Sermon #29 Series: Isaiah
Title: Five Great Blessings Of The Gospel
Text: Isaiah 9:1-5
Subject: Five Benefits of Gospel Preaching When It Is Of
Date: Sunday Evening - November 5, 1989
In the eighth chapter Isaiah delivered a scorching prophecy of divine wrath and judgment against Israel and Judah. In the closing verses of that chapter he warned the nation that under the curse of God’s wrath upon them, because of their unbelief, they could expect to see …
· A Flood of False Prophets and False Religion (vv. 19-20).
· A Time of Terrible Famine, Rebellion, and Blasphemy (v. 21).
· Days of Unparalleled Spiritual Trouble and Darkness (v. 22).
“Nevertheless” - O what a word! When God is talking about judgment and wrath, I love to hear him say, “Nevertheless.” That means that in the midst of wrath he will remember mercy. “Nevertheless” is a star of hope in a dark sky. “Nevertheless” is a beam of light shining through a terrible storm. Do you see the context?
“Behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness. Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations” (See II Kings 15:29; 17:5).
Isaiah is describing the judgments of God that must fall upon apostate Israel. The nation would be engulfed in spiritual blindness, cut off and left desolate in their unbelief and hardness of heart. But, while pronouncing God’s judgments upon the apostate nation, Isaiah takes care to comfort and cheer God’s elect remnant. He tells Israel, in this passage that the times of her greatest darkness and most severe trials will be the times of God’s greatest blessing and most abundant grace upon his people, for this will be the time of Christ’s glorious advent and the dawn of the gospel age in which we now live.
Proposition: Our text is a prophecy of the blessedness of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (Read Matt. 4:12-16).
Note: Perhaps some of you are now going through dark providence’s. If you are, cherish the fact that often thick darkness is the forerunner of great light and great sorrow is the forerunner of great mercy.
Ye fearful saint, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessing on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace,
Behind the frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
Since Matthew has told us that the words of our text are prophetic of Christ, particularly prophetic of Christ’s coming to sinners in the power of his grace by the preaching of the gospel, I am going to use them that way. Who knows? It may be that you are one of those people mentioned in this prophecy. Perhaps tonight these words will be fulfilled in our midst.
In our text Isaiah describes Five Great Blessings Of the Gospel. Whenever the gospel of Christ is preached effectually, by the power and grace of God the Holy Spirit, God gives these five things to those who have ears to hear what the Spirit says…
The Preaching Of the Gospel…
1. Gives Light To Those Who Sit In Darkness (v. 2).
2. Multiplies the Holy Nation of God’s Elect (v. 3).
3. Brings Joy To Those Whom God Has Broken (v. 3).
4. Gives Liberty To Those Who Have Been In Bondage (v. 4).
5. Brings Victory Through Grace To Every Believer (v. 5).
I. The first thing revealed in our text is that THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL GIVES LIGHT TO THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS (v. 2).
Here is a description both of man’s nature and of God’s grace. Isaiah tells us what man is and what God does for man by his grace through the gospel.
A. All men and women by nature live in total spiritual darkness.
There are no exceptions to this fact. Humbling and offensive as it is to human flesh, no man or woman, by nature, possesses the slightest perception or understanding of spiritual truth.
1. The Jews were God’s professed people, but they lived in utter darkness.
Though they had the law, the prophets, the sacrifices, the priesthood and the temple, though they read the law every Sabbath day in their synagogues, and studied it in meticulous detail, when Christ came they were in total darkness spiritually - (Matt. 22:29).
Illustration: Nicodemus (John 3:5-7).
2. We are no different (Eph. 5:8).
Though we are blessed with the privilege of hearing the gospel preached three times every week, though we are raised under the constant influence of God’s Word, though we hear it from our youth up, in Sunday School, from the pulpit, and in our homes, we could not see. Like fish raised in a cave, we have no eyes to see. Like a blind man walking in the mid-day sun, though he looks it right in the face, he cannot see, and neither can any man or woman by nature see the things of God - (I Cor. 2:14).
I am not talking about illiterate, unsophisticated men and women. I am talking about all men and women. I am talking about you. It is impossible for you to see anything of a spiritual nature apart from divine revelation. Though you are perfectly instructed in doctrinal truth, you know nothing spiritual unless God himself teaches you. You are totally blind to …
· The Depravity and Corruption of Your Own Heart (Matt. 15:19).
· The Glorious Character of God (Ex. 33:18-19).
· The Necessity and Nature of Christ’s Atonement (Rom. 3:24-26).
· Salvation by Grace (Eph. 2:8-9; I Cor. 1:26-31).
B. Men and women are blind because all, since the fall of Adam, “Dwell in the land of the shadow of death.”
Man by nature is spiritually dead (Rom. 5:12; I Cor. 15:22; Eph. 2:1-3).
· Separated from God.
· Alienated from God.
· Utterly helpless.
· Totally ignorant of his condition.
Illustration: Ezekiel’s bones (Ezek. 37).
C. But when God sends the gospel into a sinner’s heart, by the power and grace of His Spirit, he sees the light of life.
If you see the things I am talking about and rejoice in them, “Blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear.” God does not allow all men to hear the gospel. And he does not cause mercy who hear it to understand it. “Many are called, but few are chosen.” If you now see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, if you now see …
· The Corruption of your Heart.
· The Glory of the Cross.
· Salvation by Grace Alone.
You see because God gave you the light and gave you eyes to see that light.
1. Salvation comes to men by God’s sovereign purpose of grace (Matt. 11:20-25; John 1:11-13).
2. And that salvation comes through the light of the gospel, through the preaching of the gospel of Christ (I Cor. 1:23).
II. Secondly, when God is pleased to send a man forth preaching the gospel he does so that HE MIGHT MULTIPLY THE NATION OF HIS ELECT - (v. 2).
Isaac is talking about a time when God diminished the nation of Israel greatly. Yet he says, “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy.” Though he destroyed the physical nation of Israel, he multiplied the holy nation of his elect (I Pet. 2:9). He enlarged the borders of Zion to include his elect among the Gentiles.
I know that the number of God’s elect never increases or diminishes. God chose his own elect in Christ before the world began. And their number can never be changed. Not one name will ever be written in or stricken from the Lamb’s Book of Life now. That book was written and sealed before the world began. But I know this too …
A. God’s elect are not known by us until they are called.
B. God calls His elect by the gospel.
C. God does not send His servants to preach in vain.
If he sends a preacher anywhere, it is to “multiply the nation” of his elect (Isa. 55:11; I Cor. 15:58).
D. And when the gospel comes into a sinner’s heart in power, the first thing that happens is not an increase of joy but a flood of sorrow.
“Thou hast not increased the joy.”
God’s first works in a man’s soul are painful, sorrowful works, but they are necessary works. He works conviction that he might work repentance in us. And conviction is a painful work of God upon a sinner’s heart.
1. He strips away our righteousness, that he may clothe us with Christ’s righteousness.
2. He slays us by his law, that he may give us life by his grace.
3. He humbles us, that he may exalt us.
4. He makes us hunger and thirst after Christ, that he may fill us with Christ.
5. He causes us to seek him, that we may find him.
III. Then, thirdly, BY THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL GOD BRINGS JOY TO THOSE WHOM HE HAS BROKEN.
“They joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” There is no contradiction here. If God breaks your heart, he will cause your heart to rejoice. And there is no joy like the joy of faith (Phil. 1:25).
· It is like the joy of harvest after a long summer.
· It is the joy of victory after a hard battle.
The joy of faith, the joy God gives his elect, is the fruit of the Spirit. This joy is the result of God’s grace through the gospel. What is it? It is …
A. The joy of complete forgiveness (Ps. 51:7-12).
B. The joy of perfect reconciliation (II Cor. 5:18-21).
C. The joy of gracious adoption (I John 3:1-3).
D. The joy of a good hope through grace (Lam. 3:1-26).
IV. Fourthly, THROUGH THE EFFECTUAL APPLICATION OF THE GOSPEL TO THE HEARTS OF HIS ELECT GOD GIVES LIBERTY TO THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN IN BONDAGE (v. 4).
As Gideon delivered Israel from the Midianites, not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of God (Judg. 7:15-25), God by the power of his grace brings sinners into the glorious liberty of the sons of God through the preaching of the gospel. This is liberty …
A. From the dominion of sin - (Rom. 6).
B. From the tyranny of Satan. (The strong man bound).
C. From the fear of death - (Heb. 2:15).
D. From the love of the world.
E. From the curse and dominion of the law (Rom. 7:4; 8:1; 10:4).
F. And the liberty of free access to and acceptance with God (Heb. 4:16; 10:19).
V. Once more, THROUGH THE BLESSED GOSPEL OF HIS GRACE GOD BRINGS VICTORY TO EVERY BELIEVER (v. 5).
Like Gideon’s victory over the Midianites, this is a victory not of the noise of war and the blood of warriors, but a victory accomplished by …
· Broken Pitchers (II Cor. 4:7).
· The Light of Truth.
· Through the Almighty, Irresistible Spirit of God - “But this shall be with burning and with fuel of fire.” It is a victory accomplished by the work of God upon the hearts of men.
Victory is ours by the grace of God through faith in Christ. We are more than conquerors in him (Rom. 8:35-39). God gives us victory over all our enemies.
A. The world.
B. The flesh.
C. The devil.
D. Even death.
“Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world!”
1. God works by His Spirit.
2. God works by the Gospel.
3. God works upon the Hearts of Men.
4. God works Effectually. He gives …
· Glorious Light.
· Glorious Increase.
· Glorious Joy.
· Glorious Liberty.
· Glorious Victory.