Summary: The peace of Christ will extend to all nations through the gospel.
These days, we’re told, "the rules have changed." Politicians and news reporters are constantly telling us that, in the light of recent events, life, as we know will be altered forever. Heightened security, liberties changed to inconveniences, fear and suspicion – all these are the signs that the rules have changed.
In fact, many people are wondering if the holidays will ever be the same. It’s as if things are changed forever. The prophet Isaiah tells us that change isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, he describes a change for the positive; it’s a radical a change the Messiah--the Son of God, Jesus Christ--made by coming into the world. JESUS’ COMING CHANGES EVERYTHING. Concerning this change, Isaiah says, 1) rivers now flow up. According to the new rules, 2) weapons now become garden tools.
1) Rivers Now Flow Up
"The last days" Isaiah is speaking about are the days we’re living in right now. They’re the days since Jesus’ coming into the world as a baby at Bethlehem. By his coming, Jesus began something completely new. He set in motion a chain of events that would completely alter the world.
The first change, Isaiah says, is that "the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains." He’s talking about Mt. Moriah in northern Jerusalem, where the temple sat in Old Testament times. That mountain was the gathering place for God’s people. It was where the Israelites went to hear God’s word, sing God’s praises and bring him sacrifices. And so it became a symbol for the gathered people of God--for what we know today as God’s Church.
Now Mt. Moriah isn’t very high. It’s really just a big hill. But Isaiah says that in the last days it will suddenly be raised up until it’s the highest mountain on earth. That’s a poetic way of saying that God’s Church--the gathering of God’s people--will be lifted up, glorified and exalted. The Church’s ruler, Jesus, has ascended to God’s right hand. Jesus is reigning over the Church with his love, his wisdom and his power. And the Church--the people of God--is now as solid and immovable as a mountain is, and as glorious and beautiful as a mountain is high.
But the truly amazing thing about this mountain--the Church--is that rivers flow into it. Rivers normally flow down a mountain. These flow up. The reason, of course, is that these aren’t rivers of water--they’re rivers of people. "All nations will stream to" God’s mountain, Isaiah says. It happens this way. "The word of the LORD goes out" from the mountain. The good news about Jesus goes out from the Church to the far corners of the earth. People hear it. And they respond. "A Savior? Forgiveness for my sins? Sounds good to me!" they say to each other. "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths."
The good news about Jesus pulls them in. And notice how they come. They come from every land and nation and tribe and people under the sun. You can be sure this news shocked many of the Israelites at Isaiah’s time--but these people who are gathering on God’s mountain aren’t just Jews. They’re from every race and color imaginable; they’re young and old, rich and poor; they come from different backgrounds and speak different languages. But the same good news--the good news of a Savior--has brought in every one of them.
And they’re coming because they can’t get enough of that good news. They want to come so that the LORD "will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." They’re not satisfied with knowing a few basic facts about Christianity. They want to learn everything about the LORD they can. You’ll see them wearing out their Bibles, talking about what they’ve read, asking questions, learning all the time. You’ll find them in churches and Bible classes and study groups. They come from far and wide to hear the LORD’s teaching, and you don’t have to force them or bribe them to come. They come because they want to. They come as naturally and spontaneously as a river flows.
Well, is that river flowing through Abita Springs? Can we see it flowing right here at Trinity, right now? Well, yes--sort of, you might think. People are coming here to listen to the LORD’s teaching. But I wouldn’t exactly call this a river. It’s probably somewhere between a bayou and a little trickle. People come here, and we’re glad they come--but when you see how few we are in relation to some churches, you might think it will be a long time before this is going to amount to anything at all.