|The Redeemer came to Zion|
There is a major shift in Isaiah’s prophecy from judgment (chaps. 1-39) to comfort at chapter 40, and it culminates in chapter 53 with the revelation that the Suffering Servant is the same person as the one high and lifted up in Isaiah 6. Then at chapter 56 there is another shift to see how this Servant-Messiah has changed our future. Isaiah looks into the future and then back at the situation with God’s people on the ground, and he is disappointed with the sin he sees. Messiah’s kingdom is open to all (56:1-8) despite sin (56:9-57:13) through repentance where we find healing and peace (57:14-21). Mere religious activity is not true spirituality (58:1-5); it is about serving as the Servant does (58:6-10), which brings blessing and restoration (58:11-14). Now Isaiah tells the effect of sin in separation from God (59:1-8) and others (59:9-15a) and the Redeemer who comes to those to intercede for those who repent (59:15b-21).
Key Truth: Isaiah wrote Isaiah 59 to teach Israel that sin causes separation from God, wrecks relationships with others, but the Redeemer will come to those who repent.
Key Application: Today I want to show you what God’s Word says about sin and redemption.
Key Verse: Isaiah 59:20
Pray and Read: Isaiah 59
1. Sin causes separation (Isaiah 59:1-8)
2. Rebellion wrecks relationships (Isaiah 59:9-15a)
3. The Redeemer responds to repentance (Isaiah 59:15b-21)
Exposition: Note well,
1. SIN CAUSES SEPARATION (Isaiah 59:1-8)
a. Sin separates us from God. In their misery, Israel thinks their situation is so helpless that the Lord has completely abandoned them (40:27, 49:14). But the Lord is ready to save with a miraculous arm (Deuteronomy 4:34; 5:15) and a listening ear (2 Chronicles 7:14-15).
b. The problem is not God, but the sin of the people (59:2). Sin separates us from a relationship with God (Romans 6:23; 1 Peter 3:18).
c. God will not hear the crooked and depraved words (59:3-4). And their hands are covered with blood and building spider web traps (59:3a, 5-6), and like the Garden, who ever eats these eggs will die (Genesis 3:1-5). Their feet rush into evil (59:7); they are not the feet that bring good news (52:7).
d. APPLICATION: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, /And every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” (Matthew 12:25). In marriages, families, friendships, at the office, in school, churches, denominations, among ethnic groups, in cities, among nations, there is a weapon our enemy the devil uses against us called separation. Why is it so serious? Because the Lord himself said in the Word of God that a house divided against itself is sure to fall. Satan’s first act in the Garden was to separate him from God, separate Adam and Eve from each other, and later to separate brothers Cain and Abel. Separation is the opposite of the nature of God’s triune nature. The Trinity is a perfect example of community.
e. Separation has always been one of Satan’s main strategies, divide and conquer. He hates marriages, families, friendships, churches, and every expression of love, kindness, and servanthood in Jesus’ name. He uses separation against mission teams, church staffs, ministries, and congregations. A profound picture of separation is found in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
f. The ultimate cure for separation is union in the Head, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:1-6), abiding in the Vine (John 15:1-6), oneness in the Father’s family (John 17, 1 John 5:1) and fellowship in the Spirit (Philippians 2:1-5).
g. So what do we do about it? We can see the consequences in our lives, our churches, and our nation from the left column above. First, renounce your own sins of separation and repent of them one by one. The effectiveness of this application depends on your repentance (Matthew 7:1-5). Don’t try in your own flesh to dismantle walls of separation with others. This is a spiritual battle, not against flesh and blood (Galatians 5:15; 1 Timothy 4:16; 1 Corinthians 10:3-6; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Ephesians 6:12).
h. Pray this way: “I acknowledge my pride and repent of it. I renounce the control of pride in my life. Father, work in me the humility of Jesus. Fill me with the fullness of your sweet Holy Spirit. I repent of self-centeredness, etc. going down the entire list above.
i. Ask the Lord to establish His Kingdom rule in your relationships. Ask the Holy Spirit to overcome and restore hearts. Sow restoration by steps of obedience: praise, prayer, restitution, confirming your love, affirmation, faith, rejoicing, patient endurance, etc. as the Lord leads you.
j. How do we pray for a group such as your extended family or your church? Identify where separation is operating. Confess to the Lord the sin against unity that is happening. Ask the Lord to turn hearts to you, to replace separation with the grace of the Lord. Ask him to reign over your family or church. Ask him to root out, expose, and remove roots of separation among us. Don’t be surprised when ugly things come out or acting out happens. That is exposure and rooting out happening. Ask the Lord for specific acts of obedience that you can do in keeping with repentance, and do whatever he says.
2. REBELLION WRECKS RELATIONSHIPS (Isaiah 59:9-15a)
a. The people are in sin but cannot free themselves from it (59:9-15a). Paul understood this (Romans 7:19), and deliverance in Jesus alone (Romans 7:24-25).
b. 1:16 – Wash yourselves, clean yourselves: Keil & Deilitzsch: There is a difference between the two synonyms (to wash one's self, to clean one's self), the first refers to the one great act of repentance on the part of a man who is turning to God, the second to the daily repentance of one who has so turned (James 4:8).
c. We see both sermon points 1 & 2 in Jesus’ statement of the greatest commandments (Mark 12:30; Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27) quoting Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:34
d. ILLUSTRATION: Every day I hear about broken relationships, hurt feelings, angry people, limping marriages. Why? Every time the source can be traced to sin. Every time.
e. APPLICATION: Here’s the remedy for rebellion. First, Isaiah says you must wash yourselves, that is, you must renounce the sins that you have become accustomed to. Whatever it is, whether anger and passion or discontent and envy, or lewdness and impurity, or laziness and idleness, or covetousness, or conceit and vanity, or skepticism, or infidelity, or unbelieving fears, whatever they may be. So first we must repent, turn away from our sin, renounce it, and walk away from it.
f. Second, you must receive the grace and hope of the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. Christianity is not about moralism, doing things right. It is about Jesus, the Holy One of Israel who makes you right. He makes you righteous. He and only He will cleanse your crimson, sin-stained soul and make it white as snow.
3. THE REDEEMER RESPONDS TO REPENTANCE (Isaiah 59:15b-21)
a. With no justice, the Lord intervenes (59:15b-16), punishing his enemies (v. 17b-19) and saving those who repent (59:17a, 20-21).
b. The Messiah condemns and saves (50:8-11)
c. Cf. 59:17 and Ephesians 6:13-17.
d. Justice & Righteousness: Tzedeq & Mishpat – This combination tag for the Messiah throughout Isaiah is found here three times and identifies the Messiah here with the same person in various places across the prophecy (1:27; 5:7, 16; 9:7; 11:4; 16:5; 26:7-9; 32:16; 33:5; 42:4, 6; 56:1-2; 59:9, 14-16). At 59:9, our sins have made justice and righteousness far from us. By 59:14, our sins have driven justice and righteousness behind us so that it is at a great distance. At 59:15-16, the Lord takes notice and becomes the Intercessor to bring justice and righteousness to us, becoming our Intercessors (59:16), our Warrior (59:17-19), our Redeemer (59:20), and our Covenanter (59:21).
e. REPENTANCE – Repentance is the foundation of spiritual warfare. Repentance is about obedience. Repentance and humility are the precursors to victory in spiritual warfare. When Daniel repented on behalf of his nation, an angel appeared to him and revealed the spiritual battle over the Jews in Persia (Daniel 9: 20-21). Repentance opens the door to victory in spiritual warfare.
f. When we come to Jesus repenting of our sin, he immediately forgives us and saves us (Romans 8:2). Then the work of making us Christ-like begins. That process is called sanctification, growing in holiness. If we will not let God deal with our own sins, iniquities, rebellion, transgressions, whether they are ignorant or willful, we cannot be victorious in warfare. God wants us to make no covenant to tolerate His enemies (Judges 2:2-3), a zero-tolerance for secret strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:5).
g. The strongest opponent you will ever wrestle is not the devil. It is yourself. As long as you harbor sin, you hold on to strongholds, footholds, and strangleholds that the enemy has in your life (Romans 8:6-8). Every war is won by taking ground the enemy formerly occupied. We cannot take ground from the devil if the devil has ground in us (Ephesians 4: 27; John 14:30). We must crucify the deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21; Romans 13:12, 14). We must agree with God by confession, repentance, and forgiveness and fall out of agreement with the thief, destroyer, and death.
h. ILLUSTRATION: Family Covenant over the generations. The Word of God in their mouths, the opposite of 59:3-5. In our Upward Basketball and Cheerleading program, the children are memorizing Scripture, but that responsibility lies with you as parents. Are you reading the Bible stories to your children and grandchildren? Are you helping them memorize Scripture? Are you teaching them that they need to repent of their sins and give their lives to Christ in order to be saved? That’s not the preacher’s job. That’s your responsibility.