Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

Molalla, Oregon

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The Messiah has a Name (Advent III)

December 13th, 2009 by Vic

Isaiah 7-9

This morning is the 3rd Sunday of Advent.  From the very beginning in the Garden, God wanted to walk with man.  God promised that He would help mankind to overcome the power of sin in their lives.  In the OT several prophets saw the coming of the Messiah.  This morning our focus is on a couple chapters in Isaiah.  In 7:14 Isaiah declares the promised Son was to be named Immanuel.  From the beginning God had a plan.  He gave His plan several names.  In Isaiah 9:6 four more names are given.

Do a little thinking about the importance of names.  What does your name mean?  Could it mean Immanuel, Wonderful Counselor, Faithful Father, or Agent of Peace?

What do people think of when your name is used?  In the Bible, names were important.  Names were descriptions of the person, of his position, of some circumstance affecting him, or of some expectation of him.  God renamed some people to point out a change in their lives.  Sometimes He called His people Jacob and sometimes He called them Israel.

When your mom was really ticked off at you, what did she call you?  When God was ticked with His children He called them Jacob.  Jacob meant tricky deceiver.  When He was pleased with them He called them Israel.

God’s Name is important.  God said you shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.  God is identified by His Name.  His Name is the reflection of His nature.  We worship His Name.  We bless His Name.  We magnify His Name.  The Muslims give God 99 names.

Jesus said, whatever you ask in my name, you will receive.  That means in harmony with His will and His ways.

The names God used of Himself revealed His character.  To Adam He was Elohim, the Creator God, the God of power and might.

To Abraham (Gen 17:1) He was God Almighty, the El Shaddai.

To Moses at the burning bush, He is Jehovah, Lord.  He is the God of redemption.

God also revealed Himself as Adoni, our Lord, Judge, and Master.

El-Elyon = the Most High, the Supreme

Elyeh = the I Am, the I Will Be

God revealed Himself.  God desired that men should really know Him.  But knowledge of God cannot be gained by names and word definitions alone.  Knowledge of a person comes through relationships.  Complete knowledge is impossible.  There will always be mystery.  Knowledge is more about relationship than information.

In the dark ages of Jewish history God spoke through Isaiah.  The vision that Isaiah received in chapter 6 was after King Uzziah died.  Uzziah was a good king.  Chapter 7 says his grandson Ahaz is now king.  He was 20 years old when he became king (732).  In chapter 14 Ahaz died.  The prophecies concerning a child in these chapters are a little clearer when you understand the political and religious climate during that time in history.

After Solomon died, the kingdom was divided.  The total kingdom was about the size of Clackamas County.  Now 200 years after Solomon the kingdom is about half that size.  The north was called Israel and the south Judah.  The major world power was Assyria, in the area of Iraq and Iran.  Tiglath-Pileser III ruled and also called himself the king of Babylon (745-727).

Pekah (740-732) had been king in northern Israel 6 years before Ahaz took the throne in southern Judah.  Pekah was a wicked king.  He practiced child sacrifice.  He had quit paying tribute to Assyria and formed a coalition with Syria and the Edomites to free themselves from Assyria.  This coalition tried to force Ahaz to join them, but Ahaz refused to join with the conspiracy.  So the coalition marched against Jerusalem in Judah.  When they did that several other neighbors joined in and captured several towns on the outskirts of Judah.

7:1-13  The indifference of an evil king

God sends Isaiah with his son to Ahaz (7:3).  The name of Isaiah’s son means “a remnant will return”.  Our families are part of our testimony.

Isaiah says take heed, fear not, listen up.  7:9 says if you will not believe, you will not be established.  Stand firm.  Ask for a sign.

Ahaz was inspecting his water supplies.  This was not a public place.  The message was just for the king.  Isaiah assured him these trouble makers from the north are all smoke and no fire (7:4).  Assyria is God’s servant for punishment right now.  Syria and Ephraim will be shattered soon.  Continue your resolve to be neutral.  God says He wants to give you a visible sign that their destruction is sure.  Pick a sign.

Ahaz is hypocritical.  He says, I’m not going to tempt the Lord.  But he has already planned and plotted how to appease Assyria.  He didn’t think he needed the Lord.  But the Lord is going to give him a sign whether he wants it or not.

What this sign was for Ahaz we do not know for sure.  Does he know a young woman who is getting married and will have a child that she calls ‘Immanuel’ meaning God is with us?  Or does it refer to Ahaz’ wife?  Has she been having trouble getting pregnant?  Was it Isaiah’s child born in 8:1?  This prophecy was a sign to Ahaz.  When the child was born, he should remember that God was with him.  And so it was within 3 years that Assyria squelched the rebellion in the north and within 10 years they were all taken into captivity.  But Ahaz continued to be arrogant and serve other gods, even though “God was with him” as the sign should have reminded him.

Are we trying to take matters in our own hands?  Are we paying tribute to our enemies?  Are we not leaning on the Lord?  Have we got it all figured out ourselves?  Do we trust the Lord with all our heart?

7:14-25 The importance of a promised child

The Lord will give you (plural) a sign (14).  It is a sign for all of us, not just Ahaz.  His name will be Immanuel, which means God is with us.  This is the good news.  God wants to be with us.  This is why we celebrate His coming.  It is a radical message.  God wants to walk with man.

God can use a foreign king or country to punish our wickedness.  The current situation in Ahaz’ day was pointing to deliverance in Jesus.  It is OK to trust God.  He is stronger and smarter than the Taliban.

7:15, 22 Honey butter may indicate famine in the land.  God will punish sin.

7:18 says that God will use Egypt like flies.  He will use Assyria like bees.  He will use the Persians about 200 years later to build up and restore.  Isaiah preaches several oracles that tell Ahaz that his concerns about the little kings up north is really petty.  God has a big plan in view.

7:20 You will be humiliated.

7:23 The land will be desolate.

8:1 Write this name down.  God uses Isaiah’s second son in chapter 8 to declare speedy military action.  God makes a promise.  Put this name on a billboard.  Your whole family will be a reminder to the nation.  8:18

8:11-17 The proper attitude toward God is to wait and hope in Him.

9:1-2 There is hope.  Where Jesus walks, there is a great Light.  Can anything good come out of Nazareth in Galilee?  Galilee was no the place where the educated and wealthy people lived.

9:5 The Assyrians who were God’s instrument will be destroyed by the coming light.  In the darkest most depressing situation Jesus can bring light.

9:6 Another promise child will come and deliver us.  A child is unintimidating.  This child will be uncommonly poor, delivered without the help of family midwives, in a crowded city.

Look at the names.  These were Jewish throne names for a Messiah.

WONDERFUL COUNSELOR – His nature is wonderful.  His ministry is counselor.  He knows how we are made.  Into our living He offers love.  Into our chaos He brings control.  Into our craving He offers contentment.  Into our pressure He offers peace.

I’ve done enough graduate work in counseling to know that I am not a wonderful counselor.  I cannot see all the future consequences of decisions you and I are making today.

I just about finished the book, “The World is Flat”.  This Jewish journalist sees things happening in our world that I had not put my finger on.  “The very technologies that are uniting us are also clearly dividing us.  The same technologies …allow us to interrupt each other as never before (517).”  We have gone from the Iron Age (Agricultural) to the Industrial Age to the Information Age to the Interruption Age.  All we do now is interrupt each other and ourselves.  Connectivity leads to so many interruptions that it stifles our creativity.  I feel like I was smarter and more creative when I could only do one thing at a time.

You cannot be connected with the Web and connected with the incredible web of life around you at the same time.  You tube and Twitter has become a platform for celebrating ourselves and we have lost our childlike creative wonder.

The character of our young people today will be cast in cement at a much earlier age than previous generations.  Google is keeping track of everything you display or say.  This is important because your character determines your destiny.  Remember Jacob and Esau.  If character is destiny, then you better start building a solid character early.

You also need to be a learner (a disciple).  The best jobs will go to those who to learn how to connect the dots.  They will need to know literature, math, social science, and be continual learners.  Before you create anything new you must understand what is already there.  Once you have this foundation being creative can be trainable.

Life is change.  There is a beginning and an end.  God is unchangeable.  We change.  We will do things differently than our parents.  One reason why China is quickly surpassing America is that all their politicians are engineers.  Our politicians are lawyers.  Engineers are better at connecting the dots of what is happening.  They take risks.  Another reason China is surpassing America is a widening ambition gap.  Many of the children are learning 14 hours a day.

Employers no longer give you a guarantee of employment.  You must guarantee that you will stay employable.  Lifetime employment is no longer a company’s responsibility.  It is a personal responsibility.  The days of the government or business guaranteeing anyone a lifetime job are over.

Improved parenting requires tough love.  There comes a time when all the technology must be turned off.  No one can be a good writer unless he is a good reader.  90% of the kids who go to MIT are from 2 parent homes.

Jesus came as a counselor to come beside us and tell us what we need to hear.  He loves us.  He offers forgiveness and holiness to destroy sin and death.  He brings health.  He brings all the resources of heaven to our disposal.  He requires us to be learners.  He requires us to respect God and see God in our lives.

Jesus restored sight to the blind, healed the sick, raised the death so we could see our world through his eyes and live abundantly.  He makes us a child of the King.  He tells us to hunger and thirst for righteousness.  He invites us to follow Him.

He is the wonderful counselor who offers wholeness.  His Spirit is the Comforter.

MIGHTY GOD – He has power.  This is the title for the Jewish creator God.  Isaiah is calling this child God.  In Christ we have God perfectly revealed.  He is God in the flesh.  God knew we could never quite understand spiritual abstract realities without some physical concrete illustrations.  The earth declares the glory of God.  Jesus is love, truth, and life with human clothes on.  Can you see?

If you put clothes on joy, peace, patience, gentleness, you see Jesus.  If you put clothes on holiness, righteousness, justice, mercy you see Jesus.

Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.  God wants to live in us and help us put on some good attitudes and produce the fruit of the Spirit.

EVERLASTING FATHER – Christ is the God of Eternity.  His yesterday’s and tomorrows are all present with Him.  His present is before time and after time.  Before time Jesus was.  After time Jesus will be.  He is The Faithful Father.

He has a Father’s heart to help.  He has my best interest in mind.

PRINCE OF PEACE – Isaiah was preaching in a war torn world.  Homes were shattered, families scattered, and everyone had been affected by war.  Many did not understand why they were suffering.  Others refused to believe.  Sin and disobedience had separated them from God.(Isaiah 3:8-10; 5:11-13; 20-24)  There was disharmony with God.  There was war with God.  God does not desire that any should perish so he sent the Prince of Peace.

Christ offers peace.  Peace is more than the absence of war, but harmony between both sides.  God’s peace is a restored relationship, so that 2 become 1.  Where sin is forgiven, there is harmony.  Where sin is forgiven there is a song.

When our hearts are at war, we make bad decisions.  We try to justify ourselves.  The more sure that I am right, the more likely that I am mistaken.  My need for justification blinds me to all kinds of possibilities.  Peace is just a choice away.

Bad attitudes separate us from God.  There can be no harmony or peace when we are not doing what we know we should be doing and we justify ourselves.  Jesus came to give us peace with God.  Jesus will justify us if we confess our sins and ask Him.  Peace is just a choice away.

God says that Jesus is wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

You may have some neighbors up north who are giving you a hard time.  Isaiah says God will take care of that problem, just trust and obey.

Advent means there is hope.  There is something radical coming.  Advent means Jesus is coming.  Jesus has come.  He wants to be God’s peace child in your heart.  Christmas is a time of peace.  Focus on the Prince of peace and enjoy the peace that passes understanding.  It is just a choice away.

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