Summary: Isaiah 61:1-3- Our Motivation, Our Method and Message and Our Market
Zechariah 3:1-7, Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, The Lord rebuke you Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire? Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, Take off his filthy clothes. Then he said to Joshua, See I have taken away your sin and I will put rich garments on you. Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by.
The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua:
“This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here
ARE YOU FILLED WITH JOY THIS MORNING THAT YOU’VE BEEN SNATCHED AWAY FROM THE FIRE?
ARE YOU FILLED WITH JOY THIS MORNING THAT YOUR FILTHY RAGS HAVE BEEN REMOVED?
ARE YOU OVERJOYED THIS MORNING THAT YOUR INIQUITIES HAVE BEEN TAKEN AWAY?
ARE YOU FILLED WITH JOY THIS MORNING THAT YOU HAVE BEEN CLOTHED IN GARMENTS OF SALVATION, DRESSED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS?
We gather together this morning with great reason to be overjoyed! Our lives can mirror the words of Isaiah 61:10-11: I delight greatly in the Lord; for my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before the nations.
Brothers and sisters, we gather this morning with an incredible ability to rejoice, to be filled with joy. For our souls rejoice in the Lord our God. He has clothed us in salvation. But as we gather, and come together in joyous celebration, we realize that not everyone can celebrate. We live among people filled with doubt and despair, loneliness and pain, fear and anxiety, sin and its consequence. We are surrounded by those whose lives and circumstances sound more like a funeral dirge than the revelry of a wedding song. And we are once again reminded why we are truly here. We have not been called to be business men and business women. The church is not our marketplace and our purposes far surpass the normality of the business world. For our calling is eternal in nature, yet we ourselves have no power. We have no position of authority, we are not rulers. Our Kingdom growth is not of this world, for we have been called for the express purpose of being a servant in our Father’s Kingdom. We must understand that our ministry is not our own but His, this church is not ours but His, and our role is not self-exaltation, but that of humility.
This brings us to our focal passage this morning. Turn with me in your bibles to the book of Isaiah, chapter 61. These opening verses give us a model for vision, mission and tone for ministry and leadership for all generations. As we look at this together, I want us to see again our motivation for ministry, our method and message, our market and the measure of our effectiveness.
A. As a young child, I always feared playground games. It wasn’t that I lacked enthusiasm or athletic ability, but sometimes, I lacked popularity. And I knew that as the game was being set up and the captains began to choose, I was so afraid I would be left out, or chosen last. Do you remember those days? And do you remember the elation you felt when your name was called? When you were chosen toward the front of the list? There was always this extra effort that went into the game. You wanted to prove that you were not a mistake. That even if you weren’t the best choice, you would give your very all for success on the team. And generally, the person you wanted most to please was the one who took the chance on you.
B. Well friends, there is not a one of you sitting in this auditorium by mistake. You are not the ones waiting and hoping, but your name has been called. You have been chosen and by One who is far greater than any person you have ever been chosen by before. You have been separated for God’s service and chosen by Him. It is a serious responsibility and God is the authorizing agent. And the Spirit of God accompanies you.