Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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NEW YEAR’S EVE – Isaiah 30:8-17 “BE WARNED, BE BLESSED”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text for this evening is the Old Testament Lesson just read, from Is. 30.  We begin with prayer.

 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ:

  • Our text is full of warnings. It also relates God will and promise to us as to how we may find blessedness – through faith in Him. 
  • It is very surprising how often in the Scriptures, the people of Israel are described as “a rebellious people.” In our thinking, and our expectations, we would assume the people of God to be faithful, loyal to God, committed to His Word and His ways.  But it was rarely if ever so.
  • This description, of the temptations, trials, and failings of God’s people is very helpful to us – that we not become overly confident in ourselves, and that we always humbly submit to God and to His Word.
  • Today, both outside of the church as well as inside some churches what Isaiah described is going on full blast – rejection of God’s Word, rejection of true and genuine prophecy [preaching and teaching], and an utterly cynical unwillingness to hear about “the Holy One of Israel.”
  • This is the nature of the times in which we are living. Most of the people around us have rejected or forsaken God, just as on one occasion most of Jesus’ disciples left Him, and no longer walked with Him [John 6].  His question to His disciples at that time is always applicable to us, especially in this corrupt and fallen age.   Jesus simply asked:  “Will you also go away?”
  • Isaiah warns against this and encourages us to continue on in our faith and trust in Jesus, and in our Heavenly Father. And so we first:

 

I.  Consider God’s Word To The Rebellious, To Those Lying And Rejecting God’s Word, And Perverting The Ministry Of The Prophets – Disaster Is Coming

 

Text:  “Go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever.  For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,” and to the prophets ‘do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophecy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One Of Israel. . . .  Therefore because you despise this Word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse; whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant; and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found large enough to take fire from the heart, or to dip up water out of the cistern.”

 

Statement:  Now remember, this is not God’s will for any human being.  He swears by Himself:  “As I live, declares the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his ways and live.” [Ezek. 33:11]  This is the constant message of the prophets of God to His people of old.  Yet they rebelled and rejected His Word, and even attempted to pervert and threaten God’s prophets.  And you see what follows rejection of God’s Word – “oppression and perverseness.”

 

Application:  Is this not what we see all around us in the world today?  And is this not perfectly in line with those church bodies today who allow for abortions, homosexuality, and other evils, and who speak no more the Word of the Holy One of Israel.  They also are cynical and rebellious – and alter His Word as they see fit!  And so the “breaking” and “ruthless smashing” are on the way.  Let us take care not to join them, not to participate with them, and to be well clear of them when the wrath of God falls upon them. 

 

Transition:  And these times will be trying for us as well, for we stand in opposition to, and in condemnation of, the world around us, and especially of those “churches” which have rejected much of the Scriptures of God.  And yet, Isaiah assures us that:

 

II.  There Is Still Salvation And Strength To Be Had

 

Text:  “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’”

 

Statement:  Rather than rejecting and despising God’s prophetic Word, we can believe it, trust in God, and embrace His Word.  By such faith we are “returning and resting,” confessing our sins in repentance, turning from them – from oppression and perverseness – and resting ourselves in the gracious love, mercy, forgiveness, and kindness of God.  You remember Jesus’ invitation:  “Come unto Me all you who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 

 

Application:  This is God’s good and gracious will for us, for He wills all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Even at this time in Israel’s history, through the prophet Isaiah God warns people and invites them find their rest in Him, in His gracious love.  Now it is our time – may God grant that we do embrace His Word, that we return to Him in repentance, and that we rest ourselves in His love.  In this “quietness and trust” we will find our strength for life in these challenging times.

 

Conclusion:  As the years roll by, God’s Word, His call to repent, His gracious invitation to His forgiveness and salvation, are proclaimed in the world.  It is the “narrow way and few there be who enter therein.”  By God’s gracious love we are in this “way,” in the Lord Jesus Christ Who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” 

 

We are among the few, the blessed.  Let us take great care not to allow the cynicism and unbelief of others to lure us away from God. Rather, let us cling fast to His Word, to His great love.  In this way we will be spared what is coming upon the unbelieving and cynical – swift and ruthless destruction.  We make this commitment as we contemplate another year of life in God’s kingdom.  Amen.     

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting.  Amen.