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Sermon #85[i] — Isaiah Series
Title: GodŐs Promises to Israel
Text: Isaiah 27:1-6
Subject: GodŐs Promise to His Church
If you will open your Bibles to the 27th chapter of the Gospel of Isaiah, you will find my text in verses 1-6. I want to talk to you about Israel, about — GodŐs Promises to Israel. — ThatŐs my subject. ThatŐs the title of my message. — GodŐs Promises to Israel. — LetŐs read the first six verses of Isaiah 27.
(Isaiah 27:1-6) In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea. (2) In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. (3) I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. (4) Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. (5) Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. (6) He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.
Here is GodŐs promise to Israel. — Our text says, ŇIsrael shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.Ó
But, of whom does the prophet speak? Is this prophecy talking about the physical, political nation of Israel, that tiny nation of Jews which has been the focal point of worldwide attention for the past 70 years? No. It is not.
Now hear and understand what I am telling you. — There are no promises given by God to the Jews, or anyone else, based upon their race or nationality.
á The promises of God are all in Christ and given to sinners only in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).
(2 Corinthians 1:20) For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
á The promises of God in Christ are all promises of pure, free, unconditional grace made to faith (Galatians 5:6).
(Galatians 5:6) For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
á God no longer deals with the Jews as a chosen, covenant nation (Matthew 23:37-38).
(Matthew 23:37-38) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
Without question, God rules the nation of Israel as he rules all other nations in providence. And any Jew who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is saved, just as any Gentile who believes. But God has forever forsaken both Judaism and national Israel, because of their unbelief.
How then do we interpret prophecies such as the one before us in Isaiah 27? If Isaiah is not talking about national Israel, of whom is he speaking? To whom are these sure and steadfast promises of grace made? They are made to the church of GodŐs elect, the Israel of God.
Proposition: The Israel of God, the church of GodŐs elect, the temple and house of the living God, GodŐs true covenant people, the family of God, is always under GodŐs gracious care.
1. We who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are GodŐs Israel. We are the circumcision (Philippians 3:3; Romans 2:28-29).
(Philippians 3:3) For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
(Romans 2:28-29) For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: (29) But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
2. We who are redeemed and saved by the blood of Christ are the chosen and blessed nation of GodŐs elect (1 Peter 2:9-10).
(1 Peter 2:9-10) 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.
3. We are GodŐs covenant people (Hebrews 10:15-17).
(Hebrews 10:15-17) Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, (16) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (17) And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
4. GodŐs church, his elect, are the Israel that shall be saved, when Ňthe fulness of the Gentiles be come inÓ (Romans 11:25-27).
(Romans 11:25-27) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (26) And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (27) For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
5. Salvation and grace are promised, not to AbrahamŐs physical seed, but to the spiritual seed of covenant promise (Romans 9:6-8).
(Romans 9:6-8) Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: (7) Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. (8) That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.
Divisions: Now I want us to look at the prophecy given in Isaiah 27:1-6. I want to show you the mercies here promised to GodŐs Israel, the church of his elect. These are promises of grace and salvation in Christ. — Here are four promises of God to Israel.
1. God will punish and destroy the enemies of his people (v. 1).
2. God will protect and preserve his church (vv. 2-3).
3. God is never angry with his elect (vv. 4-5).
4. God will cause his church to flourish forever (v. 6).
1st — Let every believer confidently endure the assaults and trials of his many enemies with this assurance. — The Lord our God will punish and destroy the enemies of his people (v. 1).
(Isaiah 27:1) In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.
GodŐs saints are not a vengeful people. We do not need to be. We serve a just and vengeful God (Romans 12:19). The fact is, as you read the Scriptures you, cannot help noticing that GodŐs punishment of the wicked will be as much the avenging of his elect as it will be the avenging of his own justice (Revelation 6:10; 18:20, 24; 19:2) — ŇSeeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble youÓ (2 Thessalonians 1:6).
(Revelation 6:10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
(Revelation 18:20) Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
(Revelation 18:24) And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
(Revelation 19:2) For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
The Spirit of God says to the church of God in this world, ŇYour patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: É is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble youÓ (2 Thessalonians 1:4-6).
Isaiah compares proud, oppressing, persecuting tyrants to Leviathan, a horrible monster. — ŇLeviathanÓ is a name given to a huge, mythical, dragon-like monster of the sea. Job tells us that none are able to stand before him — ŇNone is so fierce that they dare stir him upÉHis heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone. When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraidÓ (Job 41:10, 24, 25).
The church of God has many enemies. But in every age one arises that is more powerful and therefore more fearful than the rest.
Our great and good God has always destroyed those who sought to destroy his church and always caused his church to prosper by them (Psalm 74:13-14).
(Psalm 74:13-14) Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. (14) Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
All the persecuting monsters of history are but the servants of Satan, the old serpent, the great dragon with seven heads and ten horns, who seeks to devour GodŐs church (Revelation 12:3).
Those who persecute the people of God are compared toÉ
The enemies of GodŐs church in the past have been great and many. But in due time God has destroyed them all. And we shall have numerous, mighty enemies in the future. But God will destroy them with ease in his appointed day.
Without question, this is a prophecy of the redemptive, saving victories obtained by the Lord Jesus Christ over the powers of darkness as our Substitute.
This is the first blessed and comforting assurance given in our text. — There is a day coming when the Lord our God, Ňwith his sore and great and strong sword,Ó shall avenge his own elect.
2nd — Isaiah assures us that God will protect and preserve his church (vv. 2-3).
(Isaiah 27:2-3) In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. (3) I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.
When GodŐs judgments fall, there is no reason for the believer to be afraid. While God is judging our enemies and punishing them, he is protecting, preserving, and saving his elect. God will protect his own!
The church is GodŐs vineyard (Matthew 20:1; John 15:1-5). It is here called ŇA vineyard of red wine,Ó symbolic of the choicest, best fruit of the vine, wine that gladdens the heart and makes merry the downcast.
God commits the care of his vineyard to faithful pastors. But his hand is really the one that cares for his vineyard.
A vineyard is valuable, pleasant, and fruitful.
This vineyard, the church of God, is under GodŐs own care (v. 3).
It is kept by God. — God himself has undertaken to keep Israel. And Ňhe that keepeth Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.Ó
(Psalm 91:4-6) He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (5) Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; (6) Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
In the night of affliction and persecution, and in the day of peace and prosperity, our God keeps us. He keeps us amid the temptations of the day as well as in the trials of the night.
And God waters his vineyard. God waters his vineyard by the ministry of the Word, by his servants, whose doctrine drops as the dew of heaven.
(Deuteronomy 32:1-4) Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. (2) My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: (3) Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. (4) He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Paul plants and Apollos waters. But God gives the increase. Without him our labors are vain.
GodŐs vineyard needs an occasional flood. But it is the daily dew of grace that brings forth fruit to the glory of God. — We are impressed by the floods. But the real, vital necessity is the dew.
3rd — Jehovah speaks to us by his prophet, assuring us that the Lord our God is never angry with his elect (vv. 4-5).
(Isaiah 27:4-5) Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. (5) Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.
He says, ŇFury is not in me.Ó That statement must be understood in its context. He has just told us that there is great fury in him against his enemies and ours. But with regard to his church, his vineyard, God has no fury. He is never angry with his people in Christ.
Sometimes, he appears to be angry. He seems to contend with us in his providence. When he does, it is only that he may gather out of his vineyard the briars and thorns, the tares, the wood, hay, and stubble, to burn them and purge his church (Matthew 13:24-30; Isaiah 33:14). — That is GodŐs work. No man has the right or the ability to do it — ŇLeave them alone!Ó
GodŐs fury was spent and exhausted upon our great Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ, his dear Son. — ŇThere is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus!Ó
When God does afflict his people, he tells us what we must do.
(Isaiah 54:7-10) For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. (8) In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer. (9) For this is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth; so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with thee, nor rebuke thee. (10) For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee.
This fifth verse is a summary of the gospel with which God continually waters his church and vineyard.
(2 Corinthians 5:17-6:2) 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. (6:1) We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (2) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)
(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.
4th — Isaiah assures us that God will cause his church to flourish forever (v. 6).
(Isaiah 27:6) He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.
The church of God in this world is a growing church. And when all have been gathered in, it shall be a great and glorious church.
God has an elect remnant in this word, the sons of Jacob, who must and shall be saved. — ŇHe (the Lord Jesus Christ) shall cause (Psalm 65:4) them that come of Jacob to take root.Ó — There is an elect multitude scattered throughout the earth who must and shall be saved (John 10:16; Romans 11:25).
ŇIsrael shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruitÓ (Isaiah 37:31-32; Psalm 80:9).
(Isaiah 37:31-32) And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: (32) For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.
(Psalm 80:9) Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land.
The preaching of the gospel shall bring forth fruit in all the world (Colossians. 1:5-6). And that fruit shall remain forever (John 15:16).
This is the Israel of God. To you who believe, these promises are given.
1. God will destroy your enemies.
2. God will protect and preserve you.
3. God has no anger toward you.
4. God will cause you to blossom and flourish with fruit to fill the world.
O Spirit of God, give us grace to lay hold of JehovahŐs Strength, our Strength, our blessed Savior and Lord. O God, our God, come and visit this vine of red wine which you have planted, and cause it to flourish, for ChristŐs sake!
(Psalm 80:1-19) Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. (2) Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. (3) Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
(4) O LORD God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy people? (5) Thou feedest them with the bread of tears; and givest them tears to drink in great measure. (6) Thou makest us a strife unto our neighbours: and our enemies laugh among themselves. (7) Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
(8) Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. (9) Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. (10) The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars. (11) She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. (12) Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? (13) The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it.
(14) Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; (15) And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that thou madest strong for thyself. (16) It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance. (17) Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself. (18) So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. (19) Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
[i] Danville — Sunday Evening — May12, 2019
Free Grace Fellowship — Ballymoney, N Ireland — (05/07/19)
Readings: Mark Medley and Rex Bartley
2 Corinthians 4:1-5:1