Judgment and Hope: A 5 Week Series on Isaiah

As church leadership, we recently felt drawn to the book of Isaiah. Sometimes, the Old Testament can feel distant for Christians. However, it’s as relevant today as it was when Isaiah wrote it thousands of years ago. His words are a reminder of God’s majesty, holiness, judgment and hope. He’s the Almighty God, the beginning and the end. There’s no other God like him. We’re all invited to a closeness with Him. Over five weeks, we discussed the implications of Isaiah’s 66 chapters for us as a community. Here are a few of my favorite points from the series. You can also watch the sermons on our Facebook Life Feed.

  • Isaiah is a “Little Bible.” It has 66 chapters just like the Bible has 66 books. The first 39 (as many chapters as there are books in the Old Testament) focus on the judgment of God and lay a foundation for God’s restoration and hope. The last 27 (as many as there are books in the New Testament) focus on the hope and restoration of God along with His epic plan for humanity. Isaiah’s narrative and prophetic words fit in the greater context of Scripture; written over thousands of years, the narrative of the Bible points to one person as the Savior of the world: Jesus. “Isaiah” means “The Lord Saves.”
  • Isaiah is preeminently the Messianic prophet. This means he prophesied about the Messiah (Christ). More than any other Old Testament prophet, Isaiah foretold the coming of Christ (2:1-4; 4:2-6; 7:14-15; 11:1 – 12:6; 24:21-23; 25:6-8; 26:1-2; 27:12-13; 30:18-26; 32:1-7,16-20; 33:17-24; 35:1-10; 42:1-9; 49:1 – 55:13; 60:1 – 62:12; 66:18-24).
  • God is big. He’s powerful and strong (40:12). God created us and knows us (43:7). He knows what’s best for us (10:15). People have rebelled against the way God originally intended us (1:5, 59:3). to be, and this rebellion has come at a cost (53:5-6, 1:2-5). There is judgment (24:1). God sows a seed of hope in our lives (51:5, 57:10, 60:9). Jesus is our Sure Hope (7:14, 8:8). We are chosen to share that Sure Hope with others around us (6:8, 49:6, 60:3). God’s ultimate plan is redemption and restoration into the family of God and the establishment of a new heaven and new earth (60:19-22, 66:22-23).
  • Isaiah had unique access to the rulers of Israel at the time and was able to be highly influential because of the place in which God put him.
  • In an increasingly unclear and confused society, God uses Isaiah to bring clarity to our situation. There are two kinds of people: those who are following God and those who are not. It’s not our job to convince God to be on our side. He’s already established His side in Jesus. It’s our job to make sure we’re on His side by submitting to His will in every situation.
  • In the story of Hezekiah listed in 36-39 (also in 2 KIngs 18-20), we come to understand an ongoing plot issue that the Israelites, and ultimately all of us struggle with. Reliance on God in the midst of trials and judgments. Don’t rely on other people or other gods (36-37), yourself (38), or your treasure/accomplishments (39).
  • God is clear that there are judgments: past (like Noah and the flood, Genesis 5-6), present (we are to judge each other in the church, 1 Corinthians 11) and future judgments (the book of revelation). His judgment is meant to bring us back to Him and right living. It’s meant for restoration, like the good discipline of a father.
  • We have hope, the knowledge that God will come through, because of His Character (Isaiah 40:1-8), His past works (Isaiah 43:1-7), and His current work (Isaiah 43:18-21).
  • Our response to God is to draw near and wait on Him (Isaiah 40:28-31).
  •  If God is who He says He is; if He’s a righteous judge and the giver of hope, then what is our response His hope in our lives? We are to respond to the Holy Seed (Isaiah 6:13) placed in us by living lives of holiness before Him.
  • Personal holiness means that we put off our old self (Isaiah 44:13-20, Ephesians 4:23-32).
  • Community holiness means we live out the fruit of the Spirit (Isaiah 54:1-5, Galatians 5:13-26).
  • Missional holiness means we shine our light (Isaiah 49:6) and preserve God’s justice (Isaiah 56:1-2) by sharing the gospel (Philippians 1:27).
  • God has given us work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3).
  • God will judge us according to two things: 1) our actions, and 2) our hearts. You can’t divide these two things.
  • Jesus came as the perfect example of life lived in and held onto hope.
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