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Sermon #2274 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Christ’s Covenant Commission
Text: Isaiah 42:5-9
Subject: Christ’s Commission as our Surety
Date: Tuesday Evening — April 19, 2016
Readings: Mark Daniel and Allen Kibby
Let’s open our Bibles again to the Gospel of Isaiah. My text is Isaiah 42:5-9. I want, as God the Holy Ghost will enable me, to preach to you about Christ’s Covenant Commission — Christ’s Covenant Commission. That’s the title of my message.
In the opening verses of this chapter the Lord God calls for us to behold his elect Servant, whom he has from eternity appointed to the work of redeeming and saving his people, the One in whom his soul delights. The One of whom he speaks is our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:15-21). In the first four verses this 42nd chapter the Lord God tells us four things about our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, as his Servant. — These things were written by God’s prophet Isaiah more than 750 years before the incarnation of our Redeemer!
1. He will bring righteousness to the Gentiles (v. 1).
(Isaiah 42:1) “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 will be a meek, voluntary Servant to the will of God (v. 2).
(Isaiah 42:20 “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.”
3. He will be a tender, compassionate 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.”
4. He will be effectual in all his work. — “He shall not fail!” (v. 4).
(Isaiah 42:4) “He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.”
The Lord Jesus Christ is an appointed Savior, a qualified Savior, a willing Savoir, and an able, effectual, almighty Savior. — “He shall not fail!”
That revelation is enough to flood our hearts with joy, praise, thanksgiving, and adoration. — What a great Savior! — What a great salvation!
Divine Council Chambers
In our text (vv. 5-9) we are allowed to overhear the Almighty Jehovah, the eternal Father addressing his co-equal, co-eternal Son. The subject being discussed is the work of Christ as our covenant Surety. — Ineffable mystery! What a stupendous privilege! You and I are here admitted into the council chamber of the Most High!
(Isaiah 42:5-9) “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: (6) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; (7) To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. (8) I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. (9) Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
Surely, if Moses was commanded to put off his shoes before the presence of God in the bush, we must bow with profound reverence as we listen to the God of heaven giving his commission to his only dear Son regarding the redemption and salvation of his people.
When we start to talk about the covenant of grace, some people close their minds, thinking that we are intruding into hidden, speculative points of theology which are of no interest to them. I hope none of you think like that. What can be more interesting or edifying than contemplating the covenant offices and work of our Lord Jesus Christ and his ability to perform them? Could a blind man have no interest in one who could give him sight? Could a helpless, condemned prisoner have no interest in one who has the right and power to pardon him and set him free? Certainly not! How much more is that once blind man interested in knowing about his sight giver, and that freed prisoner in knowing about his great liberator?
All our hope of life and grace arise from the covenant of redemption and grace and Christ’s fulfilment of that blessed covenant. Let us then acquaint ourselves with that covenant. Let us consider the contracting parties of the covenant and their solemn engagements for our souls. Let us lay hold of that covenant, revealed and fulfilled by Christ, and say with David, “this is all my salvation and all my desire.”
Preposition: There is an everlasting covenant of grace by which the Triune God arranged, accomplished, and secured the salvation of his elect from eternity.
Š The Blood of Christ is “the blood of the everlasting covenant” (Hebrews 13:20).
Š All the blessings of grace and salvation are covenant blessings (Ephesians 1:3-14; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Hebrews 10:16-17).
Š All that God’s elect experience in time was agreed upon and worked out between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit before time began (Romans 8:29-30; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 1 Peter 1:1-2).
Divisions: In our text, Isaiah 42:5-9, the Lord God himself answers every question we might ask about the everlasting covenant of grace.
1. Who made this covenant? (v. 5)
2. For whom was this covenant made? (vv. 6-7)
3. What was Christ commissioned to do in the covenant? (vv. 6-7)
4. Why does God save sinners the way he does, by covenant grace? (v. 8)
5. What assurance do we have that the Lord God will fulfil and perform everything promised in the covenant? (v. 9)
1st — Who made this covenant? Who are the contracting parties of the covenant? We find the answer to those questions in verse 5.
(Isaiah 42:5) “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein.”
Here the Lord God makes himself known by several royal titles which distinguish him from the gods of man’s making. — “Thus saith God the Lord.” Who is God the Lord? He is the Fountain of all being and the fountain of all power!
Š He created the heavens and stretched them out. — He sustains them!
Š He created the earth and all that comes of it. — He rules it!
Š He gives the breath of life to all people.
Š He gives spirit to all who walk upon the earth. — A rational, reasonable, intelligent spirit to man, distinguishing him from brute beasts. — His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life and Grace to whom he will.
He who is God indeed, is the God of the covenant. The Lord God, our God, God who is the Lord is our covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. This is our great, Triune God.
Š God — The Almighty — God the Father
Š The Lord — Jehovah — God the Son
Š Spirit — God the Spirit
2nd — For whom was this covenant made? Who are the benefactors of this great covenant? Who are its beneficiaries? Verses 5 and 6 are the words of God the Father to his Son in the covenant of grace. In these verses we see a description of the people for whom the covenant was made, the people for whom all the blessings and benefits of the covenant were designed, the people God saves by his grace.
(Isaiah 42:5-6) “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: (6) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.”
“The People” — It seems obvious to me that the Lord God is here talking about the people to whom he gives his Holy Spirit in the new birth in the mighty saving operations of his grace. These people are “the people” of God’s love, choice, purpose, and grace, the people redeemed by “the blood of the everlasting covenant,” the people purchased by the precious blood of Christ. These are God’s elect, the people for whom he made, rules, and sustains the universe (Romans 8:29-30; John 6:37-39; 10:16; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 2 Peter 3:9).
(Romans 8:29-30) “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
(John 6:37-39) “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (39) And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”
(John 10:16) “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
(1 Peter 1:1-2) “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, (2) Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
(2 Peter 3:9) “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Christ Jesus, our blessed covenant Surety, was commissioned of God, the Triune Jehovah, to save his people, “the people.” And all “the people” he came to save are “the people” he finds blind and sitting in darkness, fallen, depraved, and lost!
Š Blind about Themselves.
Š Blind about God.
Š Blind to Grace and Salvation.
Š Lost in the Darkness of Ignorance and Superstition.
And the people he was commissioned to save, when he comes to save them, are prisoners, condemned, bound under the just sentence of death.
Š Captives of Satan.
Š Condemned Felons under the Curse of the Law.
Š Shackled by their own Lusts.
Š Held in the Prison House of Darkness.
In a word, the people God has chosen to save, for whom God made the covenant, the people whom Christ came to save are men and women utterly lost, condemned, helpless, and hopeless by nature.
Š Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost!
Š Christ came to save sinners!
Š Christ came to set the captive free!
Have I described you? If I have, God has made a covenant for you, a covenant of pure, free, saving grace!
Š Show me a sinner, and I will show you a chosen sinner.
Š Show me a condemned man, and I will show you a redeemed man.
Š Show me a lost man, and I will show you a found man.
“When Adam by transgression fell,
And conscious, fled his Maker’s face,
Linked in clandestine league with hell,
He ruined all his future race.
The seeds of evil once brought in,
Increased and filled the world with sin.
But lo! The Second Adam came,
The serpent’s subtle head to bruise;
He cancels his malicious claim,
And disappoints his devilish views;
Ransomed poor sinners with His blood,
And brings the sinner back to God.
[To understand these things aright,
This grand distinction must be known:
Though all are sinners in God’s sight,
There are but few so in their own.
To such as these our Lord was sent;
They’re only sinners who repent.]
[What comfort can a Savior bring
To those who never felt their woe?
A sinner is a sacred thing;
The Holy Ghost hath made him so.
New life from Him we must receive,
Before for sin we rightly grieve.]
This faithful saying let us own,
Well worthy ‘tis to be believed,
That Christ into the world came down,
That sinners might by Him be saved.
Sinners are high in His esteem,
And sinners highly value Him.”
— Joseph Hart
3rd — What was Christ commissioned to do in the Covenant of Grace? What was our Surety sent to accomplish? — Though our Lord Jesus Christ is God, in all things equal with the Father, as a Man he came into this world as Jehovah’s Servant, our Divine Surety (Philippians 2:5-8), voluntarily assuming all responsibility as our Representative, Surety and Mediator in the Covenant of Grace (Isaiah 50: 5-7; John 10:16-18; Hebrew 10:5-14).
(Isaiah 50:5-7) “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.”
(John 10:15-18) “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (16) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. (18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
(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.”
As Our Surety and Mediator in the Covenant of Grace the Son of God received a commission from his Father. — The first covenant which was revealed was the covenant God made with Adam in the Garden. That covenant was quickly broken. But there was a covenant made in anticipation of Adam’s fall. That is the covenant I am talking about now — The Covenant of Grace. This covenant was made for us. But it was made with Christ, our Covenant Head and Representative.
God’s own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ was commissioned to undertake and accomplish the great work of salvation for his people (John 10:16-18). The terms of the covenant were simple.— The Son of God must make his soul an offering for sin and God the Father would give him the people he purchased for his reward (Isaiah 53:10-12; John 17). — Christ our Surety agreed and became responsible to:
Š Bring in Everlasting Righteousness for His People!
Š Satisfy Divine Justice for Our Sins!
Š Make an End of Sin!
Š Save God’s Elect!
When God the Father said, “I will give thee for a Covenant of the people,” he was saying, “My Son, you alone can do this work, you alone can meet the conditions of the covenant, and the only way fallen men can receive the blessings and benefits of this covenant is in you, by the infinite, indisputable merit of your blood and righteousness.”
Š We cannot obtain the covenant blessings except by laying hold of Christ by faith.
Š The Triune Jehovah trusted Christ and accepted him as Christ is the Covenant.
Š Christ and you get all the covenant blessings!
Christ, being our Surety, became responsible to effectually save his people (Hebrews 8:6; 7:22).
Š The Servant is responsible for the household.
Š The Shepherd is responsible for the sheep.
Š The Surety is responsible for those he represents.
(Hebrews 8:6) “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”
(Hebrews 7:22) “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.”
The bringing of light and liberty to his people is Christ’s work and his responsibility. — Christ brings light and opens the blind eyes!
Š By His Word.
Š By His Spirit.
Š By the Revelation of Himself.
Illustration: The Scottish Covenanter Girl
Our mighty Christ, the Mediator of the Covenant, our great Surety brings liberty to the captives.
Š By the Power of His Spirit through the Word.
Š By His Resurrection Power in the last day.
Illustration: Peter — Acts 12:4-10
(Acts 12:1-16) “Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. (2) And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. (3) And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) (4) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. (5) Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. (6) And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. (7) And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. (8) And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. (9) And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. (10) When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. (11) And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews. (12) And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying. (13) And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. (14) And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. (15) And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. (16) But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.”
“Salvation is of the Lord!” He planned it. He performs it! He perfects it!
Christ’s covenant engagements are sure. — We are assured that “he shall not fail” to perform his covenant engagements by the fact that all the Godhead is engaged to bring it to pass.
God the Father called his Son to the work and assisted him in it. — “In Righteousness!”
Š To Perform His Righteous Promises.
Š To Fulfill His Righteous Purposes.
Š To Bring in Everlasting Righteousness.
God the Son performed the work of Grace for Us.
Š His Obedience in Life.
Š The Death He Accomplished!
Š His Providential Rule.
Š His Heavenly Intercession.
Five bleeding wounds He bears;
Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers;
They strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”
God the Holy Spirit, gives Christ for a covenant to the people. — The Seal and the Earnest (Ephesians. 1:13-14).
(Ephesians 1:12-14) “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. (13) In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, (14) Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
4th — Why does God save sinners the way he does, by a covenant totally independent of us? — He saves by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, that “no flesh should glory in his presence” (v. 8).
(Isaiah 42:8) “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”
Š God will not share his glory with graven images.
Š God will not share his glory with man.
Š “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord!”
(1 Corinthians 1:30-31) “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.”
(Psalm 115:1) “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake.”
5th — What assurance do we have that the Lord God will perform everything promised in the Covenant? — Read verse 9.
(Isaiah 42:9) “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
We are here assured of the certain accomplishment of all the covenant by God’s past performance of his Word. — Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian Bondage! — His Fulfilment of His Covenant with Abraham (Joshua 21:43-45; 23:14). — And we are assured that our God will perform his covenant by his everlasting faithfulness and immutability.
Pay attention to the way the Lord God here describes his gospel revelations — “New things do I declare!”
Š A New and Living Way!
Š A New Creation!
Š A New Relationship! (1 John 3:1).
Š A New Heavens and a New Earth!
Š A New Name!
Š A New Song!
(2 Samuel 23:5) “Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.”