Summary: Exposition of Isaiah 49:1-13 in order to kick off our season of prayer for International Missions
Text: Isaiah 49:1-13, Title: Too Small a Thing, Date/Place: NRBC, 12/2/07, AM
A. Opening illustration: Judges 7:2--And the LORD said to Gideon, "The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me, saying, ’My own hand has saved me.’ Read some of Lottie’s letters that challenge Southern Baptists to do big things,
B. Background to passage: The book of Isaiah is like a mini-bible. The first 39 chapters of Isaiah are basically judgment against Israel and against others nations, just like the first 39 books of the bible. Chapters 40-66 deal with God’s redemption, just like the last 27 books of our bible (the NT). In Isaiah, chapters 40-48 deal with the bringing back of the people into the land of promise after the captivity (remember that the captivity has not even happened yet.) Chapters 49-55 deal with the bringing back of the people spiritually to God. For even though God would bring them back to the land, their sin would still lie as a barrier. Chapter 49 deals with the Servant of God who would be called forth from the womb to deal with the sin that still remains. But dealing with the sin of the nation of Israel, God says, is too small a thing…
C. Main thought: God not only wants His glory to be revealed and praised in the middle eastern world where He was about to send His people into and deliver them out of captivity, but He wants His name and fame to be magnified by every tribe, tongue, people, and nation on the face of the earth!
A. God’s heart is for all peoples (v. 1, 6, 12)
1. Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is the speaker here. And he calls attention to the islands (some translations) or the coastlands, and all the nations from far away. First he calls attention to the Mediterranean world, then to all nations everywhere. Christ assumes authority over the world to command them to listen to what he has to say. God tells him in v. 6 that it is too small a thing for Him to bring back only Israel to God, but He is to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. And down in v. 12 he says that they will come from all directions to Christ. God’s heart has always been for all peoples. There has been constant outreach and witness to those among other nations. But the NT launches the good news of salvation through Christ.
2. Gen 12:3, Ex 19:6, Ps 67:1-2, 117:1,
3. Illustration: read some excerpts from Lottie’s letters about her love for the Chinese people. 5924 people groups identified of the last frontier with over 1.6 billion people who are unreached with little or no access to the gospel, 80 million people have been added to the world population, 40 million of which have no access to the gospel message, statistically another 30 million will hear and not believe, the Pioneers mission group has adopted 28 unreached people groups to reach currently,
4. If God’s heart is for the nations, shouldn’t ours be? The choir sang that “our heart, our desire is to see the nations worship,” but the questions that we must ask is do we really mean that. Do you ever think about people in Kazakhstan? Do you ever pray for the unreached people group called the Bhutan. Bhutan’s leader, 51-year-old King Wangchuk, drives a Toyota and loves American basketball, “Bhutanese follow Tibetan Buddhism for fear of what would happen if they do not.” Oh, I know, we pray the prayer calendar, but does that really reflect our desire? If not, we must ask God to do a spiritual heart surgery. We must examine the things in our lives that cause us not to be concerned about the nations of the earth. Maybe we don’t really love God. Maybe we are overly self-centered. Maybe we are so used to comfort and ease and the American lifestyle that missionary endeavors are out of the question. Maybe living in America has crippled our missions heart. Bottom line is that we just don’t care. Pray that God will help us care like the Moravians who sold themselves into slavery to win people in the new world and had 50% of their population going into International missions. What if 50% of New River was actively going on international mission trips? The goal of a church in VA was to send all of its young people overseas before they graduate HS.
B. All peoples live in darkness (v. 6, 9-10, 13)
1. Our text says much about the condition of every man, especially those that were beyond the current reach of the people of Israel. It says that all men/women walk in darkness, therefore Christ would be their light. Light reveals the glory of Christ to a people that is blind to it. The text also states that those lost people are in prison to their sin, they are spiritually hungry and thirsty with no real food or water, that they have no protection nor leadership from the shepherd of their souls, that their pathway is full of obstacles, and that they lack comfort in their affliction. This is the condition of all lost people, those in other countries and those in Tifton, GA. And until someone takes them the gospel of Jesus Christ and they are born again, they will live this existence now, and eternally miss out on all the glories of Christ.