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Summary: CHRISTMAS 2(B) - Believers are the Lord’s crown of splendor as the church is clothed with righteousness and then this righteousness is to brightly shine.

BELIEVERS ARE THE LORD’S CROWN OF SPLENDOR (Outline)

ISAIAH 61:10-62:3 - January 2, 2005 - CHRISTMAS 2

INTRO: The basics of life, in the Lord’s eyes, are simply food and clothing. Having food and cloth-ing we are to be content. In our nation not very many are too concerned about food clothing. Rather our society often worries about everything beyond what to eat or what to wear. It is all the extras that consume our attention. Today’s text brings us back to the basics by reminding that the clothing believ-ers wear comes from God. We are clothed with Christ’s righteousness, covering our own unrighteous-ness. We are reminded in Job: "Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty"(JOB 40:10). As Isaiah explains in our text: BELIEVERS ARE THE LORD’S CROWN OF SPLENDOR. I. The church is clothed with righteousness and II. this righteousness is to brightly shine.

I. THE CHURCH IS CLOTHED WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS.

A. Isaiah is filled with joy for all the believers. Verse 61:10a. I delight greatly in the Lord…

1. Then Isaiah tells why. Verse 61:10b. God’s righteousness has covered Isaiah’s sinfulness.

2. Isaiah’s sins are forgiven as well as the children of Israel, the congregation of believers.

B. Isaiah continues with a physical comparison to express this joyous event. Verse 61:10c.

1. The bridegroom wears a headdress of the finest white material. He is happy.

2. The bride wears jewels to express her joy. This happiness is the same joy of forgiveness.

C. This great joy of righteousness / forgiveness is also a joy for the Lord. Verse 62:3.

D. Today consider the year that is ahead of us. May also think about the year just ended. Probably had plans and goals not accomplished. May be we have fallen short of our own self-imposed stan-dards. Our reminder today is that we always fall short of God’s standards. Our sinful nature rears its ugly head and turns against God at every opportunity. We cannot nor dare not dismiss sin. The world tries to do just that. Even though many may deny sin that does not mean sin does not exist. Sin infects everyone. "There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins"(ECCLESIASTES 7:20). We are sad at our rebellion.

E. In the midst of our rebellious sadness God brings great joy. The church is clothed in Christ’s right-eousness. By God’s great grace, his undeserved love, the world is provided salvation. Christ’s sinless robe of righteousness covers up mankind’s sinfulness. All of this purely out of divine love. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us"(ROMANS 5:8). We could not save ourselves. Jesus can and does.

F. Our reaction is just like Isaiah’s. We are filled with the joy of thanksgiving. We rejoice at the eternal salvation our gracious God gives as a divine gift. There is still the constant battle. Our sinful nature continually strives against the new man born in us by faith. With God on our side nothing is impossible. In faith we can extinguish those sinful thoughts, word, and deeds. With joy we strive to walk in the footsteps of our Savior. "Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful de-sires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness"(EPHESIANS 4:22b-24).

TRANS: By God’s gift of forgiveness BELIEVERS ARE THE LORD’S CROWN OF SPLEN-DOR. The church is clothed with righteousness. II. This righteousness is to brightly shine.

II. THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS IS TO BRIGHTLY SHINE.

A. There was a purpose for Isaiah to emphasize the believers’ joyful assurance of God’s salvation.

1. The believers were going to be reminded of God’s productive power in their lives.

2. Isaiah uses another earthly comparison that was easily understood. Verse 61:11a.

a. A seed that is planted grows. b. It takes soil, water, light. c. God’s power makes the seed grow.

B. As the seed miraculously comes to life and grows so does God’s praise due him. Verse 61:11b.

1. The nations will also see the power and righteousness of the Sovereign Lord.

2. How will this happen? Verse 62:1a. Isaiah promises not to keep quiet.

C. Isaiah will keep proclaiming the message until nations hear and see. Verse 62:1b.

1. God’s righteousness will be like the dawn, a blazing torch to chase away all darkness.

2. Verse 62:2. Even kings pay homage to the true King. Believers are called Christians.

D. Each Christmas season provides great joy for believers. Believers are reminded of the real reason for the season. Christ the Savior is born! This is reason for great rejoicing. Many come away from Christmas disappointed. They did not get the gifts they wanted. Their gift broke all too soon. The whole event cost too much. BUT the believer rejoices at God’s reminder of salvation – during Christ-mas and beyond. "You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your pres-ence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand"(PSALM 16:11).

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