The Good News of Advent (Isaiah 61)

Date: 12/14/2014
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Freedom
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

The Good News of Advent (Isaiah 61)
Isaiah 61:1–11 - The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners; 2 To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. 4 Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. 5 Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers. 6 But you will be called the priests of the LORD; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, And in their riches you will boast. 7 Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, Everlasting joy will be theirs. 8 For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; And I will faithfully give them their recompense And make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Then their offspring will be known among the nations, And their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them will recognize them Because they are the offspring whom the LORD has blessed. 10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise To spring up before all the nations.

1) We must believe the Good News to have gospel liberty (61:1-3). The Messiah (Jesus) announces both blessing and judgment (Lk. 21:22), fulfilled in His first message in His hometown synagogue in Nazareth (Lk. 4:21). He brought the good news which transforms disciples as illustrated in four poetic images (61:3). They have a) a crown instead of the ashes of mourning; b) soothing oil on their face instead of humiliation; c) are dressed in festal attire; and d) become oak trees of faithfulness. Do you have this liberty (freedom)?  
2) We must rejoice in the Good News to the Nations (61:4-7). The result of the rebuilding (v4) is that all Israel will be like “priests” and “ministers” whereas “strangers” and “foreigners” (Gentiles) will come into the boundaries of Zion and rejoice. Though Israel will receive a firstborn’s “double portion,” this will produce joy in all the nations. Do you have this joy?
3) We must wear the Good News of the Remnant of Israel (61:8-11). Believers will rebuild and raise up (v4) and they are “the offspring whom the LORD has blessed” (v9). They are contrasted with those Israelites who commit “robbery in the burnt offering” (v8), such as Jews rejecting Jesus (Lk. 4:28-29). But those who receive Christ are blessed “offspring” “known among the nations” (v9) and Messiah rejoices in them (v10). He is “clothed with garments of salvation” (v10) so the nations will rejoice (e.g., Acts 13:47, Is. 42:6). Do you have these garments?

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more