Sermon #1681 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Another Worm
Text: Isaiah 41:14
Subject: Fears Removed
Readings: Larry Criss and Bobbie Estes
Date: Tuesday Evening — May 1, 2007
Tape # Z-25b
(Isaiah 41:10-20) “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (11) Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. (12) Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. (13) For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (14) Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. (15) Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. (16) Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel. (17) When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. (18) I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. (19) I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: (20) That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.”
I tried to preach to you Sunday morning from our Savior’s words in Psalm 22:6, — “I am a worm, and no man.” Tonight, I want to talk to you about another worm. We have read Isaiah 41:10-20. I want to take for my text the words of God our Savior in verse 14: — “Fear not, thou worm Jacob.” The word translated worm here is the same word our Savior used to describe himself in Psalm 22:6. This is God’s message to his believing people in this world.
Though we are often troubled and tried, persecuted and perplexed, tempted and trampled upon in this world, our God says to you and me, “Fear not, thou worm Jacob.” — The purpose and object of our Savior in this passage is to silence the fears of his people and encourage us to confidently trust him in the teethe of trouble and adversity.
Proposition: It is contrary to the mind of our God for his people to be a timid, fearful, anxious people; and to suppress our fears he assures us of his constant presence, power, and provision.
Three times God says to us, “Fear not, thou worm Jacob” (vv. 10, 13, and 14). It appears to me that God would have us walk before him without fear!
· Though your enemies are many and mighty, “fear not.” — God is greater than your enemies.
· Though your afflictions are painful and protracted, “fear not.” — The Lord will deliver you.
· Though your path of duty is demanding and dangerous “fear not.” — Your God will uphold you and help you.
· Though the fulfillment of God’s promises cannot be seen, “fear not.” — Not one promise of God shall fall to the ground.
Divisions: I will give you my message in five simple statements.
1. We are all weak and helpless worms before God.
2. But there is hope for worms.
3. We are the worms, we are worms of God’s choice.
4. Though we are but worms, we have no cause for fear.
5. It is God’s great pleasure and great glory to use worms for the accomplishment of his purposes.
Worms before God
First, we are all weak and helpless worms before God. — What can be more loathsome than a worm? The word “worm” here means “maggot.” No one wants to touch a maggot. The thought of those vile, disgusting, dirty, disease-ridden, disease-spreading creatures makes our skin crawl. Yet, this is the word God used to describe us! And it is an accurate description!
The humanist, the naturalist, and the self-righteous religionist considers this a great insult. He says, “I am not a worm. I am a man. And I am somebody!” We love to sing that great hymn written by Isaac Watts over 300 years ago…
“Alas! And did my Savior bleed,
And did my sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?”
But if you look in most modern hymnals, published by the various denominations, you will find that the hymn has been changed to read, “For sinners such as I,” or even, “For such a one as I.” The word “worm” is just too offensive to human pride! But worms we are nonetheless.
· A worm is a dirty, despicable thing.
· A worm is a weak and helpless creature, incapable of defending itself.
· A worm belongs to and is at home in the muck and mire of the earth.
· A worm, being easily trampled upon and crushed to death, is always exposed to danger.
· A worm is of no value or concern to anyone.
Who ever wept over stepping on a worm? Who ever missed a worm that has been killed? Who ever even took notice of a worm? — When God declares that man is a worm, he means for us to understand that we are all by nature…
Take your place as a worm before the holy Lord God. — It will help you to get along with one another. Who ever heard of fighting worms? Hanging upon the cursed tree as our Substitute, our Savior cried, “I am a worm, and no man.” Shall we, for whom he suffered and died, esteem ourselves higher than he esteemed himself? Yet, we act more like snakes than worms. Strike at a snake and he will lift his angry head, hiss at you, and strike back. Strike at a worm, and what does he do? Nothing. The worm is a humble creature, without any inclination or ability to defend itself or attack another. It is totally dependent upon its Creator. It’s only defense is to retreat and take refuge. May God give us that spirit. It is the spirit of Christ. Let us, when attacked, retreat to and take refuge in him. He alone is our Rock, our Salvation, and our Defense
You cannot claim the promises of this chapter unless you meet the character of the one to whom the promise is made. All the promises given in this passage are promises of God to worms.
Hope for Worms
But, second, I want you to see that there is hope for worms. — We recognize that we are indeed worms. Men and women who, by the grace of God, have been made to know themselves know that they are wretched, weak, worthless worms. For us to be called worms, maggots, is to insult those lofty creatures who never sinned against God and compliment us! Yet, vile, base, and disgusting as we are, we take our proper place in the dunghill before God as worms, knowing that there is hope for worms.
The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God when he was made sin for us and hung upon the cross as our Substitute, became a worm, so that he might lift worms like us from the dung heap of fallen humanity and transform us into the sons of God. — He cried, “I am a worm, and no man” (Psalm 22:6).
· He was abased, that we might be exalted.
· He was cursed, that we might be blessed.
· He was made sin, a despicable thing, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, that we might be made delightful to God!
· He was crushed to death under the penalty of sin, that we might be raised to life and freed from sin.
Worms though we are, worms have a mouth by which they are able to bore their way into the strongest tree and penetrate to its very heart, finding both food and safety. — These worms, whom God calls “Jacob,” his own elect, with the mouth of prayer and supplication, crying unto God, are able to penetrate the very heart of Almighty God, finding in him both food and safety for their souls. (Luke 11: 5-13; Hebrews 4:16).
(Luke 11:5-13) “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; (6) For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? (7) And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. (8) I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. (9) And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (10) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (11) If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? (12) Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? (13) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”
(Hebrews 4:16) “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
Do not refuse to take this name, “worm.” Being worms identifies us with the Son of God in his most glorious character as the sinner’s Substitute. There is hope for worms! Even a poor worm can cry out to God for mercy and grace.
· Christ came to save worms!
· Christ died for worms!
· Christ has mercy on worms!
Not the righteous, not the righteous,
Worms, only worms, Jesus came to call!
Are you a worm? Worms are not proud creatures. No matter where they are found, no matter how they are used, they are just worms! We have nothing to be proud of (1 Corinthians 4:7).
(1 Corinthians 4:7) “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”
Sons of Jacob we are. That makes us worms. But, third, we are chosen worms, the worms of God’s choice. — God says, “Fear not, thou worm Jacob.” He speaks as though he were talking to one man. But he is addressing all his people. God calls us “Jacob.”
· Jacob was a wretched man, weak, and worthless in himself.
· Jacob was a man chosen, called and blessed by God.
· Jacob was a man to whom God had bound and obligated himself by a covenant.
· Jacob was a man to whom God revealed himself in omnipotent mercy.
Gladly I own, I am a worm,
Wretched weak, and worthless,
If God might take me as His own,
And tell me I am His!
No Reason for Fear
Fourth, though we are but worms, we have no cause for fear. — Notice in verse 14 that all three persons in the triune Godhead have avowed themselves helpers to this wretched, weak, worthless worm, Jacob.
· “I will help thee, saith the Lord.” — (Jehovah!) That is God our Father speaking.
· “I will help thee, saith…thy Redeemer.” — That is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, our Redeemer, speaking.
· “I will help thee, saith…The Holy One of Israel.” — That is God the Holy Spirit speaking.
11 Promises to Worms
“If God be for us, who can be against us?” — In this chapter the Lord God, the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, makes eleven promises by which he would both remove our fears and encourage us to trust him.
1. Verse 10 — Are you alone? God says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee,” not only within reach, but with you!
2. Are you dismayed, by the power of your enemies on the greatness of your trials, your weakness, and your sinfulness? The Lord says, “Be not dismayed; for I am thy God,” I am for you. (Romans 8: 28-39)
(Romans 8:28-39) “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (29) 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. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (36) As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. (37) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
3. Are you weak? Your God says, “I will strengthen thee.”
4. Are you destitute? God says, three times (vv. 10, 13, 14), “I will help thee.”
5. Are you about to fall, or already fallen? The Lord says, “I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
6. Are your enemies a terror to you? Your God says that he will confound them, bring them to nothing and slay them everyone. (vv. 11-12).
(Isaiah 41:11-12) “Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. (12) Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.”
7. Are you fearful of failure? The Lord your God says, “I will hold thy right hand” (v. 13). That means…
· I will walk hand in hand with you as your Father and your friend.
· I will guide you and lead you in your way (Proverbs 3:5-6).
(Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
· I will hold you up when you are weak and trembling.
· I will pick you up when you fall.
· God will silence your fears as you walk with him, “saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” He will say to you, to your heart, by his Spirit, “Fear not,” and make you hear his assuring promise, “I will help thee.” — In trial. — In temptation. — In the Path of Duty. — In Service to Him.
8. Are you now made to weep? “Thou shalt rejoice in the Lord” (v. 16). He will make you triumphant at last.
9. Are you now abased? “Thou shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel” (v. 16). Glory awaits you. You will yet glory in the Lord!
· In your Interest in Him!
· In your Relation to Him!
· In what He Has Done for You!
10. Do the heavens appear to be as brass to you? God says, “I the Lord will hear them” (v. 17).
11. Does it sometimes seem that God has forsaken you? He has not. He says, “I the God of Israel will not forsake them” (v. 17).
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Has laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can ye say, than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
Mark these promises and realize that, though you are a worm, you have a mighty and a great God, and you have no reason to fear anything or anyone, ever!
Fifth, it is God’s great glory and pleasure to use insignificant worms like you and me for the accomplishment of his purpose (vv. 15-19). These verses describe God’s people as an army that has been sent to war; but nothing is in jeopardy.
· Total victory is assured (vv. 15-16).
(Isaiah 41:15-16) “Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. (16) Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel.”
· Every provision has been made for our refreshment, comfort and success (vv. 17-19).
(Isaiah 41:17-19) “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. (18) I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. (19) I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together:”
The Lord God delights in taking weak worms as instruments in his hands and magnifying in them his holy, omnipotent power (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
(1 Corinthians 1:26-29) “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.”
What power a worm has when God is with him!
· Samson slew thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass (Judges 15:15-17).
· David killed Goliath with a rock and a slingshot (1 Samuel 16).
· Peter was the instrument by which God saved 3,000 men on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
Illustration: Reuben Askew, who used to be the governor of Florida, knowing his utter inability for such a great work, said “I bowed before God and asked him to help me.” When someone asked him, “How is it that you are so bold to speak for Christ in the legislature and political meetings?” he responded, “I was a Christian before I was elected governor. I shall be a Christian after I cease to be governor. I see no reason to change in between.”
There is nothing you and I cannot do, though we are mere worms, if the Lord God is with us (Philippians 4:13).
· No work is too great for the Lord our God!
· No trial is too hard for the Lord our God!
· No enemy is too powerful for the Lord our God!
· No obstacle is too big for the Lord our God!
· No burden is too heavy for the Lord our God!
The reason why God is pleased to use such worms as we are for the accomplishment of his purposes is that in this way, everybody will know that God did it. No flesh shall glory in his presence (v. 20).
(Isaiah 41:20) “That they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the LORD hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.”
Illustration: The Cherokee Indian in Oklahoma- “Why is your Jesus so important to you? Why do you talk about him so much? Why are you so devoted to him? What makes you think he is so great?” — The worm in the circle of fire.
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 Every time God allows me to preach, let me be certain that I…
1. Deliver a message. — Don’t ramble.
2. Deliver His message.
3. Tell only what I know by experience.
4. Deliver the message in the power of the Holy Spirit.
5. Make Christ the object of my message.
6. My motive is the glory of God.
7. Deliver the message in the language of the people.
8. The message grips my own heart. — If it doesn’t grip my heart, it won’t grip anyone else’s heart!
9. Preach in love.
10. Expect people to believe.