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by Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr., D.Min.D.R.S.

 

Know What You Believe

Does Your Soul Live?

Isaiah 55.1-13; cf. vs 3

www.thischristianjourney.com

 [What do you believe about living this Christian life?]   

[What is Christianity all about?] 

[What does God really want for your life and the lives of those around you?]   

[There are many in our day who have thrown their hand up in exasperation at the Christian Church.  They have looked into various Churches and found,] 

·        [Confusion of faith – The Methodists believe this, the Lutherans believe that, the Baptists believe something else, and none of them can agree.  Worse still many of those who sit in Church pews appear to believe things that their own pastors would condemn.] 

·        [Corruption in lifestyles – There is little difference between the immorality of the unchurched and the churched in our day.] 

·        [Contradiction in doctrine – Doctrine deals with truth, and the teaching of truth.  It seems that Pastor, Sunday School Teachers, and Church folk believe that different things are true.  The worst part about it all is that none of them seem able to prove that their truth is really true.] 

·        [Combative fellowship – Church members constantly fighting among themselves.] 

[Is it any wonder that lost people, outside of the Church of our Lord, when considering the possibility of adding a Church to their lives want nothing to do with Church folk.  They come and visit, one Sunday, because their Christian friend has pleaded with them to just come to Church.  So, because they know their friend loves them and cares for them, the finally break down and come to Church with them.  When they get into the building they expect to see the people of God and the family of God.  What do they really see? ]  

[They see the saddest group of people they have ever seen in their lives.  These people claim to have been freed from every guilt and burden through the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ, but they seem so terribly weighed down by religious rules and laws.  These Christians claim to have unity, love, and fellowship; but all they can do is find fault with one another and complain about one another.  These people claim to have experienced deliverance through the victory their Lord has provided; but they live in apparent despair and defeat.  These people claim to have found the abundant life, the fulfilled life, which is only available through life in Christ; yet their lives are so empty, boring, and unfulfilled.] 

[The lost around us are asking, “If these peoples lives are so great in Christ, then why do they struggle to claw their way into worldly things hoping that their Christian friends won’t find them out?”] 

[The Question I ask you today is,] 

[Does Your Soul Live?] 

[Notice what God says through Isaiah in this passage,] 

[Isaiah 55:3 3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.]

[There is a lost and dying World all about us.  Outside the doors of this Church is a world full of desperate people, doomed to eternal torment, discouraged by the hopelessness they live in.  They desire and long for the answers to life’s deepest questions, but the answers seem hopelessly lost to them.  Good Christian people have testified to them about their Lord Jesus Christ, but when they examine their lives they see something gravely contradictory between their words and their way, their lifestyle.] 

[What does it mean for our soul to live?  Without any doubt God wants His children to have lively souls.  Your Heavenly Father desires that you should be alive!  Jesus said,] 

[John 10:10 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. ]

[Our Lord and Savior came, died, rose, and ascended to give you everlasting life and abundant life.  The whole gospel is focused upon life.  Liveliness, and vitality ought to mark the lives of every born again believer.]  

In Isaiah’s Discourse we discover, 

A.     The Measure of Life (vs 12)  [- How do we measure life or liveliness?  - For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. - Our text reveals that life is measured in,] 

1.      Joy (vs 12)[– For ye shall go out with joy . . . – What is real joy!  ] 

a.       [Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary- 1 a : the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires  : DELIGHT  b : the expression or exhibition of such emotion  : GAIETY  2 : a state of happiness or felicity  : BLISS  3 : a source or cause of delight] 

[For lost worldly people joy is experienced when they get something they worked for or sincerely desired to have.  I suppose joy would be connected to a sense of accomplishment.] 

[Certainly, joy for the redeemed would be similar, but I would add that the certain knowledge of having pleased our Heavenly Father would be an undeniable component of real joy for any born again Christian.  Once one steps into the family of God through the redemption provided by our Lord Jesus Christ joy takes on a new and undeniable component.  For the child of God the ascent of God is absolutely necessary in order to experience any real sense of Joy.  Hence, what once brought one joy when they were lost, may not bring them joy as a child of God any longer.]   

[Perhaps, many Christians struggle to realized a sense of real joy in their Christian Journey because they have failed to realize that their new relation to God has developed a new standard for joy in their life.  But, know this as well, my Christian friend, the joy you will experience as a Child of God, through the ascent of God, is far greater and more compelling than any joy the world can know apart from God.  Notice the end of verse 12, the text reads, ] 

[. . . the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.] 

[This is a supernatural joy wherein all of God’s creation rejoices with you as you please God and rejoice in His affirmation and exaltation.] 

[Do you know, child of God, that your Heavenly Father means to fill you with life, and that a life that will be evidently measured through heavens joy and rejoicing.] 

2.      Peace (vs 12) [- . . . and be led forth with peace . . .Peace speaks of confidence or certainty.  It is the lack of guilt.  Guilt is the consequence of having done the wrong thing.  Peace is the confidence of having done that which is absolutely right.  Many have the wrong idea about peace.  They think that peace is the lack of distress or trials.  However, the deep inner peace being referred to by God in this passage speaks of the certainty of having pleased ones Heavenly Father regardless of our world’s response or distress.] 

[True peace is found in the absolute confidence that no matter what might happen in life one is absolutely eternally secure and confidently right with God.  Hence, knowing that you have been born into the family of God is essential for one to experience any sense of real peace.  Secondly, knowing that what you are doing is with certainty in the center of God’s will is the second element of real peace.] 

[Lost, unredeemed people will never be able to know real peace because they have no eternal sense of security.  Saved people will lose their sense of peace because something in their life is outside of the will of God and they know it.  How do they know it?  The Holy Spirit within them keeps convicting them about the issue or issues that are robbing them of their Joy and Peace.]   

[Understand that the Joy and Peace God is talking about in this text are undeniably linked together.  If you have God’s Joy you will have God’s peace.  If you lack God’s Joy you will lack God’s peace.  What is required for one is also required for the other.] 

3.      Purpose (vs 12, Prov 29.18) [- . . . ye shall go out . . ., . . .be led forth . . . – Life is best experienced with purpose.  It might be otherwise said that without purpose there is no real life.  The Bible states, ] 

[Proverbs 29:18 18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. ]

[It is important for each of us to realize that the joy and peace expressed by our Heavenly Father in this passage are both connected with going.  They are realized through diligent service in His kingdom work.]   

[Is there a lack of joy and peace in your Christian life?  Then ask yourself what are you doing in God’s kingdom?  Are you being led forth?  Are you going out?  Or are you sitting in and wondering why your life feels so empty?] 

[Is there a lack of joy and peace in your Christian home? Then ask yourself what is your family doing in God’s kingdom?  Is your family led forth?  Is your family going out?  Or is your family sitting in and wondering why your home feels so empty?] 

[Is there a lack of joy and peace in your Church?  Then ask yourself are you helping your Church to do something in God’s kingdom?  Are you helping your Church to be led forth?  Are you helping your Church to go out? Or are you sitting in and wondering why your Church feels so empty?   It has been said by many Men of God, if your Church is full of controversy and contention then your Church folk are not on mission with our Lord in His kingdom work, because if they have the time to find fault and argue then they are not diligently working in the harvest.] 

[What are the things God calls you to do that will be purposeful and lead to joy and peace?] 

·        [Your Integrity is God’s work in your life.  Live in this world in purity and accountability toward God.] 

·        [Your Marriage is God’s work in your life.  Nurture your relationship with your husband or wife in a way that is accountable toward God.] 

·        [Your Family is God’s work in your life.  Purposefully bring up your children in a way that is accountable toward God.] 

·        [Your Church is God’s work in your life.  Serve God through your Church in a way that is accountable toward God.] 

·        [Your Witness and Testimony is God’s work in your life.  Do all that you do as unto the Lord.] 

[God has given you purpose in life.  This God given purpose will lead to joy and peace in your life.] 

4.      Praise [- . . . the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. – Notice the praise being given here in Isaiah’s text.  The hills are singing and the trees and fields are clapping their hands.  When God’s people purposefully get into God’s work and experience the fullness of God’s Joy and Peace all of God’s creation will shout out with rejoicing.] 

[There have been many occasions when people have approached me as a Pastor and said, “Preacher, I just don’t feel a sense of joy and praise in our worship.”  What they are really asking is, “Preacher, where is our heart of worship? Where is the spiritual depth in our worship?  Where is our sense of the presence of God in our worship?”]  

[Where is it?  It is in you and your sense of purpose, joy, and peace with God.  If you sit at home all week, aimlessly living a life void of God’s kingdom work, lacking the joy and peace of a life lived out fully for God; then how can you expect to find Spirit filled praise and worship in Church on Sunday?  My Christian friends you must come to understand that Worship is not something you will discover at Church on Sunday, it is something you must bring with you to Church on Sunday.] 

[Hence we have discovered the measure of life!] 

B.     The Meaning Of Life (vs 13) [– Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. – Knowing the measure of life, or what manifests a soul that is alive will be short lived if you do not understand the meaning of it all.  Our text touches on the meaning of life.  Life is about,] 

1.      The Glory of God (Rev 4.8-11; Luke 14.11) [- . . . and it shall be to the LORD for a name . . . – To many in our contemporary culture, Christians included, are living to make for themselves a name.  We want to make our mark in life.  We want to have some kind of legacy.  We want to be remembered for our accomplishments, and some just want to be remembered even if they are remembered for evil.  But is the highest goal in life that we might be remembered in this mortal world?] 

[Actually the highest goal in a Christian’s life ought to be to glorify God, or to please God.  God created all things to this end.] 

[Revelation 4:8-11 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. ]

[You will be on the path to joy, peace, purpose, and praise when you realize that your life is not really about you at all; it is all about glorifying and magnifying Almighty God.  This why Jesus said,] 

[Luke 14:11 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.]

[Our lives are wrapped up in the glory of God.  We were created to please God.  We please our Heavenly Father by seeking to serve Him.  We will experience our greatest joy and peace in life when we, and all of creation, praise Him together. ]

                                                                                                                          

2.      The Gift of God (Rom 6.23) [- . . . for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. -  This everlasting sign speaks of the new life we have been given through Christ.  I am reminded of,] 

[Romans 6:23 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ]

[The second meaning of life discovered in our text is God’s desire that all men partake of the gift of everlasting life received through our Lord Jesus Christ.  I began this message by speaking of the world’s disillusionment in God because of the Church and people of our Lord.  However, when God’s people discover that they are all about glorifying God and begin living out the joy, peace, purpose, and praise of God in their lives then the lost around us will be able to see the importance of the gift of God provided to us through our Lord Jesus Christ.] 

[The glory of God will always point lost and wayward people to the gift of God, which is the salvation provided through Christ.] 

C.     The Means Of Life [– Lastly, we must discover the means of life.  How do God’s people actually develop a Soul that Lives?  Being alive in Christ, being a Christian that glorifies God, experiencing the incredible joy, peace, purpose, and praise of God are all God’s revealed intension for His people.  How can we realize this in our lives!?] 

[I can almost hear someone say, “I hear ya preacher.  I also see it right here in Isaiah’s text.  But I don’t see how it can all be possible, at least not for me.  My family life is a travesty, my finances are in ruins, my reputation is shot.  It would be wonderful to experience, but its just not possible.”] 

[Consider who Isaiah was writing to in this text.  The king in Jerusalem is Hezekiah, he was a king who worked diligently to bring Judah back to God.  But the kings before him were evil.  They set up false gods.  They led people to worship idols.  They even sacrificed their children to false gods.  Now, Assyria has come against Judah and the emissary of Sennacherib has come to Jerusalem and was calling out at the wall, surrender your country to our king, for no other nation, or their gods, have been able to stand against the great Assyria under the leadership of our great king Sennacherib.] 

[Isaiah is speaking to a people who are in the worst of all situations, and they know they deserve nothing but the stern judgment and justice of God.  But through Isaiah God says joy, peace, purpose, and praise are still available to you.  God’s says to you today, you may be the worst of the worst, but God still extends grace to you today.  God’s joy, peace, purpose, and praise are available to each of you today.  How do you bring it into your life?  The Means To Life is, ] 

1.      To Savor It (vs 1-3) [– Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 2 Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. 3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. – Are you hungry for the joy, peace, purpose and praise of God?  Are you tired of being spiritually famished?  Then it’s your spiritual supper time.  This reminds be of the words of our Lord when he said,] 

[Matthew 5:6 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. ]

[Are you hungry enough for the joy of God that you would do anything to know it?  Your Heavenly Father says, come to the waters and drink.] 

[Are you thirsty enough for the peace of God that you would do anything to have it?  Your Heavenly Father says, come to the waters and drink.] 

[Are you thirsty enough for the purpose and praise of God that you would do anything to know it?  Your Heavenly Father says, come to the waters and drink.] 

[If you have never received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then you must first call out to Jesus, and once you have been born again then this same joy, peace, purpose, and praise will be yours for the taking as well.] 

[Christians are you thirsting and hungering for righteousness then you are almost there.] 

2.      To Seek It (vs 6-7) [- Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. – Seek your spiritual satisfaction through repentance.  God will abundantly pardon!] 

[But preacher, you just don’t know what I’ve done!  God will abundantly pardon!] 

[How deep is your sin?  The devil would try to convince you that you have just done far too much, that God will just never forgive you.  But God has said,] 

[1 John 1:9 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ]

[God will abundantly pardon!] 

[Remember Judah!  Assyria’s armies are on their way.  King Sennacherib has already declared his intensions.  All hope appears to be gone and God says to Jerusalem joy, peace, purpose, and praise are yours for the taking, because God will abundantly pardon.  The people of Judah repented and God sent an angel who killed 185,000 of the enemy in one night.  God delivered Jerusalem because God will abundantly pardon.] 

[You may think America is too far gone.  You may think your marriage is too far gone.  You may think your family is too far gone.  You may think your Church is too far gone. You may think your life is too far gone.  But God will abundantly pardon!] 

[Will you seek God’s joy, peace, purpose, and praise through repentance and righteousness!  God will abundantly pardon.] 

[I ask you again, Does Your Soul Live?] 

  

 

 

 

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