever he does with us, whatever becomes of us, let our one concern be for him. “Father, glorify thy name.” And he will take care of that which concerns us.

 

The desire of our soul is to the remembrance of thy name! — Our great comfort is the remembrance of God our Savior. In the midst of trouble, nothing is more comforting than the remembrance of Christ. — Nothing inspires faith for the present and the future like the remembrance of grace in the past.

Š      His Covenant Grace

Š      His Redeeming Blood

Š      His Glorious Dominion

Š      His Abiding Presence

Š      His All-wise Providence

Š      His Promised Grace

 

Our great joy is the assurance that God will honor his name in all things (Isaiah 63:11-14).

 

(Isaiah 63:11-14) Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he that put his Holy Spirit within him? (12) That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name? (13) That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble? (14) As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.

 

Salvation Sure

 

4thTrust ye in the LORD forever” because he will save his people (v. 9). As our concern is for the honor of God’s name, so our concern is for the salvation of God’s elect. — The two are synonymous! God’s name is honored by the salvation of his elect.

 

(Isaiah 26:9) With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

 

In the night of spiritual darkness, while others sleep in careless presumption and willful blindness and ignorance, Enoch walks with God and seeks him, Noah walks with God and seeks him, Abraham walks with God and seeks him, Lot walks with God and seeks him, each vexing his soul and trusting in the Lord, Jehovah, the Rock of Ages, God our Savior.

 

(Psalm 42:1-2) As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. (2) My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

 

Believing God, trusting the Lord Jehovah, we seek him.

Š      His Presence

Š      His Pardon

Š      His Power

 

For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. — “The inhabitants of the world” here are God’s elect in the world, as contrasted with the wicked in verse 10. It is God’s gracious design in all the affairs of providence, judgments as well as mercies, to bring his elect to life and faith in Christ. And his design is effectual (Psalm 107).

 

(Psalm 107:1-43) O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. (2) Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; (3) And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. (4) They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. (5) Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. (6) Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. (7) And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. (8) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (9) For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. (10) Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; (11) Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High: (12) Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help. (13) Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. (14) He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder. (15) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (16) For he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder. (17) Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. (18) Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. (19) Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. (20) He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. (21) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (22) And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing. (23) They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; (24) These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. (25) For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. (26) They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble. (27) They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. (28) Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. (29) He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. (30) Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. (31) Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (32) Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. (33) He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; (34) A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. (35) He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. (36) And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; (37) And sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase. (38) He blesseth them also, so that they are multiplied greatly; and suffereth not their cattle to decrease. (39) Again, they are minished and brought low through oppression, affliction, and sorrow. (40) He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way. (41) Yet setteth he the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock. (42) The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth. (43) Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.

 

God’s elect will learn righteousness by his Word and by his grace. They will come to know Christ, the Lord our Righteousness! God sees to it! Let us, then, be content with whatever God does, trusting him. He is saving his people. He is making his name great and glorious.

 

The Wicked

 

5th — “Trust ye in the LORD forever” because only the wicked refuse to trust him (vv. 10-11).

 

(Isaiah 26:10-11) Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD. (11) LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them.

 

Though God shows you mercy, though he favors you with good things, you will not learn righteousness. Though you live on the land of uprightness (in that place where God has established his Word and ordinances), you will not be made just. Though the Lord is good, you “will not behold the majesty of the Lord.”

Š      His Glorious Sovereignty

Š      His Redeeming Blood

Š      His Saving Efficacy

 

Though God’s hand is lifted up in judgment against you, you will not see. God lifts up his hand against you, both by his Word and by his providence, but you will not see it. You will not see because you choose not to see.

 

None are so blind as those who will not see, who shut their ears to the Word of God and shut their eyes to the providence of God. They choose to ascribe the works of providence to chance, luck, fate, or some unexplainable coincidence, rather than face the fact that God is speaking.

 

But the day is coming when God will make his enemies see and acknowledge his Son, their Lord.

Š      They shall see.

Š      And be ashamed” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Š      The fire shall devour them!” — The fires of hell shall be their own fire. — “The fire of thine enemies shall devour them!

 

Application

 

Trust ye in the LORD forever!” We have every reason to do so and no reason not to trust him.

Š      He will cause you to triumph over your enemies.

Š      He weighs the path of the just.

Š      He will give us the desire of our soul.

Š      He will save his people.

Š      Only the wicked refuse to trust him.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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