Isa 55:3                        The Faithful Mercies of David              1/23/2005      ßà   

 

  • God’s Great Forgiveness (Isa 45:18-22,1,7, John 1:3, Eph 1:10)

 

 

 

 

 

#1.       Only Those Who Are Thirsty (Isa 55:1, Rom 3:11,18, Eph 2:3, Matt 5:6, John 4:10, Rom 10:17, John 2:10, 1Pet 2:2)

 

 

 

 

 

  • It Costs Us Nothing (Gen 1:27, Mark 8:36, Rom 6:23, Eph 1:3-5)

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       Only Those Who Are Tired of Works (Isa 55:2, Rom 8:8, Prov 21:4, Eph 1:4, Isa 64:6)

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       Only Those Who Hear (Isa 55:3, Eph 2:1-3, Rom 8:30, Acts 2:27, Col 3:16)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah 45:18 (2X). You find the Prophecy of Isaiah almost in the middle of your Bibles, just past Psalms, Prov, Eccl, and S. o. S. Today I want us to focus on the great forgiveness that God designed into His plan of salvation. And since we have been a great deal in the NT the last few months, I would like us to look for God’s great forgiveness in the OT. The title of our sermon today is The Faithful Mercies of David (2X), which is taken from Isa 55:3. But before we get to Isa 55, I would like us first to look at Isa 45:18-22. And there we see again on display:

  • God’s Great Forgiveness (Isa 45:18-22,1,7, John 1:3, Eph 1:10)

In this passage that we are going to read God calls to the entire world to heed the call to salvation. Everyone on the earth is in need of salvation, because everyone is born on the way to Hell. Or if I would express it in NT language, everyone is urged to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.

Isa 45:18  For thus saith the LORD (Jehovah) that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

Isa 45:19  I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

Isa 45:20 ¶  Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save.

Isa 45:21-22  Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the LORD? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.                       Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

What did God say here? Let us begin with verse 18. When we read “the LORD”, with all 4 letters capitalized, it stands for “Jehovah”, the great “I Am”. And since the Lord Jesus Christ said of Himself that He is the great “I Am”, we understand that Christ is Jehovah, and God the Father is Jehovah, and God the Holy Spirit is Jehovah. And yet there is only one Jehovah, because our God is only one God, who manifests Himself in three Persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. And so we read in verse 18 that Christ created the heavens and the earth. To the Christian this is no big surprise, because we remember having read in the Gospel according to John 1:3, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made”. And, take note of it, God says that He created the world not in vain; He created it to be inhabited by man and beast. There are people who believe that God created the world in vain. They accept the fact that God created the world, but since God is going to destroy this world anyway, they see this act of God as something that was done just for a short interlude and then the earth will be blown to smithereens. It seems as if God created the world “in vain”. But God insists that He created it not in vain. The creation of this world fulfils a definite purpose. The purpose is stated in Eph 1:10, “In order that in the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth”. And therefore God says to the seed of Jacob in Isa 45:19, “I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain”. The seed of Jacob is not going to seek the Lord in vain and not find Him. Every one of the seed of Jacob will find the Lord Jesus Christ, because God says it here. They will find Christ in the Bible, because Christ chose to make Himself known unto them. Many people derive from this verse that in the beginning of the millennium all the Jews will be saved, and then they will begin to evangelize the world. But that is not taught here in this verse. Who, in this context, is the seed of Jacob? Certainly it does not refer to all the physical descendants of Jacob, because the majority of the Jews today reject the Lord Jesus as their Messiah. If they die in that condition they will stand for judgment on the last day and be cast into Hell. They do not belong to the “seed of Jacob” as mentioned here in Isa 45:19. In this contextthe seed of Jacob” must refer to all those who come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, both OT believers as well as NT believers. Which means that in this context “the seed of Jacob” refers to all of God’s elect, which are all those whom Christ chose to make Himself known to? Therefore this is the only interpretation possible without making God a liar. Therefore God says in verse 20, “Come and draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations”. In other words: Come together, and draw near to God together, in groups, you who have escaped Hell, you whom God has drawn out of all the nations. They, the nations, have no knowledge of the only true God. They have set up the wood for the altars before their man made images, and they pray to these gods that cannot save. But then consider the call from God to all these nations. God says in verse 21, “Tell ye, and bring them near”. In other words: “Tell them Who the true God is, and bring them near to hear the truth. Let them know what things I have said about Cyrus from the beginning of this chapter (verse 1). Let them know what I said in verse 7 about Myself, that I am sovereign. “I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things”. Evangelize among them and let them take counsel together to find out who else could have declared these things so far ahead about Cyrus. There is no one else like Me, and there is no Savior like Me. You all need a Savior. You all need to be saved”. And then God made the remarkable statement in verse 22, “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth” Paraphrased God says, “I will forgive all your trespasses by the mercies of Christ, and I will shower you with all kinds of “spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ”, but come now and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”. Now, do we have to step aside for the stampede of people who take God up on this offer? It is a very generous offer. It is an offer so generous, it cannot be matched by anyone of the human race, throughout the existence of time. And so, who will come? Very few will come. In spite of all the pleading that God has done, very few believe what God says here in Isa 45:20-22. The only ones who will come are the seed of Jacob, as defined in verse 19, who are commanded to preach the Gospel among the heathen. But the rest of the heathen will not come, no matter how attractive God portrays salvation, and no matter how terrible God portrays eternal damnation. Please turn now to Isa 55:1 (2X). Isa 55 is a chapter where God shows His love and compassion for sinners. In this chapter God shows His great forgiveness for sinners. Like in chapter 45, here in Isa 55 God continues to plead with mankind, and this plea is addressed to mankind from all the ends of the earth. And that is true. The call of the Gospel and the call to repent goes out into the entire world, to all mankind. But who will repent? Who will come to the Lord Jesus Christ? Very few will come. But then, when we consider God’s Word carefully, we discover that the effectual call goes out to:

#1.       Only Those Who Are Thirsty (Isa 55:1, Rom 3:11,18, Eph 2:3, Matt 5:6, John 4:10, Rom 10:17, John 2:10, 1Pet 2:2)

Isa 55:1 ¶  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.

Who are those who are thirsty for the Gospel? Can we say that every human being has a Christ-shaped-void in his soul, and is restless all his or her life until we have filled this void with the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ? We hear this an awful lot these days, but it is a bunch of nonsense. This idea is not supported by the Bible at all. God says in Rom 3:11, “There is none that seeketh after God”, and that really means NONE at all, NO NOT ONE. God says in Rom 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes”. They are all happy slaves of sin and Satan, and they do not fear the wrath of God. In fact, God says in Psalm 58:3, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies”. God does not say this about a few wicked babies. No! God makes this statement about the whole human race. It is painful to see how much corruption and evil there is in a young child’s heart, and how soon it begins to bear fruit. Look at their violent tempers, their self-will, their pride, their envy of other children’s toys, their moods, and some of them can be very moody, their idleness when they are a little bit older, their selfishness, their lying and deceit, their cunningly playing out their parents against each other, their hypocrisy, their terrible aptness to learn what is bad, their painful slowness to learn what is good, and a readiness to pretend anything in order to gain their own ends. All these things we must be prepared to see in our own children. In little ways they will creep out at a very early age! But you must not think it a strange and unusual thing that their little hearts are so full of sin. It is the fallen nature of Adam that we all have inherited when we came into the world. Never listen to those who tell you that your children are basically good. Think rather that their hearts are always inflammable as tinder. At their very best they only need a spark to set their corruptions on fire.

This does not mean that there are no redeeming values in our children. Remember, we all were such terrible children at one time. We all drove our parents mad. We all were at one time happy slaves of sin and of Satan, and we did not regret it one moment. According to Eph 2:3, “We all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”. We all were at one time children of the wrath of God. We all were on a slippery slide into Hell. But God, in His great mercy, reached out to us and snatched us away from this slippery slide into Hell that all mankind is on. God gave us a knowledge of sin, and God gave us an awareness that there is retribution for sin, and God gave us a thirst for a way out, and a thirst for hearing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus said in the Gospel of Matt 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled”. This is a thirst that was given by God, because of our own self no one seeks for God, NO NOT ONE. And only those who are this thirsty will come to the Lord Jesus, and repent of their sins. Only those who are this thirsty will read Isa 55:1 and say, “Yes! This applies to me!”. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters”. In fact, the Hebrew text does not read the plural “waters”, but it is in the singular, just “water”. What is this water that this first verse speaks about? It is the living water of the Gospel that we are thirsting for. It is the living water that the Lord Jesus spoke about in John 4:10, when He said to the Samaritan woman, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water”. It is the living water of the Gospel that, accompanied by the Holy Spirit, gives us faith, for so we read in Rom 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. Yes! This is the living water that we are thirsting for. And how much does it cost? It does not cost us anything. The Gospel is free; salvation is a free gift from God. We read in Isa 55:1, “he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price”. In this context the wine and the milk refer to certain elements contained in the Gospel. For example, in John chapter 2 at a wedding feast the Lord Jesus made an abundance of wine. This was a wedding feast in anticipation of the great wedding feast that is still to come in the NH&NE of Christ and His Bride, the body of believers. But notice what the ruler of the feast said when he tasted the wine, in John 2:10, “Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now”. The meaning is that the content of the Gospel in the NT tastes better than the content of the Gospel in the OT. Even though the Gospel is the same in the NT as in the OT, yet the NT is richer and contains more elements of God’s wonderful mercy and grace than the OT. Likewise in this context milk also refers to certain desirable elements in the Gospel. God said through the pen of the Apostle Peter in 1Pet 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby”. The sincere milk of the Word are those elements of the Gospel that are easy to understand, whereas the wine refers to those elements of the Gospel that are more difficult to understand. In Isa 55:1 God invites us to partake of water and wine and milk of the Gospel “without money and without price”.

  • It Costs Us Nothing (Gen 1:27, Mark 8:36, Rom 6:23, Eph 1:3-5)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians 1:3 (2X). You find Ephesians right after 2Corinthians and after Galatians. It costs us nothing, but it cost the Lord Jesus Christ everything He had. Even the salvation of one man cannot be bought by any man, because it costs too much. Only God is able to make the payment for the salvation of even one soul. Why is that so? Well, God said in Gen 1:27, “God created man in His own image”. And thus man became more valuable than anything else on this earth. The Lord Jesus said in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” It means that all the material value of this whole world is of lesser value than one human soul. Therefore the amount of money our church spends on evangelism is just a mere pittance compared to the possible return on our investment. In addition, the work anyone can do for the benefit of someone else’s soul is of much greater value than any other work he can do. For this reason I am greatly honored by the assignment God has given me. Think of it. As the undershepherd of this little church God has put a much more valuable inventory under my wings than the president of the largest multibillion dollar company on the face of this earth. Therefore it is my pleasure and my honor to work hard in this job, because I delight to do those things that are pleasing in the sight of the Lord. But since a human soul is worth so much, the defilement of a soul by sin is an infinite insult to God. This is a crime that requires the payment of an eternity in Hell. God is absolutely fair. God does not impose a penalty that is much greater than the crime. The penalty that God requires absolutely fits the crime. And God said in Rom 6:23, “The wages of sin is death”, and the death that God has in view as the penalty for sin is the 2nd death, which is to spend an eternity in a place that is called “the Lake of Fire”. This is the destiny of every sinner, which means it is the destiny of every human being, because every human being, even little babies, are sinning every day. But God had mercy on some and God decided to save them from the destiny of eternal damnation in Hell. We read in Eph 1:3-5 one of the most important statements of Scripture. Through the pen of the Apostle Paul God says there, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will”. Who are “US” and “WE” there in verses 3 and 4? “US” and “WE” refer to those who read these verses and believe them. What is God saying to “US”? God says that anyone who becomes saved was chosen unto salvation “in Christ” before the foundation of the world. We have been predestinated to become the adopted children of God through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. And God did not predestinate us because He saw something good in us, and God did not predestinate us because He saw that we were going to do something good, and God did not predestinate us because we would turn in faith to the Lord Jesus. No! God chose us and predestinated our status as children of God entirely according to the good pleasure of His will. This is not a popular doctrine these days. People do not like a God who is in control of everything. But these words are in the Bible, and the Bible is the written word of God. What God says here cannot be shoved under the carpet. And we cannot come up with a doctrine from somewhere else in the Bible that contradicts this statement here in Eph 1:3-5, because we may not declare God a liar. Think of it now. If God wrote the Bible, and He says that He did, then the Bible cannot contain any contradictions. This means that we are obligated to harmonize every verse in the Bible with other verses that we find therein. And what does it mean “that we should be holy and without blame before him”, as we find in verse 4 of this passage? It means that God has eradicated our sins so that He does not see them anymore. But God cannot do that just by some hand waving. Our God is a righteous Judge who must keep the integrity of His righteousness. Every sin must be paid. If God forgives any sin by some hand waving then God has committed sin, and that is impossible. How can God be merciful to us and be just at the same time? God solved this problem by allowing someone to substitute for us, by absorbing the penalty that God required for each sin. This substitute must be a man, because man has sinned. But if any man would dare to step forward as my substitute, he would first have to pay for his own sins before he can pay for my sins. Therefore the substitute must be totally sinless. He must be the spotless Lamb of God. Therefore God sent the Second Person of the triune Godhead, the Lord Jesus Christ, to this earth to be the Divine Substitute for each individual whom God elected unto salvation. It meant that when the Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth about 2000 years ago as fully man and fully God at the same time, God imputed the sins of every one of His elect to the soul of the Lord Jesus Christ. It meant that Christ could not go back to heaven without paying for the guilt of all the sins that were imputed to Him. It meant that He had to stand before the Judgment seat of God and be declared guilty and be sentenced. It meant that when the Lord Jesus stood before Pilate, the judge appointed by God to execute judgment on Jesus, He actually stood before the Judgment throne of God, and was sentenced to suffer and die on the cross. It meant that the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross suffered the equivalent of what we would have to suffer if we would have to pay for our own sins. It meant that the Lord Jesus Christ would have to suffer in His soul the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, because that is what we would have to suffer if we would pay for our own sins. Then He cried “It is finished”, then He died, He was buried, He rose from the grave, and went back to heaven. This was the ultimate proof that Christ was successful in paying for our sins, or else He would not have risen from the grave, and He would not be able to go back to heaven. The persons whose sins Christ paid for are, or have been, visited by God the Holy Spirit, who makes it clear to them that they are the recipients of God’s great gift of forgiving all their sins, through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, and lifting them up from the dunghill, and promoting them to the status of sons of God. These are the mercies of Christ, who bought us body and soul, and therefore in our gratitude we want to serve Him all the days of our life. Let us now turn again to the Prophecy of Isaiah 55:2 (2X). There we find that the ones whom God addresses in verse 2 are:

#2.       Only Those Who Are Tired of Works (Isa 55:2, Rom 8:8, Prov 21:4, Eph 1:4, Isa 64:6)

Isa 55:2 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.

Why did God say, “your labour for that which satisfieth not”? Is it so important that the work we do must be satisfying to us? Should we be proud of the accomplishments we have in our work? What if we end up in a job with a whole lot of repetitive actions, like putting on a particular screw on a product passing us on a production line, and then the next one, and then the next one, and then the next one, and so on. Is this what God is talking about here in verse 2? Absolutely not! The work we do does not need to be satisfying to us; it needs to be satisfying to God. Is God satisfied with the work we do? Well, this question has two sides. If we have not been saved then nothing that we do is pleasing to God. God says through the pen of the Apostle Paul in Rom 8:8, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God’. Those that are in the flesh are those who have not been saved. A reprobate is in the flesh all the time. And God says of them in Prov 21:4, “An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin”. Even the secular job of the wicked plowing his field is a sin in the eyes of God. There is nothing that a reprobate person can do that is free from sin. Even one of God’s elect before the moment of his salvation is still full of sin, and is still in bondage to sin and Satan. His actions are always sin in the eyes of God, and that is because all his works are not done for God, but they are done for Satan. But then, God saves him in an instant. How does God then view our works? Why did we read in Eph 1:4, “that we should be holy and without blame before him”? Have our works suddenly become blameless? We have to face ourselves honestly. We still live in our sinful flesh. The actions of the reprobate are altogether abomination in the sight of God. But how do we view the actions of the saved elect? And let me focus now entirely on the actions of the elect AFTER the moment of their salvation. We have to see our works from two vantage points: #1. Are they in fact perfect, or are they imperfect? #2. How does God see our works: perfect or imperfect? Since we still live on this earth in our sinful flesh, we are not able to do anything perfect. Look on any work that you have done in the past. It was not perfect, because if you would do that work today you would improve on it. It means that all your works done yesterday had sins cleaving to it, because imperfections are in fact sins. God knew that we would do those sins, and therefore the Lord Jesus Christ already suffered and died for those sins about 2000 years ago. By God's mercy, He included those sins into His marvelous plan for this world. And so, whether we commit small sins or big sins, all your works are accompanied by sins, even if we have become a saint. Now consider the second vantage point. How does God see our works? God saved us. He gave us a perfect and righteous soul in which there is no blemish. He has come to live in our soul. No sin will ever enter our soul, because God is there. And so, whatever sin is cleaving to our work, it is immediately erased because Christ already paid for it. That is why God can say that His saints are blameless in His sight. In reality, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags”, from Isa 64:6. Which means that even the best works we do are as good as filthy rags. And therefore, we are not blameless because our works are so good and so sinless, but because our works have been MADE sinless in the sight of God.

Let us now turn to the next verse in Isa 55. And then we discover that Isa 55:3 is addressed to:

#3.       Only Those Who Hear (Isa 55:3, Eph 2:1-3, Rom 8:30, Acts 2:27, Col 3:16)

Isa 55:3  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 (faithful) mercies of David.

Why does God say now, hear, and your soul shall live”? Who is willing to listen to God? This certainly is not addressed to everyone in the world. “There is NONE that seeketh after God”. No one of the human race is willing, of his own self, to listen to the Word of God. Listen to what God says in Eph 2:1-3, “And you (hath he quickened), who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others”. These verses speak to the fact that spiritually before our salvation we were dead in trespasses and sins. We were not willing and not able to turn to God and listen. We could not hear, because we were dead. And so, God had to make us alive first, and then we could hear Him speak. And so, we have discovered that all three verses in Isa 55:1-3 are not addressed to everyone in the world, but they are addressed to the select group of people whom God chose from before the foundation of the world, God’s elect. The call to salvation goes out into all the world, and for this task we must be available, but the effectual call is only to those whom God elected unto salvation. Therefore God says in Rom 8:30, “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified”. And those to whom God extends an effectual call God says here in Isa 55:3, “I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure (faithful) mercies of David”. God uses the name David, but the Lord Jesus Christ is in view. Since Christ is a descendant of David, God substitutes the name David for Christ. Also, the word “sure mercies” could have been better translated “faithful mercies”. Why did God use the word “faithful”. God did that to let us know that Christ was faithful in His obedience to the Father, even faithful unto the death of the cross. And more so, because Christ did not only suffer in His body, but He suffered in His Soul the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. That is why we read in Acts 2:27, “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption”. Christ was faithful because He knew that His Father would not leave His soul in Hell, and His Father would not leave His body in the grave. This was the faith of Christ. These are the faithful mercies of Christ. He speaks of plural mercies, because He is addressing many. The pronoun “you or ye” refers to many, whereas the pronoun “thou or thee” refers to one. He is speaking of mercies, because mercy means God is withholding what we deserve. We deserve Hell, but Christ has taken the penalty of Hell in our place, and therefore God speaks of the faithful mercies of Christ. And God will make an everlasting covenant with us. What does that mean? It means that God will give all that He has to us, to whom the mercies of Christ have been given. We are the inheritors of everything God has in the NH & NE. We inherit God.

If God so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son for us, what love do we show toward God? How great is our gratitude? Well, if God is our Father, then we desire to serve Him and be obedient to Him in all things that He commands us. What does He ask from us? Did you notice that God says in Isa 55:2, “Hearken diligently unto Me”. Does that not mean that we must be engaged in the reading and studying of the Word of God? We like to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. What are those things? Well, we discover what those things are when we study His Word, and when we talk about these things with others of like mind, and meditate on these things. But nothing will be done if we do not study His Word. There is where our gratitude starts. God says through the pen of the Apostle Paul in Col 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord”. This is how God will make known to us what His will is for our lives.                      AMEN.

Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.