Summary: Advent 3(B) - Rejoice in the Lord’s promises of freedom and gladness.
REJOICE IN THE LORD’S PROMISES (Outline)
December 16, 2007 -
ADVENT 3 -
INTRO: At different times and in different places the Lord finds it necessary to give believers certain directives for their lives. This is necessary because as believers we do not always do what believers ought to be busy doing. One example is in Thessalonians when the Lord says, “pray continually”. We need a reminder to pray often because we often do not pray.
Another example is expressed in our text. The Lord re-emphasizes this thought through the apostle Paul. "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near"(PHILIPPIANS 4:4,5). It is interesting to note that Paul is in Rome in prison for the second time. Paul does not expect to return to his believing friends alive. He feels that either he will die in prison or be released to face the death penalty. Still – he is able to rejoice. Paul also encourages the free believers to rejoice. Thus Isaiah expresses the same sentiment in our text for today.
REJOICE IN THE LORD’S PROMISES.
A. Note that the words here are the words of the Servant of the Lord. These are the words of Jesus.
1. The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me. At Jesus’ baptism the Holy Spirit came upon him.
2. Isaiah continues: because the LORD has anointed me. Again, consider the baptism of Jesus.
a. The Father spoke from heaven. b. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power.
B. Jesus had one mission and purpose in his life: to preach good news to the poor. This is the gospel.
1. Isaiah describes this gospel, good news, of God: He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted.
2. Those who repent have broken hearts, sorrow over sins. Forgiveness heals, binds them up.
C. There is more: to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
1. The penitent sinner is no longer held captive by sin. He no long sits in the darkness of evil.
2. In summary: to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor. God’s favor brings freedom to all.
D. By Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection we are given freedom. In fact, the sins of the entire world have been paid for. Yet, some, would rather remains slaves of the things of this world. Jesus told the Jews that they could know the truth and the truth would set them free. They declared that they were never slaves because they were Abraham’s children. The world does the same thing to us. The world offers freedom, or so it seems. It seems as if enough money is the answer to everything. It seems as if only the experts can tell us the right answer. "They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity--for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him"(2 PETER 2:19). From time-to-time, and maybe just all too often, we are slaves to whatever might master us at the moment.
E. On our own we are lost and condemned creatures. God’s law clearly reminds us of that simple truth. We cannot escape the condemnation of the law of God. Or can we? Our heavenly Father has provided for us, and also for the entire world, freedom from sin. This freedom is found in the gift of the baby born at Bethlehem. This freedom is found in the man crucified on the cross. This freedom is seen at the empty tomb on Easter morning. "For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace"(ROMANS 6:14). You and I and believers everywhere rejoice in the Lord’s gift of freedom.
F. Believers live a life that is free from the cares, worries, and stress of this earthly way of living. At least, we ought to be. If not, then Paul reminds us to rejoice. This freedom we enjoy is freedom from the burden of sin. This freedom we enjoy is freedom from the power of Satan. This freedom we enjoy is finally also the freedom from the defeat of death. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery"(GALATIANS 5:1). God has promised us freedom. God has provided us ultimate freedom through his Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
REJOICE IN THE LORD’S PROMISES:
Freedom from sin, Satan, and death itself.
A. Believers living in freedom will also experience the gladness of God in their day-to-day living.
1. Christ proclaims: the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God.
2. Note the judgment mentioned with favor. There is no terror here for the believer.