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Child of Promise: Salvation December 22, 2013

Posted by sandhandrews in Sermons.
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Isaiah 12:1-6

4th Sunday in Advent

December 22, 2013

Paraphrased from an Advent sermon series: Child of Promise, by Dr. David Peter and CLK

Focus: God saved us through His Son Yeshua.

Function: That the hearers admit their need for a Savior.

Structure: .

Child of Promise: Salvation

One of the biggest challenges new pastors face is learning everyone’s name.  After all, there were a lot of you and only one of me on my ordination day.  Many of you I know quite well, but there’s still work to be done.  There’re certainly others who are better at memorizing names than me.  Napoleon knew thousands of his soldiers by name.  James Farley claimed he knew 50,000 people on a first name basis.  And Charles Eliot, president of Harvard for forty years, earned a reputation for his ability to know all of his students by name year in and year out.

Names are really important to us because they carry with them our identity.  Our names are us.  That’s probably why we don’t like it when people mess up our names, it’s like they’re messing up who we are.  Names are part of our being and we treasure them.  Your name is even written in the book of life.

William Shakespeare, in Romeo and Juliet, asks a very significant question.  “What’s in a name?”  We still ask that question in a way, because names mean something, they carry meanings.  My name, Steve, is Greek for “crown.”  John means “the Lord is gracious.”  Adam means “man,” or “ground.”  Katherine means “pure.”  Amelia means “to strive or excel.”  Both Theodore and Dorothy mean “gift of God.”  But names aren’t always good either.  If you’re unfortunate enough to be named Ichabod, your name means “the glory is gone.”  Or even Mary, which means “bitter.”  But the point is, your name has a meaning, whether you know it or not.

During our Advent series, we’ve been looking at different names that the prophet Isaiah gave to the Promised One, the Messiah.  He used names that gave us insight into some of the characteristics of the coming King.  Immanuel means “God with us,” and it reminds us that God dwells among us.  Sar Shalom, the Prince of Peace, announces a ruler who will bring peace between God and men.  Nezer, the Branch, refers to reign of God, His kingdom which has no end.  All of these names point us to a promise.

Even the prophet Isaiah’s name has meaning.  In Hebrew, it translates to “Yahweh is salvation.”  That’s an appropriate name for our prophet, because that’s exactly the message he announced.  His primary mission was to announce God’s salvation to His people.  He pointed to a Promised One, a coming King who would bring salvation.  And that’s why Isaiah gives this Promised One, the coming Messiah, another name: Yeshua.  As a noun, it means “salvation.”  As a verb, it means “He will save.”

In our Old Testament reading this morning, Isaiah 12, the prophet starts by saying: “You will say in that day.”  He’s referring back to chapter 11, when he announced the Messiah would come.  So our text is a prophecy of the Messiah.  “You will say in that day: ‘I will give thanks to you, O Yahweh, for though You were angry with me, Your anger turned away, that You might comfort me.’”  Isaiah prophesied of a day when we would thank the Lord for saving us from His wrath and comforting us instead.  He’s predicting a day when God would save us.

But save us from what?  When we try to share our faith with the people we care about, they often stop us.  “I’m really not interested in what you’re saying.  You talk about a Savior, but I don’t see anything that I need to be saved from!  Things are going great for me; I’m having the time of my life!  I’m doing just fine the way things are thank you.  Don’t bother me anymore with talk of a Savior that I don’t need.”

That’s the typical attitude of people today.  They believe that they’ve gotten themselves where they are without anyone’s help.  They’re independent and self-sufficient.  The last thing they think they need is a Savior.  But Isaiah tells us the opposite.  Whether we know it or not, we all need a Savior.  We all need a Messiah to save us from God’s wrath against sin.

Our text makes no buts about it.  God is angry with our sin.  But that’s one of the biggest reasons people don’t think they need a Savior.  They have no clue what sin is.  One possible meaning for sin is to “miss the mark.”  But what mark is being missed?  The Bible answers that question, too.  It’s the holiness of God, His perfect righteousness.  We all miss that mark.  We all sin by failing to achieve God’s perfect standard of holiness.  Anything less than perfect, you’re disqualified from fellowship with the holy God of Israel.  Anything less than perfect and you face His wrath and judgment.  Isaiah declares: “Everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly.  For all this [God’s] anger has not turned away; His hand is stretched out still.”

But even when we failed to recognize our need for a Savior, God didn’t.  He promised us salvation from sin through His Word and His prophets:

You will say in that day: ‘I will give thanks to you, O Yahweh, for though You were angry with me, Your anger turned away, that You might comfort me.  Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord Yahweh is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation.

The Hebrew word for salvation is Yeshua.  It’s the same as the name Yeshua.  In English today, we get a couple of different names from that.  Joshua and Jesus.  Yeshua is the Hebrew, Jesus is the English.  Either way, the meaning is the same, “He will save.”  The Lord will save.  Jesus is the fulfillment of saying that God would become our salvation!

The name of the child born in Bethlehem was given for a reason.  His adoptive father Joseph was instructed by an angel to name Him Jesus.  The angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and said: “Joseph, son David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21).

The Promised One was given the name Yeshua, Jesus, for a reason, because He would save His people from their sins.  The name means “salvation” because that’s what the Messiah came to bring us.

In the text Isaiah says: “Behold, God is my salvation (yeshua)…He has become my salvation (yeshua).”  In Jesus, God has become our salvation!  Jesus, both God and man in one person, saved us from our sins.

Jesus was true God to perfectly fulfill the law, to meet God’s standard of holiness.  Any ordinary human would be disqualified at birth because of original sin inherited from his parents.  C.S. Lewis wisely noted in his book Mere Christianity that “the same badness which makes us need [salvation], makes us unable to do it.”  God had to do it Himself.  Jesus Christ, true God, came into the world and lived the perfect, holy life that we are supposed to live.  His obedience met God’s perfect standard of holiness.

God also became a man to save us.  In order to take away the penalty for our sins, our missing the mark, our Savior had to be both “very God of very God” and “very man of very man.”  As a human, He took on the law of God that had been given to men and broken by men.  Jesus, our Savior, became a man to substitute Himself for men.  The punishment we deserved for our sin, fell on Jesus’ shoulders.  God’s anger and wrath on Jesus.  As Isaiah foretold: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Yahweh has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.”

So I ask you: do you need a Savior?  You may feel like your life is moving along just fine.  You may think you’re doing just dandy on your own.  Do you really need a crutch, a Savior?  A day will come when you’ll find yourself before the judgment throne of God.  His Holiness will not grade on a curve.  He won’t compare you to others.  He’ll judge you by His perfect standard of holiness.  You can either stand there naked before Him in your sinfulness, or you can stand before Him clothed in the righteousness of Jesus.  Because you do have a Savior.  His name is Yeshua.  His name is Jesus.  He’s the One who was born to save His people from their sins.

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