As we conclude preaching through the book of Isaiah, I wanted to post the end of my manuscript this week. It is a birds eye view of the whole book. Nearly every week I’ve called us to get up close to Isaiah to see what he see’s—to understand why he is saying what he’s saying, or what action he’s calling the people to. So I want to summarize with five passions that Isaiah makes us aware of throughout this book.
- Isaiah Makes Us Aware of God & His Glory
- Isaiah Makes Us Aware of Our Sin & Idols
- Isaiah Makes Us Aware of God’s Grace & Renewal
- Isaiah Makes Us Aware of Jesus Christ the Servant
- Isaiah Makes Us Aware of Hope For All Nations
Visit veritascolumbus.com for the audio of the sermons.
Manuscript: I would encourage you to go back this week and listen to the introduction online, as I worked through the person, context and mission of Isaiah and I hope these five passions will compliment the beginning to help us all walk away grasping the big picture of this book.
Isaiah as a book can give off the appearance that it’s a disconnected book of historical events and vision but it’s completely unified. In many ways, it’s like all my sermons—they all look at different passages and have various applications but it’s basically the same point—the same sermon. Isaiah points us sinners to the living God and his glory, to experience renewal in their lives, while promising a Messiah to complete the work of hope for all the nations. or to put it more simply—God is holy, we are sinners but Jesus Christ is sufficient to renew us and call us to his mission. So let’s walk through Isaiah five passions of a single vision.
1- Isaiah Makes Us Aware of God and His Glory
Obviously, Isaiah is a book about God! 43:11 boldly states, “I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior”! Scholar and Pastor Ray Ortlund Jr. say’s it this way, “If Isaiah were the script of a play, the one character who never exits the stage is God. That fact alone is full of meaning and material to Isaiah’s message.” The man Isaiah played a support role, Israel played a support role—even other nations appear (13-ff), Assyria, if you remember plays a big role in the beginning by being ruthless conquers (36-37).
In chapter 46, even these pagan gods of Babylon—Bel and Nebo are dragged on-scene almost as props (46), but the only person left standing is the Holy One of Israel, he remains at the center, as the lead role the entire time. Isaiah makes it painfully clear that the Lord is the one there, working for his glory!
He does this in many ways where he brings the spotlight onto the reality he is Triune—Trinity: One God in three persons, highlighting the Servant, the Messiah Jesus (42:1) which we’ll look at more in a min. He pours out his Spirit (11:2; 44:3). God surveys the whole of all that is going on to say, “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it” (48:11). We should feel uncomfortable for the way’s in which we see God at the center of this book because it goes against so much of our own self-centered reality.
2- Isaiah Makes Us Aware of Our Sin and Idols
Secondly, Isaiah makes us aware of our sin and idols—He mines the depth of our depravity to again, uncomfortable levels. It all starts with Isaiah’s personal understanding of his own sin as he stood before the great King of creation, Lord of his life saying— “woe is me, a man of unclean lips!” (6:1-5)
Isaiah points out deep idols both of physical worship like the Ashera polls made of wood, iron and bronze and the more hidden idols that are made in our own hearts—Isaiah is telling us that we can’t escape our sin! (44:17) He even commands us to, “Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?” (2:22).
In our world today we think way to highly of humanity when if we look around we should realize even in our modern world what Isaiah is telling us—“your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” (59:2)
3- Isaiah Makes Us Aware of God’s Grace and Renewal
Isaiah shows us the glory of God, he shows us our sinful hearts but the third passion of Isaiah is his awareness of God’s grace and renewal. Isaiah is constantly showing us that God does for us, what we cannot do for ourselves. He shows that God alone will preserve, purify and honor his people. That God alone will draw us out from all the nations as a gloriously new humanity and, through the sin-bearing Servant Jesus Christ—his death and resurrection, he will have us glorifying and enjoying himself in a renewed creation for eternity. We can “be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create,” God says in today’s passage from 65:18. It’s all wrapped up in his undeserved grace! Isaiah 30:18 says, “Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.” and Isaiah 62:4-5 says, “The Lord delights in you… as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”
4- Isaiah Makes Us Aware of Jesus Christ the Servant
Fourthly, and most profoundly is Isaiah makes us aware of Jesus Christ the Servant, the Messiah. Isaiah’s writing as if he were at the foot of Jesus crucifixion. He speaks with incredible insight of a future Christ that would bear our guilt.
Isaiah 53 is one of the epic centerpiece chapters for seeing the clear reality of Jesus Christ, his life, his death and even his resurrection but Isaiah writes it all over his book. (7:14; 9:7; 40:3-5; 50:6) Isaiah is the most quoted book in the NT. He points Israel and even us today to Jesus.
5- Isaiah Makes Us Aware of Hope For All Nations
The last piece of Isaiah’s vision is an awareness there is hope for all nations. Isaiah gives us a mission to all people. He calls us to proclaim the good news to the poor, liberty to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind and a season of favor from Isaiah 61:1-2 and this call goes out to the Gentile—the non-Jews, in Isaiah 42:7. He desires us to be a people of justice for the broken, even if they are not in your own tribe or community. Why? Because God himself bears this image and passion.
The call is to be a light to the nations (42:1-9) and as again our passage today tells us when we have seen the glory of the Lord he adds “And they shall declare my glory among the nations.” (66:18)