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Sermon #79 — Isaiah Series

 

Title:                           The Path of the Just

 

Text:                            Isaiah 26:7-9

Subject:                     Faith and Communion

Date:                          Sunday Evening — March 31, 2019

Readings:     Mark Medley and David Burge

Introduction:

 

As God the Holy Ghost will enable me, I want to talk to you tonight about The Path of the Just.” Twice in the Book of God the Spirit of God speaks of the way of the just (Isaiah 26:7; Proverbs 4:18).

 

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

 

(Proverbs 4:18) But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

 

The Just

 

The “just” are those who have been made just and righteous by Christ. The righteousness of Christ has been made theirs and is justly imputed to them. And the holiness of Christ has been imparted to them by God the Holy Ghost in the new birth. All the just are new creatures in Christ, created in righteousness and true holiness by the grace of God. Being born of God and taught of God, the “just” are people who “live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12). The just are…

Š      Justified (Equal to the Law’s Demands)

Š      Righteous (Before God and in Conduct)

Š      Holy (Sanctified)

 

The Path

 

The “path” in which we walk is Christ himself. Our Savior, the Lord Jesus, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In him we live and move, and have our being. Through his precious blood and righteousness, by his sin-atoning sacrifice, we go to God for grace and mercy, for peace and pardon, acceptance and guidance. We come to God by him for fresh supplies of grace. And by him we walk with God in sweet communion. — Christ is the Path of the just. — And Christ is the Way.

Š      He is the Way to God.

Š      He is the Way of Life.

Š      He is the Way of Holiness.

Š      He is the Way to Heaven.

 

And he shows us the Way through all this time world of sin, sorrow, and sighing. He leads us in the way of truth, righteousness, and holiness. He directs us in the path of duty and obedience. He shows us the way of God and leads us in it.

 

The Shining

 

The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” — It is like the rising of the sun after a long night of darkness. At first it appears as only a glimmering light. When the chosen sinner is born of God, “the darkness is past and the true light now shineth” (1 John 2:8). But, unlike the sun that rises every morning and sets every night, Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shines more and more brightly upon and in our souls, until that perfect day comes when we awake in his likeness.

Š      The brighter the Sun shines, the more clearly we see the vileness of our hearts, the corruption of our nature, and the filthiness of our righteousnesses.

Š      The brighter the Sun shines, the more magnificent the Pearl of Great Price appears.

Š      The brighter the Sun shines, the more brilliantly the golden treasure of his grace shines in our hearts.

 

If you will go back to Isaiah 26, you will find my text in verses 7 through 9.

 

(Isaiah 26:7-9) The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just. (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. (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.

 

Communion with God

 

When Isaiah spoke of the day of grace and salvation, he described those who are saved by God’s almighty grace as a people who walk with the living God in sweet communion. Communion with God is “the way of the just.” And it is the way of uprightness. Like Enoch of old, all who live by faith in Christ walk with God. And there is in every believer’s life sweet communion with God in Christ. Some enjoy the experience of communion more fully and more intimately; but all believers walk with God in sweet communion.

 

Proposition: If the life of God (Christ) is in me, I live in communion (koinwnia – fellowship, partnership, interaction) with God.

 

Coming to God

 

Before you can know God and have communion with him you must be born again by the Spirit of God (John 3:1-17).

 

(John 3:1-17) There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: (2) The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (3) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (4) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? (5) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (8) The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (9) Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? (10) Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? (11) Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. (12) If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? (13) And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. (14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: (15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

 

If you would be born again, if you would know God, God must reveal himself to you. And the revelation of God is Christ (1 Corinthians 2:1-16; 2 Corinthians 4:3-7; 5:13-21). It is a revelation made by the preaching of the gospel.

 

(1 Corinthians 2:1-16) And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. (2) For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (3) And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. (4) And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: (5) That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (6) Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: (7) But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: (8) Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (9) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (11) For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. (12) Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (13) Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (16) For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

(2 Corinthians 4:3-7) But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (5) For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. (6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (7) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

 

(2 Corinthians 5:13-21) For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. (14) For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: (15) And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (16) Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. (17) 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.

 

And if you would have eternal life, you must come to God for it. You must come to God by faith in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ The first motion of spiritual life is the return of the sinner to his God. To be saved is to come to God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:25; Matthew 11:28). As the prodigal, “when he came to himself arose and came to his father,” so the regenerate sinner comes to God, being reconciled to him by grace (John 6:37).

 

(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.

 

Faith in Christ is coming to God by him. And spiritual life, the life of grace, grows as we continue coming to God through Christ, our Mediator (1 Peter 2:1-4). Coming to Christ is something we have done, something we are doing, and something we shall continue to do so long as we live in this world. Coming to Christ is not an act of life. It is our way of life.

 

(1 Peter 2:1-10) Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, (2) As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (3) If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (4) To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, (5) Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (6) Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (7) 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: (10) Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

 

As we behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, we obtain from our Savior, by faith in him, peace, rest, and hope. And in proportion as we know more of God, as he reveals himself to us in the person of his dear Son, we grow in Christ and grow in grace. The knowledge of God is the meat and drink of faith. Faith ever seeks to know God our Savior (Philippians 3:10).

 

(Philippians 3:10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

 

Communion with God

 

The most important, most beautiful, most useful, most practical aspect of the believer’s life is communion with God (Luke 10:38-42). Communion with God is the fruit of faith and the essence of true worship. Communion with God is the source of true, spiritual knowledge. Mary learned of God as she sat at the Savior’s feet and heard his words.

 

(Luke 10:38-42) Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. (39) And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. (40) But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. (41) And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: (42) But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

 

Communion with God is the fountain of good works and service to Christ and his people. Whoever did greater service for Christ and his church than that dear, redeemed sinner who knelt at the Savior’s feet, washed them with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and anointed him for his burial (Matthew 26:6-13)? Who knew or did more than that dear lady (Mark 14:1-9)?

 

(Mark 14:1-9) After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. (2) But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people. (3) And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. (4) And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? (5) For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. (6) And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? She hath wrought a good work on me. (7) For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. (8) She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. (9) Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

 

If we would serve our God and the generation in which we live, if we would be useful to one another and useful to the souls of men, if we would know God, if we would honor him, we must seek to constantly walk with him in the sweet and blessed fellowship and communion of life, faith, and love in, by, and with our Lord Jesus Christ. This is “the path of the just.”

 

Five Things

 

Let me wrap this message up by showing you five things about “the path of the just,” five things about communion with God, and I will be done. Communion with God manifests itself in many ways. But in these verses Isaiah shows us five specific things involved in it.

 

1st The path of the just, the life of faith in Christ, this communion with God causes the believer to walk in uprightness. — “The way of the just is uprightness” (v. 7). All who are justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them are sanctified by the holiness of Christ imparted to them in the new birth. Believers are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). That new man created in us in righteousness and true holiness (Ephesians 4:24) is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). And that new man walks with God in uprightness (Ephesians 4:17-23). Any doctrine that teaches or implies that a person’s character and conduct are unimportant, so long as he believes in Christ, is not the doctrine of Christ (Titus 2:1-15).

 

(Ephesians 4:13-24) 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; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (17) This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, (18) Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (19) Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. (20) But ye have not so learned Christ; (21) If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: (22) That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (23) And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (24) And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

 

(Titus 2:1-15) But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: (2) That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. (3) The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; (4) That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, (5) To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (6) Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. (7) In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, (8) Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (9) Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; (10) Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. (11) For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (15) These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

 

2ndThe path of the just is a path of waiting. Communion with God is waiting for him. A great part of living by faith is simply waiting before God (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.

 

This waiting does not imply idleness or indifference, but faith and diligence. To wait upon God is to believe him. Unbelief hurries and worries. Faith waits. Unbelief is fearful and cowardly. Faith is confident and courageous. To wait upon God is to stand upon the tiptoe of faith expecting him to fulfil his promise. To wait upon him is to serve him, to do his bidding, to serve his household, to do his will. — “He that waiteth on his master shall be honored” (Proverbs 27:18)

 

(Lamentations 3:24-26) 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.

 

This waiting is expectation. — To wait upon God is to stand upon the tiptoe of faith, looking for him to fulfill his promise (Psalm 62:1, 2, 5; Isaiah 40:31).

 

(Psalm 62:1-5) Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. (2) He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved…. (5) My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

 

(Isaiah 40:31) They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

 

3rdThe path of the just is the path of desire. Faith is desiring God. Communion with God desiring God. — “The desire of our soul is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee” (v. 8). — God’s name represents his character, his Word, and his glory. This is what we desire to know and see. And we desire to remember him at all times, to have him always before our hearts.

 

Our desire is to Jehovah’s name. — His name represents three things in the Scriptures:

  1. His Character — We desire to know God in all the attributes of his holy character.
  2. His Word — The Word of God is his name, his character written out and revealed.
  3. His Glory — “Hallowed be thy name!

 

Our desire is to remember him. — I find it disgustingly easy to remember useless, frivolous things, and to remember evil things. But to remember God and the things of God is contrary to the flesh. How I wish I had a memory so narrow that it could hold nothing but the things of God. I want to remember God. — Don’t you?

Š      When I awake in the morning.

Š      As I go through the day.

Š      When I lay down at night.

Yet, our fellowship and communion with God is such that though we do not always remember him, we desire to remember him. — “The desire of our soul is to the remembrance of thee.” — The Remembrance of…

Š      His Eternal Covenant.

Š      His Obedience, Suffering, and Death.

Š      His Redemptive Accomplishments.

Š      His Daily Mercies.

Š      His Promised Grace.

Š      Him — Father, Son, Holy Ghost.

 

And our desire towards our God is intensely personal. — Did you notice, as we read the text, that the 8th verse is in the plural and the 9th is in the singular?

 

(Isaiah 26:8-9) 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. (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.

 

This is not by accident. When Isaiah described the desire of the church toward God, he could not help stating his personal desire — “With my soul have I desired thee in the night.

Š      In the Night of Trial

Š      In the Night of Spiritual Darkness

Š      In the Night of Personal Languishing

 

4thThe path of the just is the path of seeking, seeking after God. Communion with God causes men and women to seek him. — “Yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early” (v. 9). The person who trusts Christ is one who is seeking him. The person who walks with God by faith is seeking him (Philippians 3:9-14). Constantly knowing our ever-increasing need of our God, we seek him.

 

(Philippians 3:3-14) For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (4) Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: (5) Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; (6) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (7) But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. (8) Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (9) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (11) If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Let me tell you a little about those who seek the Lord.

  • We feel our need of him.

Š      We seek him where he is to be found. — In the Word. — In his House.

Š      We seek him early — now!

Š      We seek him continually.

Š      We shall find him.

 

5thWalking with God by faith, walking in the path of the just, in sweet communion with God the righteous learn by the providential judgments of our heavenly Father. — “For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (v. 9).

 

Verse 10 tells us that the wicked inhabitants of the earth neither learn by God’s favor, nor by his judgments. But the believer, while he walks in this world, walks with God and is taught of God. He learns much by the works of God, even by the judgments of providence.

 

Š      We learn to look upon temporal things as temporal and eternal things as eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

Š      We learn to value Christ, his people, and his gospel aright.

Š      And we learn righteousness (Hebrews 12:11), the value of righteousness and where righteousness is to be found — In Christ alone!

 

We have no righteousness but the obedience of Christ unto death as our Substitute. We have no holiness, but the holiness of Christ imparted to us in the new birth. And we have no communion with God but in, by, and with Christ Jesus.

 

Oh, may God graciously put you in “the path of the just!” Oh, that he would reveal Christ in you! — That he would give you life and faith in Christ. — Oh, that you might live from this hour forward and unto all eternity in communion with God! — That is “the path of the just.”

Š      You enter upon this path by coming to Christ.

Š      You walk in this path by coming to Christ.

Š      You come to the end of this path by coming to Christ.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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