Isaiah's Dream - Empowerment for Mission

Summary

The great heroes of faith who worked mighty exploits all did so because they caught the dream of the city whose builder and founder is God.  Pr. Brannan examines the life and ministry of Isaiah as a model for believers today, and demonstrates how the kingdom of Messiah, Jesus Christ, is at the center of empowerment for mission.

Outline

  1. The author of Hebrews, when he gets to chapters 12 begins to call people to run a good race – and the source of his exhortation is based on the fact that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses – all of whom were empowered for mission.
    1. He describes the exploits of those witnesses in chapter 11 with terms such as they “through faith they subdued nations, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, and turned back armies of aliens. 
      1. Are these some amazing exploits?
      2. These were people that he says obtained a good testimony, of whom the world was not worthy.
      3. He holds up such examples as models for Jesus’ witnesses today.
      4. The description of their exploits seem to be more valuable in terms of the world’s real needs today so that it seems their faith was more glorious than ours.
      5. The heroes of faith begin with their father Abraham – Sought the city whose builder and maker is God – The Kingdom of
        God –THAT RADICAL COMMITMENT TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS THE SOURCE OF EMPOWERMENT – EVERYTHING THEY DID FLOWED FROM THAT DREAM.
        1. WE NEED TO INFECT THE NATIONS WITH THAT SAME DREAM.
    2. The author’s strategy to empower people for missions is to examine the lives of heroes of faith so that we have a pattern from God’s word that equips us for every good work.
    3. Many desire to be great, and to bear fruit for the glory of God – yet we need to study the blueprints of the lives of people who have gone before us.
  2. Therefore we are going to study the life of Isaiah as a model for empowerment.
    1. Many have looked at the life and calling of Isaiah, and concluded that it was a unsuccessful ministry because Israel ended up hardening their heart and going into captivity.
    2. I will demonstrate that this assessment is false, yet it important that we challenge the assumption it is based on.
      1. The true measure of success is obedience.  Our desire is to hear the Lord say to us, “Well done good and faithful servant…”
    3. I want to point out just five  things that show that Isaiah’s ministry was a great success:
      1.  In Isaiah 1:1 (NKJV) we read: — 1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. – ALL OF THE KINGS FROM THE CALLING OF ISAIAH IN CHAPTER 6 WALKED IN THE FEAR OF GOD.
      2. Isaiah birthed one of the greatest revivals in Jewish history under Hezekiah
      3. God worked a mighty miracle to deliver the nation in the days of Isaiah.
      4. More than any other prophet, Isaiah saw and prophesied about the coming reign of Messiah.
      5. Even the people who went into captivity went with a prophetic interpretation of their situation, a prophetic sign of God’s power to turn things around, and the prophetic seed of restoration. – THE GOSPEL MUST BE PREACHED AS A WITNESS TO ALL MEN REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY REPENT.
  3. What are some of the elements of Isaiah’s life that caused him to shine so brightly that His ministry is still a light in the world even until today?
  4. Let’s begin by looking at the Birth of His Ministry
    1. Isaiah 6:1 (NKJV) — 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
    2. This is such an important point in Isaiah’s life and ministry that I need to step back. 
      1. We already read that Isaiah ministered during the reign of Uzziah.
      2. I suggest that Isaiah was first awakened spiritually while Uzziah was king.
      3. In order to understand Isaiah, we need to understand his times.
    3. (George Adam Smith, “The Book of Isaiah,” in The Expositor’s Bible: Psalms to Isaiah, ed. W. Robertson Nicoll, vol. 3, Expositor’s Bible (Hartford, CT: S.S. Scranton Co., 1903), 631.) wroteThere had been no king like [Hezekiah] … since Solomon; never, since the son of David brought the Queen of Sheba to his feet, had the national pride stood so high or the nation’s dream of sovereignty touched such remote borders. The people’s admiration invested Uzziah with all the graces of the ideal monarch.”
    4. (Terry R. Briley, Isaiah, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub., 2000–), 96.) wrote “In the beginning of his reign he is faithful to God and is thus blessed with great success. He is victorious in warfare, carries out building projects, develops agriculture, and builds up his military resources (the last item is not necessarily a positive sign). In conjunction with Jeroboam II, king of the Northern Kingdom, the borders of Israel and Judah expand to match those in the days of Solomon.”
    5. Yet, the dream was broken by leprosy.
      1. Hezekiah crossed the true meaning of separation of church and state.
      2. A wakeup call to a generation.
      3. It was a giant sign that things were out of order.
      4. The Leprosy of Uzziah in many ways was like what 9-11 was for America.
  5. Isaiah sees from a new perspective.
    1. My theory is that God’s judgment on Uzziah was the source of Isaiah’s awakening.
    2. He probably had faith, but was also spiritually asleep like the rest of his generation.
    3. He let the sign of judgment get into his heart and create a burden in him.
    4. His eyes were opened to how far out of order his society was, and it was at this point he probably began his ministry under Uzziah.
    5. This new perspective, wed with his love for God and country was the context that launched him into a mission to bring God’s order back to his people – HIS DREAM WAS THE CITY WHOSE BUILDER AND FOUNDER IS GOD!
  6. The death of Uzziah – troubling times for Isaiah.
    1. Despite all of his prophesying, he saw that people were not awake.  What he said seemed to have little impact on the people.
    2. When he looked around at the world he saw the other nations, especially Assyria, amassing wealth and power.  He wondered if there was any future for his nation.  The other nations surrounded Israel like hungry lions.
    3. In his deep distress over the state of the world and the state of the nation, Isaiah entered the temple.  There he caught a vision that was ever more before his mind’s eye.
    4. He saw the Lord high and lifted up and the train of His robe filled the temple.
    5. He saw the throne of God exalted above all the thrones of the world, and suddenly history and destiny were all summed up in God’s eternal throne.
    6. MANY OF US NEED A SIMILAR VISION
    7. From that vision he received a new commission.
    8. This reminds me of the Parable of the talents – the message is that God promotes those who are faithful with the ministries they have been entrusted -  Luke 19:17, 26–27 (NKJV) — 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ …26 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’”
    9. AFTER THE NEW COMMISSION, NO KING UNDER ISAIAH’S MINISTRY WALKED WICKEDLY! 
    10. A GREAT REVIVAL AND A MIGHTY DELIVERANCE UNDER HEZEKIAH
    11. Isaiah’s ministry reminds me of Samuel - 1 Samuel 7:13 (NKJV) — 13 So the Philistines were subdued, and they did not come anymore into the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
    12. Yet, Hezekiah is also like a proper bookend to the fading glory of Isaiah’s Old Covenant Ministry - the Babylonian envoys.
    13. Despite 3 godly kings, sin was still degenerating society.
      1. We need to order all things in society according to God’s wisdom.
      2. It is imperative that we have godly leaders.
      3. Yet all of this does not rescue a society that drinks iniquity like water.
      4. True reformation lies elsewhere, as we will see.
  7. Getting deeper into the mechanics of Isaiah’s ministry, we see that his burden was for the city whose builder and founder is God –HIS DREAM WAS FOR THE GLORY OF GOD AND FOR HIS LOVE FOR HIS FELLOW MAN.
    1. As he wrestled with a longing and desire for God’s kingdom, in light of the power of sin at work in his nation and utter darkness in the rest of the world, Isaiah’s heart mourned as he looked to God.
    2. In that context he saw right through history to the coming kingdom of Messiah. 
    3. He saw the day coming when God’s kingdom would be established through Jesus! – HE SAW THE CITY WHICH WAS COMING INTO THE WORLD!
  8. Isaiah saw the New Covenant coming in the distance.  Let us also take a look at what Isaiah saw, for it is the answer to longing of Isaiah’s heart.
    1. Paul describes it the best in 2 Corinthians 3, verse one says (NKJV) — 1 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?
      1. Paul was in conflict with Judaizers who sought to keep people in bondage to Old Covenant religion.
      2. These were Christians in the church, not Jews outside.
      3. What is Old Covenant religion?
        1. People today think it has to do with justification by works, and although that was a subversion of it, that is not it.
        2. Redemption came first by grace, and the law was later given at Sinai
        3. The nature of the Law
        4. The point is that Old Covenant Identity is based on atonement because people were powerless to live in agreement with God’s nature.
        5. Praise God for such religion, but it is time to move on.
        6. This is what we are still fighting today.
      4. The Judiaizers in Paul’s day threatened to disconnect people from the power and glory of New Covenant religion.
      5. The Judaizers of our day do the same by denying the power of the New Covenant to transform lives.
    2. 2 Corinthians 3:2–3 (NKJV) 2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; 3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
      1. The transformative power of the gospel in believer’s lives was so evident that it was both the credentials of the Apostle and a witness to a world in darkness.
      2. Transformed lives are the heart of New Covenant religion.
      3. That is what Lifesprings promotes and why it is imperative that we get the word out to a dying world.
    3. 2 Corinthians 3:5–6 (NKJV) … our sufficiency is from God, 6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
      1. It is all the work of God and not man.
      2. The letter kills. 
      3. The Spirit gives life
      4. This is not only a ministry to get people to heaven when they die, but it is God’s agenda destroy the power of evil in our day as we bring people and nations into the obedience of Christ.
    4. 2 Corinthians 3:7–8 (NKJV) 7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
      1. The Old Covenant could not bring people into their inheritance.
      2. This is what Isaiah saw.
      3. Yet the Old Covenant was glorious, and there is still a use for God’s law written on tablets of stone today.
      4. The New Covenant is Glorious
      5. WE ARE MINISTERS OF THE NEW COVENANT!
      6. J Munck, as quoted by Peter Jones in God’s Inerrant Word, 233. Points out that in this passage “The greatest man in the history of Israel is put beneath the traveling tent-maker.”
      7. This is why there has been such a warfare over many of our lives and over this church, because the enemy knows that the ministry of the New Covenant spells the end of his strongholds in the earth.
        1. Christianity that denies the power to transform lives today leaves people and nations in bondage to evil.
    5. We are ministers of the Dream of Prophets - Ezekiel 11:19–20 (NKJV) — 19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
      1. The New Covenant is the power to walk according to love, to live in fellowship with God.
      2. The enemy wants to darken this testimony in the world by attacking you and me to rob us of the glory of our heritage and inheritance.
  9. Empowerment for Mission – lessons from Isaiah
    1. (1) Catch the dream of the city whose builder and founder is God
    2. (2)Wake Up
      1. We all need a greater spiritual awakening
    3. (3)Receive the burden of the lord for a world out of order.
      1. Be brokenhearted in prayer before the Lord.
    4. (4) Boldly proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God to a world desperately in need.
    5. The principles that made Isaiah great are the same principles that empower us today, yet the ministry which we are entrusted with is much more glorious.
    6. Isaiah’s ministry was glorious, yet it is only a shadow of the glorious ministry to which we have been entrusted.
    7. The New Covenant is about the reign of love
      1. I encourage you to Let the love of God compel you, for faith works through love. 
      2. Love is drove Jesus to the cross, and was the power that raised Him in resurrection.
      3. Be a community ruled by love.
        1. Team
        2. Covering faults
        3. Building one another up
        4. Showing ourselves to be children of God.
    8. Finally I want to encourage us all to take our place among the heroes of faith and win a good testimony as we follow their pattern and are empowered for the mission which is His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

 

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