Summary: the kingdom is comming


This morning were going to open up the first page on our advent calendar.

In doing so were going to look at one of the prophesies that Isaiah made,

The passage that was read this morning though is not you’re usual pre Christmas warm up passage to the big event or the birth of the Christ,

but it does tell us a little about the purpose God had in sending his son to us as a child on that first Christmas morning.

So this morning you might say we are going to look at the birth of God’s kingdom.


Try to imagine your self as Isaiah wandering the streets of Jerusalem you’re home,

a city that you’re proud of ,

a city that’s the home of the royal palace and the temple, a city with a short but proud history.

Unfortunately today you don’t feel so proud,

you look around you and see this city for the place that it really is

a place that treads on people toes.

In the words of Isaiah form chapter 1,

the once faithful city has become a harlot.

As a city she was once full of justice,

righteousness used to dwell in her but now only


Her silver has become dross,

her choice wine is diluted with water,

and her rulers are rebels the companion of thieves,

they love nothing more than bribes and to chase after


This city of Isaiah does not defend the cause of the


and the widows cases do not come before them.


That’s the picture that Isaiah paints in the first chapter of

this book.


Now I want you to think about the place that our reading was about this morning.

This is a picture of a mountain that has been raised up above all other mountains,

but its more than just an ordinary mountain with snow and sheep on it,

No this mountain is home to the presence of

God. What’s more it a real happening type of place,

because nations upon nation is drawing to it.

And once you’ve been there you will never be the same

again, you see this place has the most amazing effect upon all who travel to it because God’s presence changes

people. The man of war suddenly becomes a man of peace.


For Isaiah this vision was a vision of hope,

a real rose in the midst of the thorn bush.

Something that he would cling to when the nights got cold and dark,

as Judah and Jerusalem came under attack from the Assyrian army.

A vision of peace,

a vision of the kingdom of God.


It is a wonderful vision,

a vision that not only spoke to Isaiah deepest longings but a vision that speaks to our deepest longings too,

who would not wish for a vision like this too come true.

If you were to walk down you’re average highstreet in suburban New Zealand and ask people what there Christmas wish would be I think the majority would wish for peace and an end to suffering.

Many people would wish for what is at the heart of this vision of Isaiahs.

Is it any wonder though

when we look around the world,

war seems to be everywhere,

and peace only seems to come in short bursts over the

treaty table,

no matter how hard we try this vision seems to allude us.


Some years ago a movement grew in the western world its purpose was to make this vision a reality,

to bring peace and an end to all suffering.

The movement has been called the enlightenment as it was almost like some one had turned the light on in a dark room,

no longer did people have to grope around in the dark instead they could rely on

technology, science and discovery, it was only a matter of time till the reality of Isaiahs vision

would be fulfilled,

the only difference was that humanity no longer felt the need for God and so the cry went out

"God is dead, humankind will save the world."

Of course they said this before the two great wars, before the aids epidemic,

before air plane hijacks became an everyday occurrence.


Its no wonder then why human kind is not so confident today about bringing the end to suffering and ushering in an age of peace.

But still the world dreams about peace,

about an end to wars

about a bright new day,

about a time when the sword will become a plow shear.


This vision of Isaiahs is a wonderful vision,

perhaps though it’s too wonderful,

maybe the hope that Isaiah held to during that time of turmoil was just pie in the sky.

Perhaps its just too good to be true,

and maybe the atheist’s complaint against Christianity have some truth,

that Christianity is a form of social control.

So that if you promise some one a palace to live in

then they’ll settle for a slum, if you make a promise of eternal life to a person

then they’ll gladly go to a cross. That if you give some one hope

then they settle for anything.


If the atheists are right,

then maybe its about time we stopped fooling ourselves. Then its about time we took this vision of Isaiah and all other visions like it and tore them out of the bible.

You see this vision just doesn’t seem to fit with the hear and know, with everyday reality.

In Zaire and Bosnia we don’t see people beating there swords into plowshares.

No instead we have people who once worked together picking up there plowshares and using them as swords, pruning hooks have become spears in the hands of the waring tribes.

The gunsmiths and the undertaker are looking for more staff to keep up with their work load.

things don’t seem to be getting better.


I don’t know about you though

but I can’t bring myself to tear this vision out of God’s word,

I know in some ways It would probably be easier to simply sweep this text under the carpet,

maybe then we could settle for the hard facts about hear

and now. But I cant do it,

because I cant live with out hope,

none of us can live without hope, and so I am going to hold on to it,

and this morning I want you to hold on to that vision too. Hold on in hope,

in hope that we will one day see this mountain raised ,

in hope that one day we will see the nations being drawn up to meet our God,

in hope that many will walk in Gods path.

You see hope tells us that the atheists are wrong

and life is more than just a prison cell where we wait for the hang man to come.

Without hope we will just pace back and forth waiting for that day of release from our prison.

We can not live with out hope just as Isaiah could not live without the hope that one day God would bring a resolution,

an end to conflict

and a new kingdom.


The question is who do you put youre hope in?

The people of Judah and Jerusalem put their hope in


like the enlightenment thinkers of today the Jews also said that we can do it ourselves.

Isaiah though put his hope in God,

and that made the difference.


Today human kind is facing the same problem as Judah and Jerusalem faced,

its not the invasion of the Assyrians that we all need to worry about,

but our own human nature.

We can never hope to build a kingdom of peace as long as there is a conflict going on within us.

As long as we are controlled by human nature

things will not change. What we need is to change from the inside.

Try as we might for peace it’s going to take something outside ourselves to build this kingdom of peace that we would wish for.


Can you see then why this vision of Isaiah’s can not be completed by humanity,

but why it can only be fulfilled by God.

Its not only the sword and the spear that need to come under the Blacksmiths hammer and be reformed into weapons of peace,

but us also,

we need to place ourselves under the blacksmiths hammer and be reshaped, reformed and changed.

Can you see then why only God can bring about this


because he is the blacksmith that changes us.

Can you see why it is God’s presence in the temple that draws the nations in,

Can you see why it is only God’s presence in the church that will draw the nations in also.


A funny thing happened 2000 years ago in that little town just south of Jerusalem,

a child was born, but more than that

because a kingdom was born also, God’s kingdom was born.

God began to make all things new.

God took it upon himself to draw the nations in to his presence,

God became the blacksmith to the nations,

and its a work he is continuing today around the world.

I know that this seems an odd thing to say that God is building this new kingdom,

the kingdom that was born on that first Christmas day, after all we live in a bruised and broken world,

but it is happening.

People everywhere are joining that stream as it moves upwards to God’s temple,

and they are being changed by what they see there. God the blacksmith is doing a work on them and

changing lives,

and they are proceeding out from this place there weapons of war and there lives have been changed.

It may not seem like it at times but this vision of Isaiahs is becoming solid,

if you look with the eye’s of faith you can see it appearing on the horizon.

Christmas day 2000 years ago was just the beginning, the birth if you like,

but know this kingdom is starting to mature,

a kingdom not made by human kind but made by God.