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Sermon #2269                                                                     Miscellaneous Sermons


      Title:                     A Command and a Promise


      Text:                                  Isaiah 42:1-4

      Subject:               Christ’s Sure Success

      Date:                                Tuesday Evening — April 5, 2016

      Readings:           Allen Kibby and Merle Hart



You will find my text in the 42nd chapter of the book of Isaiah — Isaiah 42:1-4. The title of my message is — A Command and a Promise. — My text is Isaiah 42 verses 1-4. Isaiah was a prophet who lived more than 700 years before the Lord Jesus Christ was born at Bethlehem; but he often sounds more like an apostle than a prophet. He often speaks about the person and work of our blessed Savior in such detail that we might think he was an eye-witness of those things. We might well call Isaiah the prophet of redemption, and might well refer to his prophecy as the Gospel of Isaiah. By the providence of God, his very name (Isaiah) indicates his message, for Isaiah means “Salvation is of the Lord!” — Have you found my text — Isaiah 42:1-4? Let’s read it together.


(Isaiah 42:1-4) “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (2) He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. (3) A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (4) He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.”


Proposition: In these four verses the Lord God calls for us to behold our Savior with confident faith, assuring us that the Lord Jesus Christ is, and will forever be, successful and triumphant in everything he has undertaken as the Servant of Jehovah. — With him who is Jehovah’s Servant failure is an impossibility! — With him who is our Savior, failure is impossible!


Divisions: There are two things in this passage to which I call your attention:

1.    God’s Command — “Behold my Servant!

2.    God’s Promise — “He shall not fail!


God’s Command


1stHere is a call, a command, from the Lord God to you and me.Behold my Servant!


This command is given indiscriminately. God says to us all, saints and sinners, believers and unbelievers, saved people and lost people, “Behold my Servant!

Š      Behold him with the eye of Faith. To behold him is to trust him (Isaiah 45:22).

Š      Behold him with an admiring heart. To behold him of whom this text speaks is to admire him.

Š      Behold him whatever your need! I promise you, whatever your soul needs you will obtain as you behold the Lord Jesus Christ!

Š      Behold him in grateful memory (1 Corinthians 9:15). As the saints of God in the Old Testament beheld him in expectation, let us now behold him in holy remembrance.


Five Things


Here, in verses 1-3, the Lord God calls for us to behold five things about our blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.


1.    Behold the great and marvelous humiliation of Christ (v. 1).


Behold my Servant!” — We are not left to determine for ourselves who this one is that Jehovah calls “My Servant.” Our Savior himself tells us that this prophecy describes him and that he came to fulfil it (Matthew 12:17-21).


(Matthew 12:17-21) “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, (18) Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. (19) He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. (20) A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. (21) And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.”


Though our Savior is himself God the Son, in every way equal with the Father, he took on him the form of a servant and became obedient even unto death, even the death of the cross, that he might redeem and save God’s elect (Philippians 2:5-8). The Lord of glory took upon himself our nature. Manhood was forever taken into union with Godhood in the incarnation!


(Philippians 2:5-8) “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (6) Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: (7) But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: (8) And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”


Our Lord Jesus Christ came into this world as Jehovah’s Servant. He came to do the will of his Father, voluntarily subjecting himself to the will, work, and law of God as our Representative (Hebrews. 10:5-14).


(Hebrews 10:5-14) “Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: (6) In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. (7) Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (8) Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; (9) Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (11) And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (12) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (14) For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.”


By his free, voluntary subjection to his Father and his obedience to his Father’s will, our Savior also gave us an example to follow. — “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”


2.    Our Savior was chosen of God for the work he was to perform. Mine Elect.”


The Lord Jesus is not only God’s dear Son and his only begotten Son, and as such one with the Father in the essence of the Godhead, but he is also God’s Elect in his office capacity as our Mediator. He stepped forward in the Covenant of Grace as our eternal Surety and volunteered himself for this great work, volunteered himself as a Sacrifice for us; but he did not thrust himself into the work. — He was called and chosen of God to perform it. God the Father saw his Son as the only one suitable to the task, and he chose him to perform it. The humanity of Christ was chosen, ordained, and sanctified by the Triune God for the purpose of redeeming us. — “A body hast thou prepared me!


As the God-man, he was set up and foreordained as the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. He was chosen to be…

Š      The One Mediator between God and Men.

Š      The One Sacrifice God could Justly Accept for the Remission of Sins.

Š      The Head of an Elect Race.


“Christ be my first Elect,” He said,

Then chose our souls in Christ our Head,

Before He gave the mountains birth,

Or laid foundations for the earth.

Thus did eternal love begin

To raise us up from death and sin!”


Š      The Son of God was chosen to be the Substitute, Surety, and Savior of his people.

Š      He was chosen to be the Foundation and Cornerstone of his Temple.


All of this Christ was chosen to be and do before the world began, long before his sacred humanity was formed by the Holy Ghost in the womb of a virgin.

Š      Before we sinned in our father Adam, Christ was chosen and accepted as our Savior.

Š      Before we ever broke God’s holy law, Christ volunteered and was chosen and accepted as our Atonement.

Š      Before we became sinners, Christ was chosen and accepted as our Righteousness.

Š      Before there was a kingdom, Christ was the chosen King!


3.    Throughout the time of his humiliation the Lord Jesus Christ was upheld and sustained in his work by God the Father.Whom I uphold” — “Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Hebrews 5:7). — So real was his manhood that as a man our Savior required the help of God (Isaiah 50:4-9)


(Isaiah 50:4-7) “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. (5) The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. (6) I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (7) For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.”


(Isaiah 50:8-9) “He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? Let us stand together: who is mine adversary? Let him come near to me. (9) Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? Lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.”


In the wilderness of temptation and in the Garden of Gethsemane the manhood of Christ was upheld and strengthened by the Triune Jehovah. Though he was necessarily forsaken by his Father when he was made sin for us upon the cursed tree, even there, as he sustained all the wrath of God, his human nature was upheld by his Divine nature so that he did not sink beneath the enormous load of guilt, and sin, and sorrow, and shame. Being thus sustained, he bore the wrath of God, all of it, for us, until justice could demand no more!


These words, “whom I uphold,” might be translated, “upon whom I lean.” Translated that way they show us the confidence God placed in his Son as the Surety and Savior of his people (Ephesians 1:12).


4.    God the Father was and is well-pleased with his Son. — Mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth.

Š      From All Eternity (Proverbs 8:24-30).

Š      In His Life of Obedience (Matthew 3:17, 17:5).

Š      With His Sacrifice (Ephesians 5:2).


And the Lord God is delighted and well-pleased with us in Christ, his Son (Ephesians 1:6; 1 Peter 2:5; Ecclesiastes 9:7). Let every sinner saved by grace be delighted with and in Christ. Rest, my soul, upon him! Rejoice, my heart, in him! — Surely, he who is God’s delight must be our delight! Commenting upon this passage, Robert Hawker wrote…


“Oh! How much must the redemption of our nature have been upon the heart of Jehovah from everlasting, when he that from all eternity lay in the bosom of the Father, is chosen to come forth for the salvation of his people; and God the Father speaks of him as loving him with his whole soul for this great undertaking!”


5.    Behold, now, the work our Savior came to perform.He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles!


The Gentile nations were held in darkness, held in the bondage of ignorance and religious superstition by Satan, until Christ came. He gave light to them that sat in darkness. And now he is gathering his elect from the four corners of the earth.


How does he “bring forth judgment to the Gentiles?” — He magnified the law and made it honorable (v. 21).

Š      By His Obedience to its Demands in His Life!

Š      By His Satisfaction of its Justice in His Death!

And he still brings forth judgment (righteousness) to the Gentiles by the preaching of the gospel (Romans 1:15-17). He brings judgment (justice, the just verdict of righteousness) to his elect scattered over all the earth.


(Romans 1:15-17) “So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. (16) For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. (17) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”


Behold the Qualification of Christ for the Work of Redemption. I have put my Spirit upon him.” — As a man, our Savior was filled with the Holy Ghost above measure and without measure. This is that Holy Anointing which qualified him to be our Prophet, Priest, and King (Luke 4:18-21).


Behold also the voluntary nature of our Savior’s obedience-(v. 2).


(Isaiah 42:2) “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.)


I repeat what I said before. — It is true our Lord Jesus was chosen, ordained and appointed for his work by God the Father, but he was not forced, or compelled to be obedient. He voluntarily subjected himself to his Fathers will. The Son of God voluntarily…

Š      Came into this world (Psalm 40:7-8).

Š      Gave himself up into the hands of his enemies to be crucified (John 18:8; Isaiah 50:5-7).

Š      Suffered all the agonies of the cross (Matthew 27:34).

Š      Laid down his life and died for us (John 10:17-18; Matthew 27:50).

Š      Why? Because he loved the Father!

Š      Why? Because he loved us!


Behold the tenderness and compassion of our dear Savior (v. 3).


(Isaiah 42:3) “A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”


The God-man, now seated in glory is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows that we are but flesh.

Š      God’s elect, when broken before him are here compared to a “bruised reed,” weak and worthless in themselves. But Christ is tender to their tender souls. He will not break you, but only strengthen you.

Š      God’s elect, when convicted of sin by his grace, are like the “smoking flax” of a candle that has just been lit, or the smoldering wick of a lantern that appears to be going out. Christ will never quench the tender spirit.

Left to ourselves, the bruised reed would soon break, the smoking flax would quickly be quenched; but Christ will not leave us to ourselves!


This is God’s command. — “Behold my Servant!” Do you now behold him? Do you know this Christ? Behold the Son of God with the eye of faith. “Behold my Servant!


God’s Promise


2nd Here is God’s promise concerning his Son He shall not fail!” — O Holy Spirit of God, seal this promise of God to our hearts and give us grace, day by day, to rest in it. — “He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth; and the isles shall wait for his law” (v. 4).


Isaiah here records God’s promise concerning his Son. — He shall not fail nor be discouraged till”…

Š      He has Established Righteousness, Redeemed His People.

Š      Those for whom He Has Established Righteousness shall wait to Hear His Word — A generation shall serve him. — His Redeemed Ones shall be saved.


(Matthew 12:20-21) “A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. (21) And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.”


This is the promise of God concerning his Son. Whatever our Lord Jesus has undertaken shall be performed. Whatever commission he has received as Jehovah’s Servant shall be accomplished. He will perfectly fulfil his work. We are sometimes very doubtful. We get concerned and discouraged about the cause of Christ. But our fears are ill-founded. The ark of God is safe! Behold him who is the Head of all things, the Director of Heaven and Earth, the One upon whose shoulders God has laid the business of salvation. Behold him and be comforted. We may fail. We do fail. We will fail. But he cannot fail! We get discouraged; but Christ is not discouraged.

Š      He shall accomplish every promise of grace!

Š      He shall fulfil every purpose of God!


I believe in the final perseverance of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe in the final perseverance of every believer. I believe in the final perseverance of the church as a whole. — “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” — But this is a far greater thought. —— I believe in the final perseverance of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Son of God has come to save his own elect; and he will save them everyone! Not one soul for whom he is Surety and Substitute shall ever perish. — Our great Boaz, our mighty Kinsman Redeemer, will not rest until he has performed the thing!


Let me show you the success of Christ in his work in two parts: in what he has done and in what he will yet do. The Bible makes it perfectly clear that the Lord Jesus Christ has undertaken and came into this world to accomplish certain things. And here the Lord God says, “He shall not fail!


When Isaiah wrote these words he was looking into the future and said, “He shall not fail!” Now we look back to the past and say, “He has not failed!” (John 17:2; 19:30).

Š      To Fulfil all the Old Testament Scriptures — Prophecies and Types!

Š      To Bring in Perfect, Everlasting Righteousness!

Š      To Redeem His People!


Any redemption other than particular, effectual redemption presents Christ a failure. To say that Christ suffered to redeem and save some who are finally lost in hell is to declare that, as both Noel Smith and Jerry Falwell put it, “Hell is a colossal trophy and monument to the failures of the Triune God to save the multitudes who are there.” But that cannot be. Christ has not failed…

Š      To bear our sins!

Š      To satisfy the infinite wrath and justice of God for our sins!

Š      To put away our sins (Hebrews 1:3; 9:26).

Š      To Crush the Serpent’s Head.


I will go a step further and tell you that the Son of God has not failed to do me good, as he promised he would. I speak from experience. I tell you only what I know to be true. The Son of God has never failed…

Š      To meet my Needs!

Š      To Protect His Child!

Š      To Sustain My Soul!

Š      To Comfort My Heart!

Š      To Deliver Me From Evil!

Š      To Be Faithful To This Sinner!


Let me tell you one more thing the Christ of God has never failed to do. — He has never failed to receive any sinner who came to him in faith!


(Luke 9:11) “And the people, when they knew it, followed him: and he received them, and spake unto them of the kingdom of God, and healed them that had need of healing.”


There are some things which we are assured our Lord Jesus Christ will never fail to perform.I do not know much about prophecy; but I do know that there are some things spoken of in the Book of God which Christ shall not fail to do. — He shall not fail”…

Š      To save every soul given to him in the covenant of grace (John 6:37-39; 10:16). — Until he find it!

Š      To sovereignly rule all things for the good of his people.

Š      To keep his own.

Š      To present you faultless before the presence of his glory.

Š      To come again and make all things new.


In a word- Jesus Christ shall never fail to get glory to his own great nameJehovah (Isaiah 63:12, 14).


(Isaiah 63:12-14) “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.


How do we know that Christ shall never fail?

Š      This text promises it!

Š      God has ordained it! — “He must reign!

Š      He has all power and authority needed to accomplish it!

Š      His glory requires it!




This is God’s command. — “Behold my Servant!” — Behold the Lamb of God, O poor, guilty sinner, and live forever! — Behold the triumphant Christ, weary pilgrim, and take courage. — Take this word of confidence home with you and rejoice. Rejoice and be of good cheer.


This is God’s promise. — “He shall not fail!


(Isaiah 55:11-12) “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (12) For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”


Let this word of God be echoed in your heart as you…

Š      Witness to lost sinners.

Š      Go about your service.

Š      Face your trials.

Š      Seek to live in this world for the glory of God.








Don Fortner








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