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Sermon #111 — Isaiah Series
Title: Almighty Grace
Text: Isaiah 35:5-6
Subject: Effectual, Saving Grace
Date: Sunday Evening — November 24, 2019
Reading: Merle Ha and David Burge
Most people today, when they hear the word “grace,” or think about the grace of God, ignorantly imagine that God’s grace is a helpless, frustrated, passion, a good intention, a noble desire in God, but that it lacks power. Will-worship idolaters really do imagine that God’s grace can do nothing without the aide, assistance, and consent of the sinner’s will. Rubbish! Nonsense! Blasphemy! Such grace a not worthy of our God.
I have come here tonight to talk to you about Almighty Grace. You will find my text in the 35th chapter of the Gospel of Isaiah.
Proposition: Grace is not a helpless passion in God’s heart. — Grace is an attribute of God’s Being which, like himself, is almighty. — Grace is an attribute of God which works effectually, irresistibly, accomplishing the salvation of chosen sinners. — “By grace ye are saved!”
(Isaiah 35:5-6) Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. (6) Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
Our text is a prophecy of the coming of Christ and the establishment of his kingdom in this world and in the hearts of men. It is talking about this Gospel Age and the coming of Christ in two ways.
· His Literal Coming to Accomplish Our Redemption!
· His Spiritual Coming to the Hearts of Sinners in Saving Power! — “Then” — when Christ comes to establish his kingdom, when he comes to accomplish redemption, when the Son of God comes in the power of his almighty grace to save his people, he will do wondrous things.
1st — There is no question about the fact that this prophecy refers to our Lord’s first advent. — When the Christ of God came into this world in our flesh wonders were wrought by him, both in the kingdom of nature in and the kingdom of grace. Wonders of mercy were wrought upon the sons of men, which declared him to be the Christ, the Son of the living God.
The miracles our Lord performed demonstrated that he was sent of God (John 3:2). The fact that he performed these miracles by his own power and in his own name showed that he is God.
· He who made man’s mouth, made the mouth of the dumb to speak.
· He who made the eyes, made the eyes of the blind to see.
· He who made man’s ears, made the ears of the deaf to hear.
· He who made man’s legs made the legs of the lame to leap!
When John’s disciples wanted proof of his Messiahship the Lord Jesus simply reminded them of the miracles he performed (Matthew 11:2-6).
(Matthew 11:2-6) Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, (3) And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? (4) Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: (5) The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. (6) And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
The purpose of those miracles performed by our Savior was to authenticate his claims as the Messiah, the Christ of God (Joel 2:21-34).
(Joel 2:21-34) Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things. (22) Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field: for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth her fruit, the fig tree and the vine do yield their strength. (23) Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. (24) And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. (25) And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. (26) And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. (27) And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. (28) And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: (29) And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. (30) And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. (31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. (32) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
And the purpose of the miraculous, supernatural gifts bestowed upon the apostles was to authenticate their commission as the messengers of Christ (Hebrews 2:3-4).
(Hebrews 2:3-4) How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (4) God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
Today, these gifts are no longer needed. We have the Word of God. Both God’s servants and the message we proclaim are authenticated by the Word of God.
When our Savior was here, he wrought wondrous things upon and in the bodies of men.
· The eyes of the blind were opened by him who is the Light of the world (Matthew 9:27; 12:30; John 9:6).
· The ears of the deaf were made to hear by him who is the Word of God (Mark 7:34 — “Ephphatha — Be opened!”).
· Many that were lame were caused to leap with life by him who is the way (John 5:1-9; Acts 3:8).
· The dumb were made to speak and sing by him who spoke the world into being (Matthew 9:32-33).
But, as our Lord promised, far greater wonders than these are performed today upon the souls of lost men and women by the preaching of the gospel (John 14:12-14).
(John 14:12-14) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (13) And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (14) If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.
I am sometimes asked, “Do you believe in miracles?” And my answer is, “Oh, yes, the God I serve is a God of miracles. I know he is. I am proof of it. I am a walking miracle!”
God heals the bodies of his people. And God heals the lives of his people. His name is Jehovah-rophi! But he has sent me to preach the gospel by which he heals the souls of men and women forever.
Through the preaching of the gospel, by the sovereign operations of his Spirit, by almighty grace —
· Christ still opens the eyes of the blind (Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Ephesians 1:18).
· He still causes the deaf to hear (Acts 16:14).
· God our Savior still causes the impotent and lame to run in the ways of God’s commandments (John 10:27-28). — “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.”
· The Christ of God still causes the dumb to speak and to sing (Psalms 32:5; 51:15).
Before the Lord saved me, I was spiritually blind and deaf, lame, and dumb. Dumb in a fourfold sense:
· I could not speak of God. (With knowledge).
· I would not speak for God. (In Praise).
· I dared not speak to God. (In Prayer).
· I had nothing to say!
But now, he has opened my mouth and loosed my tongue
· To Confess Him!
· To Call upon Him!
· To Sing His Praise!
2nd — The Lord God pours out his Spirit in Almighty, saving grace and power in the most unlikely places. — “For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” — (John 7:38; Isaiah 32:15; Acts 10:44; 1 Corinthians. 1:26-31) — Who is elected? The least likely! — David.
(1 Corinthians 1:26-31) For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (27) But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; (28) And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: (29) That no flesh should glory in his presence. (30) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (31) That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
3rd — What are we to learn from these two verses of Holy Scripture?
The only difference between God’s elect and the rest of the world is the difference that grace makes (1 Corinthians 4:7).
· We were blind. He made us see.
· We were deaf. He caused us to hear his voice.
· We were lame. He caused us to come to him and follow him.
· We were dumb. He caused us to show forth his praise (1 Corinthians 15:10).
· We were dead, He gave us life (Ezekiel 16 and 37).
Learn this too. Grace does change people, but not the way you think (2 Corinthians 5:17).
· God’s grace is almighty, irresistible, and saving (Psalm 65:4).
· You and I have great reason to adore, praise, and honor our great God for his great grace. — He saved us (1 Corinthans6:9-11, 19-20).
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (11) And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20) What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (20) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
· The knowledge of God’s almighty grace should encourage and inspire us as we seek the salvation of others.
Illustration: “I have never despaired of any man’s salvation since the Lord saved me.”
(John Newton to William Jay)
Illustration: Barnard at Old Faithful
“There is a fountain!” #222