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Sermon #107 — Isaiah Series
Text: Isaiah 33:24
Subject: The Forgiveness of Sin
Date: Sunday Morning — October 27, 2019
Reading: Acts 13:16-41
In the 33rd chapter of Isaiah it appeared that Jerusalem was on the brink of destruction. When all hope of earthly help was gone, in utter helplessness, Hezekiah called upon God to deliver his people. When he did God arose, stretched forth his mighty arm, destroyed the Assyrians, and delivered his people.
When Hezekiah prayed, God gave him this word of promise found in Isaiah 33:24, concerning his people, who were in the depths of anguish because of their unbelief and sin. — “The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity” (v. 24).
The great result of God’s gracious dealings with his afflicted people was that they glorified his name. In this chapter the Lord God, the Triune Jehovah, is spoken of as being “exalted; for he dwelleth on high” (v. 5). He is called “the glorious Lord” (v. 21). Truly, God never appears more glorious than when he condescends to deliver us from the extremities of trouble and sorrow which we bring upon ourselves by our own sin and unbelief. Throughout this chapter, I can hear the echo of David’s words, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men” (Psalm 107:8).
Obviously, the deliverance spoken of in this chapter is the deliverance of Judah and Jerusalem from Sennacherib and the Assyrians. That deliverance was brought to pass by the hand of God to be a type and picture of the deliverance of God’s elect from sin and death, from Satan and bondage, from death and hell into life eternal with Christ in heaven, and the wondrous display of God’s glory in it.
Š Deliverance by God’s Decree
Š Deliverance by Blood Atonement
Š Deliverance by Omnipotent Grace
This whole chapter is a message from God to his people who are in the depths of utter extremity. When Judah had been made to drink the bitter drops of God’s providential chastisement, in their great need, God arose! When worst had come to worst, he made bare his holy arm and brought deliverance to his people.
I say to you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, who are in great distress, be not afraid, take comfort, be of good cheer. When all else is gone, when you have no other hope and no other strength — God remains the same. — God will appear. — “He abideth faithful!” — He will never leave you nor forsake you! — When you have no strength, it will be your strength to set still. — When you can do nothing to help yourself, it will be your wisest course of action to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord!”
I call your attention to just one word in this instructive chapter. It is one of the sweetest, most blessed words in the English language — “Forgiven.”
The Lord God, Jehovah-Rophe, “the Lord that healeth thee,” says with regard to all who enter into heaven…
“The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.” (Isaiah 33:24)
Proposition: Though the Lord our God graciously chastens his own, he will yet be merciful, he will forgive the iniquity of his people.
Sickness and Redemption
Before I get to my subject, I want to direct your attention to the first line of our text. The Lord God says, with regard to his elect when they are gathered into heavenly glory with Christ, — “And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick.” When, at last, redemption’s work is done and we are brought into the glorious liberty of the sons of God in heaven, sickness and sorrow and death shall be no more (Revelation 21:1-4). — Blessed prospect!
(Revelation 21:1-4) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (2) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Jehovah-rophe, the Lord Jesus Christ, our great Physician, “took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17). And when he has finished his work and brought me home to heaven, I will never again say, “I am sick.”
John Newton once wrote to a friend. — “I am bound to speak well of my Physician — He treats me with great tenderness, and bids me in due time to expect a perfect cure. I know too much of Him (though I know but little) to doubt either His skill or His promise. It is true, I have suffered sad relapses since I have been under His care. Yet I confess that the fault has not been His but my own! I am a perverse and unruly patient! When I have brought myself very low, He has still helped me. Blessed be His name, I am yet kept alive only by means of His perfect care. Though His medicines are all beneficial, they are not all pleasant. Now and then He gives me a pleasant cordial; but I have many severe disorders, in which there is a needs-be for my frequently taking His bitter and unpalatable medicines!
I, John Newton, have long labored under a multitude of grievous disorders: a fever of ungoverned passions, a cancer of pride, a frenzy of wild imaginations, a severe lethargy, and a deadly stroke!
In this deplorable situation, I suffered many things from many
physicians, spent every penny I had, yet only grew worse and worse! In this
condition, Jesus, the Physician of souls, found me when I sought Him not. He
undertook my recovery freely, without money and without price. These are His
terms with all His patients! My fever is now abated, my senses are restored,
my faculties are enlivened! In a word, I am a new man! And from His ability,
His promise, and the experience of what He has already done, I have the
fullest assurance that He will infallibly and perfectly heal me, and that I
shall live forever as a monument of His power and
In that bright land to which I go, I will never again say, “I am sick.” Why? — Because the promise continues. — “The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.”
Divisions: That is the message of our text. I want to show you four things from this text of Holy Scripture about God’s forgiveness of our iniquity.
1st — Our heavenly Father wisely and lovingly chastens his erring children. — Jerusalem was in the mess they were in because of their sin and unbelief. The history of Israel reveals much to us about God’s providential judgments upon his people. They are not judgments of wrath but of mercy, love, and grace. Be sure you understand this. — God does not punish his people for sin. He punished our sins in Christ, when he suffered the wrath of God as our Substitute. But God will not allow his children to get by with sin and disobedience. As a loving Father he disciplines his household (Hebrews 12:5-11).
(Hebrews 12:5-11) And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: (6) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (7) If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (8) But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (9) Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (10) For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (11) Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
“Bitter pills bring sweet health, and sharp winter kills worms and weeds, and mellows the earth for better bearing of fruits and flowers.”
— John Trapp
I do not say that all suffering and sorrow endured by God’s saints is to be looked upon as chastisement for sin. That may or may not be the case. So we should never behave like Job’s miserable friends, accusing our afflicted brethren of wickedness because they suffer. Self-righteousness is never more obnoxious than when it shakes its condemning finger at a man or woman in great trouble and sorrow.
But do understand this — God’s providential judgments do come upon his erring children by his chastening rod. God will use the rod of correction to drive the sin which he hates from the soul he loves.
Illustration: David — Hezekiah
“Tis my happiness below
Not to live without the cross,
But the Savior’s power to know,
Sanctifying every loss;
Trials must and will befall,
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all,
This is happiness to me.
God, in Israel, sows the seeds,
Of affliction, pain and toil;
These spring up, and choke the weeds
Which would else o’erspread the soil;
Trials make the promise sweet,
Trials give new life to prayer;
Trials bring me to His feet,
Lay me low, and keep me there.
Did I meet no trials here,
No chastisement by the way,
Might I not, with reason, fear
I should prove a castaway?
Bastards may escape the rod,
Sunk in earthly, vain delight;
But the true born child of God,
Must not, would not, if he might.”
— William Cowper
2nd — Forgiveness is here promised to every penitent sinner. — Our text promises forgiveness. — “The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity!”
“Forgiven!” — What a blessed, blessed word! In our text, forgiveness promised to God’s erring, fallen, sinful saints. Child of God, hear this and rejoice. — As God forgave David and forgave Peter, so he promises to forgive you (1 John 2:1-2). As he forgave Hezekiah and Judah, so he will forgive me and so he will forgive you!
(1 John 2:1-2) My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (2) And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
But let me broaden the text. This word of grace is not to God’s saints alone. Forgiveness is promised to every penitent sinner (Isaiah 55:6-7; 1 John 1:9).
(Isaiah 55:6-7) Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
(1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We all have one thing in common. — We are all sinners in need of forgiveness. — “All have sinned!”
We are constant mass of sin. In thought, in word, in deed, we have sinned, we are sinning, and we will sin, even in our best performances (Isaiah 64:6). What I am saying is true of us all, believers and unbelievers. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness.
We must learn to look upon sin as it really is, in its true character (Luke. 16:15). — “Sin is the transgression of the law.” That is the outward act of sin. But it is much more than that.
Š Sin is rebellion against God.
Š Sin is a denial of God’s right to be God!
Š Sin is unbelief!
Š Sin is self-righteousness and pride.
Š Sin is the outward expression of man’s hatred of God (Romans 8:7).
But I am here to proclaim to you the good news of the gospel. — There is forgiveness with God (Psalm 130:4; Micah 7:18).
(Psalm 130:1-8) Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. (2) Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. (3) If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? (4) But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. (5) I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. (6) My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. (7) Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. (8) And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
(Micah 7:18-20) Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? He retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy. (19) He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (20) Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
How can we be sure that there is forgiveness with God? Certainly, we have no hope in ourselves. We cannot atone for our sins! But I know that there is forgiveness with God for these seven reasons.
1. God’s name is forgiveness (Exodus 34:5-7).
(Exodus 34:5-7) And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. (6) And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, (7) Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
2. All the prophets of the Old Testament proclaimed forgiveness. — “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43)
3. All the sacrifices of the Mosaic age portrayed and promised forgiveness. — “When I see the blood!”
4. Christ came into the world to obtain forgiveness for his people (Matthew 1:21; Hebrews 9:12, 26).
5. The Holy Spirit is sent to convince chosen, redeemed sinners throughout the world of the forgiveness of sin in and by Christ (John 16:8-11).
Š Our Sin (v. 9).
Š Christ’s Righteousness (v. 10).
Š God’s Judgment of our sin in Christ (v. 11) —Forgiveness!
6. I have experienced and am experiencing the forgiveness of sin (Psalm 32:5; 1 John 1:7).
7. Christ told his disciples to tell the whole world that he would forgive sin (Luke 24:44). — He sent me here to preach to you the forgiveness of sin.
3rd — When sin is forgiven, the consequences of sin are removed. — Jerusalem was about to be ruined with pestilence. But when God promised forgiveness, he promised to remove the pestilence which had been caused by their sin. He said, “The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick; The people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.”
My friend, if you come to Christ, God will not only forgive you of your sin, he will also heal you of all the evil consequences of your sin!
Child of God, as soon as your Father hears your confession, he will both forgive your sin and take away the rod of correction (Isaiah 54:7-10; Song of Solomon 5:2-16; 3:1-5; Revelation 3:20).
(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.
(Song of Songs 5:1-16) I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved. (2) I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. (3) I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? (4) My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him. (5) I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock. (6) I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. (7) The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me. (8) I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love. (9) What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us? (10) My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand. (11) His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. (12) His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set. (13) His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh. (14) His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires. (15) His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. (16) His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
(Song of Songs 3:1-5) By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. (2) I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. (3) The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? (4) It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. (5) I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
(Revelation 3:20) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Illustrations: David and Peter
Illustration: One of Augustus Toplady’s friends had a beloved son who died. When some of his friends came by to offer their condolences, he said, “I would be content, were it possible, to lose a son every day in the year, might I but be favored with such manifestations of God’s presence and love as I have experienced on this occasion.”
4th — Do you ask when this forgiveness can be expected? Look at Isaiah 33 again, and you will see that — As soon as the rod of correction has done its work, forgiveness is sought and forgiveness is granted.
As soon as Hezekiah was humbled, he sought the Lord. And as soon as he sought the Lord he was forgiven.
Illustration: The Prodigal (1 John 1:9)
(Isaiah 33:5) The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.
God does not grant forgiveness to men until they recognize and acknowledge his greatness as God.
Illustration: Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4).
(Daniel 4:34-37) And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: (35) And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (36) At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. (37) Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
(Isaiah 33:6-7) And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure. (7) Behold, their valiant ones shall cry without: the ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.
Illustration: The Publican (Luke 18).
(Isaiah 33:13-14) Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. (14) The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
Illustration: Soul of Tarsus (Acts 9)
(Isaiah 33:22) For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry!” — God will never grant pardon to any who refuse to bow to his rule. Christ will not save until you cease to cry. “We will not have this man to reign over us!”
Personal faith in Christ brings the peace of perfect pardon to the believing heart (Romans 4:25-5:5).
(Romans 4:25-5:5) Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (5:1) Therefore being justified, by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (2) By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (4) And patience, experience; and experience, hope: (5) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Through the blood of Christ
We are forgiven!
Illustration: The Handkerchief
Trust the Lord Jesus Christ and go home — Forgiven!