Australian Bible Church – April 22, 07
A CONTINUATION OF THE THRUST
AND BASE OF THE
OF AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES …
THE RISE AND FALL OF VINEYARDS,
AND THE FOLLOW-UP
SUMMING UP FOR JUDGMENT:
IT IS GOOD TO LISTEN,
LEAVING SHOVE FOR LOVE,
AND SHAN’T FOR WILL!
Vineyard, Rapacity for Riches,
Dreamy Delinquents, Ignorant Savants,
Sin Breeders, God Mockers and Moral Transvestites
It was found that we had rather too ample a diet in the April 15, 07 sermon, but for those who were not present, there is here simply an addition with some more detail on the final positive thrust of the sermon, and with this more depth is given as to the beginning.
This, then, may be read with the April 15 sermon, and forms a part of it.
First, we now have scope to see yet more deeply, in using Israel as a spiritual example in the heart, for all, the extent to which God deplored their sin.
Thus in Isaiah 5 we find, even in the midst of incredible seeming hypocrisy and self-seeking injustice in Israel, the fact that God had “A Song of my Beloved, regarding His vineyard.” It is to His well beloved the vineyard is given, and it is He who now has it, and has it AS the well-beloved! It is He who is the King of Israel, as even Pilate began to see. It is He who as Jehovah had brought Israel to greatness, under David. But in that very love had He done it, to which the nation in so much and so many, had not responded.
It is He who as in Isaiah 42:1ff., 49:6 IS the covenant, and it is He for whom covering the chosen in Israel is not enough: He has no less a work of redemption to apply to the Gentiles, that He might BE in this highly personal setting, the salvation of God (cf. Luke 2:30-32). It covers NOTHING for those who do not believe, for as Isaiah 53:3-6 shows, those whose sin is actually borne, are those whose hearts are HEALED! There is no operation of pardon without regeneration. Yet the love of God does not in anything alter: those who come to faith receive, and all are invited. Never doubt the intensity and immensity of the love of God, or seek some scape-goat, not for your sin - for that is provided already in the Messiah, Jesus Christ, but for your rejecting the Lord!
That, it is YOUR responsibility as before God who would have ALL. Love ? It does not force, and wisdom, it knows who are its own (Romans 8:29ff.); and these, they have ONLY one righteousness, that of Christ, to render them acceptable to God (Psalm 71:15, Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2, Romans 10). Try to add your own works to that, and you are like someone attempting to BE a tyre, so that his car might run better. It is ... unfitting, and illusory. At that level, the purity of God, you are not satisfactory at all.
Who is ?
This is that Lord, God the sent, as seen in Isaiah 48:16, who as God does the work of God, in the format of man! His is the vineyard and He is heir to it (as in Mark 12); but what of the vineyard itself ? Not repentance but rebellion, not faith but fidgets were occupying it.
Alas, as to His people, they ARE the vineyard (5:7), and of them He declares this:
"Because they have rejected the law of he LORD of hosts,
and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel,
therefore the anger of the LORD is aroused against His people..."
How far they had fallen from the original mercy provided for the nation!
What then does the Lord say of Israel at the spiritual level ? It had been offered peace, pardon and power in the truth, pressed, presented with opportunity and hope, in appeals innumerable. Indeed, as you read in the day of Moses writing from the Lord in Deuteronomy 7: “You are ... a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people…”
"Now go, write it before them on a tablet, and note it on a
that it may be for time to come, forever and ever:
that this is a rebellious people,
children who will not hear the law of the LORD,
who say to the seers, 'Do not see!'
and to the prophets, 'Do not prophesy to us right things;
speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits."
That is what God says of them in Isaiah 30.
The grace of God found Abraham and in His truth He made promises not only to Israel, but through it, to the world (Genesis 12, 17). This included both the land of Israel, and exile from it if they successively sundered from the Lord; indeed mockery among the nations if they did so (cf. . Moses presented those two sides even though Israel had already equivocated,
These are seen in Deuteronomy 27-29, where blessings and curses were read from two different mounts Ebal and Gerizim), to distinguish them categorically. But nothing ever breaks the promises of God (cf. Ezekiel 36:22). To be sure, as Ezekiel shows, the promise remains (as in Genesis 17:7-8, and foretold in Deuteronomy 30, 32 and Micah 7) and in His own honour, God will honour it. Indeed, He has already has been active in doing, for Israel is now restored to its land but not to its Lord; whilst to all the world, the Lord, the Israel-born Jesus Christ has brought torrents of blessing, so fulfilling the promise to Abraham, a blessing to all nations.
These amazing facts appear less
so, but more ‘normal’ for God, who is ALWAYS reliable, and never fails
(Zechariah 3:5) or changes (Psalm 102:26-28). These last two millennia have
verified the word of God vastly, both in its positive and negative
promises, and this last half-century has shown a prodigious fulfilment of
ancient prophecies in magnified detail, for Israel (cf. SMR
In Isaiah 5, then, long after those earlier times when Israel had drawn near to Him, God traces the enormous labours and planning to make an excellent vineyard – and ISRAEL WAS that vineyard; and then declares this:
“It brought forth wild grapes” (Isaiah 5:2).
This then brings in more detail to us, the Messianic mission in high contrast to the national failure. It is to this that we now turn, leaving for the time, the devastation that Israel brought on itself, as described in the latter part of Isaiah 5.
This Messianic mission, the other part of the promise to Abraham, it is for Jew and Gentile, man and nation, as many as come to Him (as in Israel, will come, as seen in Zechariah 12:10-13:1, Romans 11:25ff.). Their blindness has been long, Paul shows, but it is to have a follow-up in faith which will come to many in Israel as Spring to Winter snow: suddenly, and in massive spread! Thus the composite congregation, Jew and Gentile, assembles at last (Romans 11:30-32).
How is this done ?
THE MIGHT OF THE MAJESTIC
OVER ALL NATIONAL AND PERSONAL BARRIERS
Towards the end of Part I of this sermon, we were noting the wonder of the answer of God to sin, judgment apart, not from this world, but from those elected to salvation from within it; for Christ having transferred the choice payment of redemption to those to whom it belonged, they are covered, their overdraft is annulled, their debt is cancelled, their deficiencies are met by the gift of righteousness, and their peace is beyond all understanding (Romans 5, 8, Philippians 4).
Thus we had something like this.
Now for the beautiful part … In Isaiah 7, there is the prophecy of the Virgin, in an event beyond all mere human conception, comparable with any miracle, staggering; for she is to bear a Son in whom we will have this: GOD WITH US, Immanuel. Then in Isaiah 8:21-9:7, we find that in the very midst of torment and anguish (and Isaiah 6 has shown enough of it, with Isaiah 5 the cause of it!), there is to come light, with peace and gladness, and the dominion of the mighty God, in the very person, amazing as it is, of His own Son, who is to be called the Mighty God. Here is the Messiah, the One sent from heaven to earth, bringing the holiness of heaven with Him, and its pardon. For ever is His time, without end is His kingdom (Isaiah 9:7).
Here then is the Messiah, and in terms of calling evil good and good evil, one of the divine accusations against Israel which we noted last week, and the remedy for such confusion, notice these things.
I The OPPOSITE, the Blessed Righteousness of God
As sin estranged man, by its spread, so God's righteousness spreads like a saving net, to bring back fallen man. As the one brought devastation, loss, negation, a spendthrift spirit, so this brings reconstruction, through a vast endeavour, a rebuilding, as of Europe with Marshall Aid after World War II, courtesy of the United States in no small measure. As one destroyed, the other restores; as one lent on the wall to break it, the other constructed the wall, to make it serve. As the one defiled beauty, the other was defiled, to remove the ruin in Himself, and provide the beauty of holiness to the now redeemed, covered in the Cross of Christ by the blood of the New Covenant (Matthew 26).
2 The APPOSITE, the Gathering in of the Elect
Again, as sin brought extension, like a plague, the thing moving by birth and environment, moral, social, intellectual and physical, to many others, so salvation brought intensity, EACH one being revived to life on an individual basis, by the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus, like so many polluted streams, each renewed at its source, and then all allowed to flow into one huge river of life.
This is fitting, for as Christ is one, so is His body; and hence we who receive the Biblical Gospel should seek fellowship, not with falsely named rebels, pretending, but with those of like precious faith (Jude).
3. The REQUISITE, the spread of the Gospel
Yet there is more in this wonder of the Messiah and His work which must be at least looked at in this field.
Just as sin spread by its evil news, so the Gospel is spread by lively 'epistles' as Paul says of one church (II Corinthians 3:2ff.), those whose lives and words attest the truth of which they speak. Instead of infecting others, the Christian is called not to inspect them - God's affair - but to bring anti-biotic to their infection. Thus the Gospel of God's grace is death to sin and life to those afflicted, as surely as small pox was virtually wiped out years ago, through the vaccination program. Although life in Christ does not mean NO sin can enter; it DOES mean that no sin can stay (cf. Romans 8:8ff., 12-16).
Sin shall not have dominion over you (Romans 6), so that by the Spirit of God you put to death the deeds of the erratic freedom of fancy (Romans 8:11-13), that makes body, mind and spirit a plaything for sin, and a course for carrier disease (Romans 8:13).
There is no room for two sovereigns in the Christian life, and though many try it, none surmount it. With deity, there can be no duplicity: it is Christ who reigns (Romans 5:17ff., 8:1-10, 6:5-14).
Thus as we began to see last time, the virgin in the most amazing fashion, as if to search for height to heaven (as Isaiah offered Ahaz in Isaiah 7), and to hell for depth, and then apply the solution to the nation's troubles, we find a virgin is made a medium, providing the human form for the irruption of God into humanity. From her is to be born into mankind, the ONLY ONE who can heal it, save it, bring it peace in man or nations, women or wisdom, heal its sores and govern it in goodness. Thus does God taking flesh, deliver all in it, who seek Him, and seeking find.
The virgin is to be the encompassing one (as in Jeremiah 31) for the deliverance. How ? Why she is to bear, directly from God without human male, one who is to be the mighty God, the everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, and in His coming what do we have ? It is this: "God with us" (Isaiah 7, 9, Jeremiah 31).
In Isaiah 42:6, 49:6, we find that the Gentiles have NO LESS NEED than the Jew, that all need the same salvation and the same gift, with the same overdraft to be annulled: each in its own form (Isaiah 53:6), but all with the same eventual result.
It is when, and only when many have found this irresistible, as will come at the return of Christ, all drawn and Christ in command of this world as it flies to judgment, that the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14, Isaiah 11). It is then there will be world-wide impact for Christ, the commander, witness and leader (Isaiah 55:5), showing the glorious majesty of God in the light of governing goodness (cf. Isaiah 11, Psalm 72), before the world itself is removed from the scene and scenario (Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 23:35).
Even now the Gospel calls; then it leads to the day of divine JUDGMENT, when its neglect finally condemns. What IS the condemnation ? It is this as John 3 tells us. The true LIGHT has come into the world (John 1:9-10), but "this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
It is when, and only when many have found this irresistible, as will come at the return of Christ, irresistible in its testimony, and many are drawn with Christ in personal and present command of this world, that the earth shall be filled with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14, Isaiah 11). It is then that there will be world-wide impact for Christ, the commander, witness and leader (Isaiah 55:5), showing the glorious majesty of God in the light of governing practice (cf. Isaiah 11).
Even now the Gospel calls; then it leads to the day of divine JUDGMENT, when its neglect condemns. For what IS the condemnation ? It is this as John 3 tells us. The LIGHT has come into the world (John 1:9-10), but "this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."
When you have no education, who will judge your ignorance ? However, when the best of all teachers gives you unlimited time to find him and work and learn from him, and even attunes your gifts and acts as spiritual ophthalmologist, then there is no excuse (cf. John 15:22ff.). That is precisely the point that Christ made. It is not God, but man who asks for it, the trouble and the turmoil, the anguish and the despair, when he rejects not mere law (though glorious can be its governance for the understanding heart), but spurns or avoids love to restore! and the means of it, the Cross of Christ (cf. Galatians 6:14).
Jesus Christ did not come to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved (John 3:17). He SAYS so. He came that anyone believing might be saved. That is the positive and negative of it. The divine motivation is stated here, as in Colossians 1, Timothy, Ezekiel, Micah, and illustrated in history, like a forest filled with Autumn leaves of longing.
It is the human motivation which is subject to sentence, and for this, there is reason: reject salvation, and there is no other; ignore the appeal, and truth executes judgment. Keep your sin under wraps, and on the show day, its sentence is sure, just and certain.
The Prince of Peace is the ONLY way to avoid war, both personal, national and international. It is the only way to find God. It is the only way the vineyard, yours or that of Israel, being replanted with regenerated stock, can grow in grace. Otherwise mildew is mandatory. There is no sun, the Sun of Righteousness is excluded by the shade-cloth of false cover, and disease is rampant. Moreover, there is no heart to fight for the right. Morals become topsy-turvy, and men act as their own auditors. But audit rather the world of the living God:
"Of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end,
upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to order it and establish it with judgment and justice."
Eternal life has no end; the eternal Lord neither had beginning nor does He have end. Therefore find Him, do business with Him, and follow Him.