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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PENTECOST 16 – September 9, 2018 – Isaiah 35:4-7 “THE VENGEANCE OF GOD”

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Old Testament Lesson just read, from Isaiah 35.  We begin with prayer.

 

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • Vengeance is really a somewhat strange thing when it comes to God. Ordinarily we associate vengeance with things like “justice” and getting even with someone, or paying them back for some evil they have done.  It has to do with retribution, punishment, and pain. 
  • Certainly God is “just,” and certainly He has every right to seek this kind of “vengeance” upon us, upon every human being, for “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” [Rom. 3:23] And there surely will be a day of accounting for those who reject His love and insist upon remaining in commitment to evil. 
  • However, in this section of Holy Scripture, the announcement of God coming with vengeance and recompense is not intended to create fear and terror. Rather it is to strengthen “anxious hearts.”  The declaration is “fear not” – for God’s great blessings are coming.
  • The fulfillment of this prophecy is seen in the Gospel Lesson – as Jesus makes the tongue of the mute sing for joy, and as He opens the ears of the deaf. Of course, He also healed blind people, crippled people, and raised some from death.  Jesus is the fulfillment of this promise in our text of the coming “vengeance and recompense” of God, which is filled with blessings for us.
  • All of this calls us to think differently about sin and evil. Usually we think of our sin as part of our fallen nature, and something that we are in favor of, tempted by.  So we think that we ourselves must be under the wrath of God.  Actually, this is not so for believers – those who take shelter under God’s grace, mercy, and salvation.  For us, evil is a thing that afflicts us – even the sin within our nature.  It is not “us,” but something alien to us, something that seeks to destroy us.  God is going to deal with it, even as He has already forgiven us and saved us.  This is the gist of our text.  So let us remember that:

 

I.  The Vengeance And Recompense Of God Is Intended For Our Great Blessing

 

A.  The Purpose Is To Provide Us With Salvation

 

Text:  “Say to those who have an anxious heart [a repentant heart], ‘Be strong; fear not!  Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God.  He will come and save you.’”

 

B.  The Purpose Is To Provide Us With Inner Healing, And Strength Of Faith And Heart

 

Text:  “Say to those who have an anxious heart [a repentant heart], ‘Be strong; fear not!’”

 

C.  The Purpose Is To Provide Us With Healing For All Our Maladies And Woes

 

Text:  “The eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.  For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water.”

 

Statement:  Again, this prophecy has been fulfilled by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.  What He did in His earthly ministry is a foretaste of what is to come fully when He returns in glory.  What He has accomplished for our salvation – in His suffering and death on the cross – will remain in place forever.  Sins have been paid for, suffered fully for – as the punitive vengeance of God against our sins was directed toward and poured out upon Jesus. 

Application:  So we are to “be strong,” and to “fear not.”  Our “anxious hearts” are to be set at rest and peace – God has come to save us.  Now even His vengeance and recompense is in our favor – as He seeks to deal with the annoying and afflicting reality of sin in our lives, both our own sin and the sins others inflict upon us. 

 

Transition:  All of this is such good news for us, and it is intended for all human beings.  God wills all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, the truth of His love and salvation.  However, we must also understand that:

 

II.  The Vengeance And Recompense Of God Does Destroy All Evil

 

A.  God Will Destroy The Evil Hypocrisy Of Making Distinctions In Pride And Arrogance – Which Is Symptomatic Of Unbelief

 

Epistle:  “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.  For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

 

B.  God’s Vengeance Will Bring Woe And Condemnation For The Unbelieving And The Unloving

 

Epistle:  “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well.  But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”

 

Epistle:  “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?  Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?  So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

 

Statement:  The point is that “God has chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which He has promised to those who love Him.”  God’s forgiveness and salvation are provided equally for all people, and this universal grace removes all of the grounds that we typically use to “make distinctions,” whether that be wealth, education, family background, skin color, or sinful tendencies. 

 

Application:   Likewise, the point is that if we are loved by the Lord, saved by the Lord, and blessed by the Lord, these are things we should pass on to others!  We should surely be loving others, not just in word, but in actions as well.  And of course we should be sharing the blessings of Christ’s coming with everyone.  This is especially important in view of the fact that the unbelieving and unloving who reject God’s love will ultimately face God’s judgment, and it will not turn out well for them.

 

Conclusion:  But for all who believe, whose hearts are strong and courageous in the certainty of God’s love and promises, God will surely keep His Word and save them, and also richly bless them.  We are blessed and privileged to be among those whom God’s vengeance and recompense will benefit!

 

So let us take God up on His Word, and allow His love to brace us and strengthen us.  Thanks and praise be to God for His great love for us, and for His mighty acts of salvation!  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.