Summary: Epiphany 2(C)- Christ’s righteousness shines through his church: a church which is a royal crown of splendor and a church which is united to Jesus in a blessed, joyful marriage.
CHRIST RIGHTEOUSNESS SHINES THROUGH HIS CHURCH
January 15, 2006 -- Epiphany 2 -- ISAIAH 62:1-5
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Dear Fellow-Redeemed & Saints in the Lord:
Believers, Christians, are now the ones to lives as lights in this world. We are the ones responsible and given the blessed privilege of making sure that others who sit in darkness see the righteousness of Christ. It is a righteousness that does not condemn mankind, but it is Christ’s righteousness that saves mankind. Sometimes in our life it is not easy to be a shining light, is it? We don’t always feel like glowing, shining, blazing lights of Christ’s righteousness and joy. The Lord tells us that we ought to. Isaiah describes for us why we are lights in our text today. We are reminded Christ righteousness shines through his church. The Psalm writer tells us how we can do this: "Commit your way unto the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun" (Psalm 37:5,6). We consider what God has placed before us in his word with that theme and thought:
Christ Righteousness Shines through His Church.
Isaiah describes the church in two ways:
I. That it is a royal crown of splendor, and;
II. It also is a joyful and blessed marriage.
I. A ROYAL CROWN OF SPLENDOR
Isaiah, as you heard these words in chapter 62, could hardly restrain himself. Even the Lord could not restrain himself concerning the great joy that he was going to tell his people. In the first half of verse 1 of chapter 62: "For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet." The Lord was going to let the world know that his church is here on earth to stay. God’s church is here on earth to bless mankind. The terms "Zion" and "Jerusalem" simply refers to God’s church. Isaiah writes the sentiment of the Lord God almighty: "For the sake of the church, I will not be silent and I am not going to remain quiet."
Then begins that description of how the righteousness of Christ will shine through the church. "I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch." Now there are two different comparisons of light, but both unstoppable. We think of the dawn. When we get up early enough, we wait for that morning dawn. At last the sun comes up. Now, in the daytime hours we sit in the brightness of the day. We cannot stop the sun from rising, and we cannot change it. The Lord says his righteousness be as unstoppable as the morning dawn. Next comes the blazing torch comparison. The children of Israel didn’t have flashlights with million-watt powered light bulbs. But they did have torches. The blazing torch could be seen a long ways away. Our text states that salvation, Christ’s righteousness, is going to shine through God’s church. Christ’s righteousness is going to brightly shine.
There is even more to this description. The Lord, through the prophet Isaiah, says to them and to us today: "You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God." God himself would hold on to his church. God would (and does) treat his church with loving respect and honor as a crown and a diadem.
Today’s verse (verse 3) is very interesting. This is one of those special places that if we didn’t know what the words meant, God tells us. In verse 3, in the second phrase is the word "diadem". We don’t hear this term very often. We might have to get out our dictionary. If we don’t want to, the first phrase in verse 3 also uses the noun, "crown." A crown and a diadem that sit on the head of a king are both the same things. In splendor and glory as the crown, God’s people would in a sense be on top of the world. When a king or anyone wearing a crown walks into a room, that person is noticed. God’s people are also to be noticed. Isaiah writes: "the nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory."
You may recall that when Jesus came on earth, nations saw his righteousness and kings his glory. In our Gospel Lesson (John 1:43-51) when Jesus called Nathaniel and Philip, they said, "What good can come of Nazareth?" We know by the end of his life Jesus stood before Pilate and Pilate confessed that Jesus was a king. Jesus’ righteousness, the righteousness of Christ was shown to kings. Later on the apostle Paul testified before governors and kings and even Caesar himself that Christ was the light of the world. God had chosen Paul for this purpose of testimony. God had held him safely in his hand as a royal crown, as a blazing torch, as the dawning sun.