Isa 55:6-7                  Seek Ye the Lord While He May Be Found                  1/30/2005      ίΰ   

  • To Everyone that Thirsteth (Isa 55:1-3, Rev 3:18, John 14:6, 6:44,45,65)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1.       A Witness to the People (Isa 55:4-5, Eph 1:4, Gen 3:15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • One Flock and One Shepherd (Ezek 34:22-24, John 10:16, 14:6, Rev 22:18, Heb 13:5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.    Call Ye Upon Him While He Is Near (Isa 55:6-7, Rom 1:21,24,26,28, Amos 8:11-12, Matt 24:24)

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Call to Repentance (Isa 55:7, John 8:34, 1John 1:9, Isa 1:18-20)

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah 55:1 (2X). The title of the sermon today is, “Seek Ye the Lord While He May Be Found” (2X), which is found in Isa 55:6. We started in this chapter last week, but time ran out and I did not get further than verse 3. Last week we already saw that this is not a chapter that is addressing all mankind. This chapter is a call:

  • To Everyone that Thirsteth (Isa 55:1-3, Rev 3:18, John 14:6, 6:44,45,65)

But not everyone thirsts for the Word of God, and not everyone thirsts for having their sins forgiven, and not everyone hungers and thirsts for righteousness. Only those whom God irresistibly draws to the Lord Jesus Christ do hunger and thirst after these things. Let us look again at these first three verses:

Isa 55:1 Ά  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.

God offers salvation, “without money and without price”, because salvation is a free gift. It cannot be purchased with money and the price tag is so great that God has to give it away. Only God is able to make such a large payment. Therefore the Lord Jesus Christ had to be God in order to purchase all His people at the cross of Calvary. But why does God say two times in this verse “buy”? It reads like a contradiction in terms. We are invited to buy, but we cannot pay because it is free. From God’s point of view it is free, but from man’s perspective there is a commitment attached to it. Of course we know from other parts of the Bible that our commitment is a result of our salvation, it is not the cause of it. God uses the expression “to buy” more often. For example, in Rev 3:18 God says to the church in Laodicea, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich” (2X). We know from other parts of the Bible that the gold that this lukewarm church is advised to buy is faith. But we know that our faith is the result of our salvation, it is not the cause of it. It does not cost us anything. But when we receive this gold (faith) we are rich, because we have inherited God. And then God says:

Isa 55:2-3  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.                 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.

Here again these verses are addressing only those who are tired of obeying works gospels, and only those who are able to hear. But only when we have received salvation by the grace of God are we willing to abandon works gospels. All the unsaved are in one way or another striving to make peace with eternity by their own works. And all the unsaved are dead in trespasses and sins, and thus they cannot hear. Only when we have been made alive by the grace of God are we able to hear the true Gospel, and are we willing to listen to those who bring us the true Gospel of grace alone. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to John 6:44 (2X). And thus we recognize that the first three verses of this chapter are addressed exclusively to a group of people who are called God’s elect, or the remnant chosen by grace, or children of Abraham, and so on. These verses apply to both OT saints as well as NT saints, who are saved the same way. OT saints were saved by looking forward to Messiah in whom they have put their trust, and NT saints are saved by looking back to Christ in whom they have put their trust. The Lord Jesus expressed this clearly when He said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. In other words, “Absolutely no one goes to heaven to be in the presence of God except through the Lord Jesus Christ”. We are required to come to the Lord Jesus Christ first before we can go to heaven. But no one CAN come to Jesus out of their own free will. We read that here in John 6:44-45, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day”.          “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me”. Paraphrased the Lord Jesus said: No one is able to come to Me, because they are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. Only those who are made alive and are drawn by the Father will come to Me. Therefore the Prophets said, “They shall be taught of God”. Therefore those who have been taught of God shall come to Jesus and therefore those who come to Jesus He will in no wise cast out. This is an important point of doctrine, and it is contrary to what most churches today teach. The Lord Jesus said that no one comes into the presence of the Father by their own efforts. Therefore the “Free Will religion” peddled by Pelagius in the 5th century, and by Jacob Arminius in the 16th century, and by John Wesley in the 18th century, are false gospels. They are works gospels that cannot lead anyone to Christ. This “free will religion”, or also called the Arminian gospel after Jacob Arminius, is very popular these days, but it cannot lead anyone to Christ. The Lord Jesus considered this principle so important that He repeated it in verse 65. We read in John 6:65, “And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father”. Let us return now to the Prophecy of Isaiah 55:3, where we have read in the end of verse 3, “the sure mercies of David”. This could have been better translated “The faithful mercies of David”, and by David is meant a descendant of David. This refers to the Lord Jesus, because He was the descendant of David that everyone in the nation of Israel was looking for. And so, when we read in verse 4:

#1.       A Witness to the People (Isa 55:4-5, Eph 1:4, Gen 3:15)

We understand that this refers to the Lord Jesus Christ being that witness. We read in verse 4,

Isa 55:4  Behold, I have given Him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

God has given Christ for a witness of the fulfillment of the prophecy of verse 3, “The faithful mercies of David”. When the Lord Jesus Christ came on earth He demonstrated that He was faithful, even to the death on the cross, and even to the equivalent of the 2nd death on behalf of all those He came to save. In His atonement on the cross He extended His mercies to all those who are in Him, by paying for them the guilt of all their sins, so that they do not have to go to Hell. “In Him”. This is a great and wonderful principle that we are “in Him”. And it is a mystery why this principle is unknown to so many in this world who call themselves Christians. If we count the number of times we find the words “in Christ” and “in Him”, we find it occurs 144 times in the NT alone. You cannot miss it! This principle is most clearly stated in Eph 1:4, where God says through the pen of the Apostle Paul, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him”. It means that before the foundation of the world the Father chose the Bride of Christ, His elect, and placed each one of them “in Christ”, who is the second Person of the triune Godhead. We were still in Christ when Christ went to the cross. The Bible teaches in various places that we were crucified with Christ, we died with Christ, we were buried with Christ, we rose from the grave with Christ, we ascended with Christ into heaven, and we are seated in the heavenly places with Christ and in Christ. We were not there literally, because we did not exist yet. Our souls as well as our bodies did not exist yet. But Christ was our representative. Therefore if He is our representative, in God’s terminology it is as good as if we were there with Christ and in Christ. Therefore, when Christ suffered the equivalent of an eternity in Hell on the cross we went there with Him and in Him through the torments of Hell, and therefore God can never send us through Hell again, because in principle we already went through Hell with Christ and in Christ. This is the great blessing of the representative principle. God surprised Satan by stating this principle of substitution already way back in Gen 3:15. And this then is the marvelous principle by which we have escaped Hell. We deserved to go to Hell, but through these wonderful arrangements that God has made God withholds Hell from us. These then are “The faithful mercies of David”. The Lord Jesus Christ was given for a witness to us, to witness of the mercies of Christ through His atonement on the cross. God says in verse 4 that Christ was also given to us as a Leader and Commander of the army that is under His command. This implies that there is a battle. Where is the battle? Let us move on to the next verse, verse 5, where we read about this battle. God says there:

Isa 55:5  Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

Here then is the battle of the woman, or the Bride of Christ, against Satan and the seed of Satan, as it was prophesied in Gen 3:15. Throughout time the saints shall extend the call to salvation throughout the world, and through this call God shall draw His elect together to Christ and into the church. God the Holy Spirit shall do this by His irresistible grace, and He shall do this for us and for the Lord Jesus Christ, and for His glory. And because Christ is glorified we too are glorified, because we still are “in Christ”. This is how Satan was defeated at the cross: All the elect who were purchased at the cross were also guaranteed to be delivered from the clutches of Satan at some point in their life through the action of God the Holy Spirit. Christ purchased His people and He also purchased the detailed route through which His people would be delivered, because He purchased the world and all that is therein and rules over all its affairs, so that His people will be delivered at the appointed time. Satan has no hold on us at all. This is called the Providence of God. Our God is absolutely sovereign, and Christ rules and is seated in the heavenlies as King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Holy One of Israel that we read about in verse 5. Christ is the Holy One, and we are the Israel of God that this verse speaks about. Christ purchased the world and He is in control of everything that goes on in this world. Then out of this world does He gather His flock, so that there will be:

  • One Flock and One Shepherd (Ezek 34:22-24, John 10:16, 14:6, Rev 22:18, Heb 13:5)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Ezek 34:22 (2X). This is a passage that has been misunderstood by many, who hold the doctrine that there will be a future 1000 years where Christ shall set up a earthly kingdom in Jerusalem, and the Jews shall all be converted and shall evangelize the whole earth, until the great falling away 1000 years later. But this is a doctrine that is not taught in the Bible. So, let us read this passage carefully. God says here, through the pen of the Prophet Ezekiel,

Eze 34:22-23  Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.            And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

How many flocks does the Lord Jesus Christ have? One! No, He does not have two flocks of sheep, one for the Jews and one for the Gentiles. The Lord Jesus said in the Gospel according to John 10:16, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one flock, and one shepherd”. The remnant chosen by grace from the Gentiles and the remnant chosen by grace from the Jews will be together, and they will be one flock, and there will only be one Shepherd over them. How many plans of salvation are there? One! There will not be one plan of salvation for the Gentiles and another plan of salvation for the Jews. The Lord Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. There is only one plan of salvation. From the context in Ezek 34 we understand that this passage is not speaking about the future NH&NE, but it speaks about the life of the people of God on this present earth. And so, when we read in Ezek 34:22 that they shall “no more” be a prey, we understand that those who have been saved shall no more fall into the hands of Satan. Their future is predestined, and purchased, and secure. Once they have been drafted into the army of Christ they cannot fall away towards the camp of Satan. In other words, “there are no backsliders”, and “there are no carnal Christians”. All those are inventions of a society that is driven by their desire to determine their own destiny by their own free will. But they are not listening to the Bible. And then God says in Ezek 34:22, “I will judge between cattle and cattle”. According to verse 20 Christ will judge between the lean cattle and the fat cattle, between those who are oppressed and those who are their oppressors, those who are His people and those who oppress and persecute His people. And Christ will separate His people by one Gospel, into one flock, or one church, or one Bride of Christ, or one group of saints who have been born from above by the will and the power of God’s grace. And those who were their oppressors shall be judged on the Last Day. And Christ shall be the one Shepherd over His saints, worldwide. But here He is called David. Will God reincarnate David to rule again over the nation of Israel during the glorious 1000 years? No! Not at all! The Bible does not teach reincarnation. David stands for the Lord Jesus Christ, who is a descendant of David. And He shall feed His flock. What shall He feed them? Did Christ promise that whosoever believes in Him shall never die of starvation? No! This is not speaking of physical food. This verse speaks about spiritual food. Christ, the Good Shepherd, shall feed His flock the spiritual food from the Scriptures, and nothing but the Scriptures. And ever since God dictated the words of Rev 22:18 to the Apostle John we are not to look elsewhere for additional revelation. God said in Rev 22:18, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book”. Since God promised in Rev 22:18 that He will not any more give His people divine revelation from heaven, we are warned not to believe anyone who comes to us with additional revelation from God in dreams, or in visions, or in angel visitations, or in tongues. God’s statement of Rev 22:18 means that the canon of the Bible as the Word of God is closed. The Bible is complete. God will not add any more to the prophecy of this Book, and we should be satisfied with what we have. Then God said in verse 24

Eze 34:24  And I the LORD (Jehovah) will be their God, and my servant David (Christ) a prince among them; I the LORD (Jehovah) have spoken it.

It sounds like an oath. God guarantees the promises of verses 22 and 23. If we will abide by these things that we have discussed here, including Rev 22:18, and we understand that we can do so only by the grace of God, then Jehovah will be our God, and Christ will be among us. Is it not true that He has said in Heb 13:5, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”? Let us now return to the Prophecy of Isaiah 55:6 (2X). Here in verse 6 God picks up the line of thought He left in verse 3. You remember in verses 1-3 God said, “Come to the waters”, and “Hearken diligently unto Me”, and “Incline your ear and come unto Me”. And now in verse 6 God says, “Seek ye the Lord While He May Be Found”, and:

·        Call Ye Upon Him While He Is Near (Isa 55:6-7, Rom 1:21,24,26,28, Amos 8:11-12, Matt 24:24)

Isa 55:6 Ά  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Isa 55:7  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.

What is the big deal about this admonition to seek the Lord while He may be found? Does this imply that there will ever be a time when He cannot be found? Absolutely yes! God said through the pen of the Apostle Paul in Rom 1:24,26,28, “God gave them up to vile affections” and “God gave them over to a reprobate mind”. What does it mean that “God gave them up”, or “God gave them over”? It means that God does not bother to teach them the right way of salvation. When God gives up on certain people, it means that these people are going to Hell for sure. Why would God do this to certain people? God said it plainly in Rom 1:21, “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened”. And so, this is a great warning from God to us, yes to us, that we must glorify the only God there is, the God of the Bible, and we do not want to experiment with other concepts of God. Our God, the God who is described by the Bible, has certain attributes and certain characteristics that we do not want to forget. Our God is loving and merciful and forgiving, but His longsuffering with sinful man is not infinite as some have suggested. From these verses in Rom 1 we can clearly see the warning that we do not test God to the uttermost. Please turn now to the Prophecy of Amos 8:11 (2X). You find Amos after Daniel, Hosea, Joel, and then Amos (2X). God says here that before the Last Day comes, there will be a period of time in the history of this world that the Word of God will become scarce, or it will not be preached any more. For this reason it will be a time of great tribulation for the people of God, but for those who are not hindered by the scarcity of His Word it will be time as usual. God says in Amos 8:11-12, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:       And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it”. This is not a famine of physical food, but of spiritual food. Somewhat like the situation we have today, but only worse. And when will God send this spiritual famine upon the earth? It will be when churches fall away, and fall prey to the doctrines of devils, and begin to worship the gods of their own imaginations. For example, they will worship the god of free will religion, totally ignoring all the passages in the Bible that speak of salvation by grace alone. They will worship the god of self esteem, totally ignoring the doctrine of man and the depravity of man as stated in the Bible. They will worship the god of miracle healings, and signs, and wonders, and dreams and visions, and utterances of saints raised to a level equivalent to the written Word of God, totally ignoring what God said in Rev 22:18. They will worship the god of science, elevating the theory of evolution to compete with the first eleven chapters of Genesis, and totally ignoring what God said in Rev 22:19, that we may not take away from the words of the Book of this prophecy. They will worship a god of money, using the science and business practices of marketing, and changing the doctrines they preach, and changing their worship practices to lure in more attendants, and creating more of a show to please audiences. These are just five examples of the gods created by man in the past 2 centuries. But there are many more! When the secular world out there worships these idols, the only true God would not be so angry. The heathen have done these things throughout time, so what is new? But when the church, who calls themselves of the family of Christ takes these gods into the sanctuary, and teaches their congregations such abominations, then God is very angry, and God will give up on churches, and God will give churches over to their abominations, and God will bring on the phenomena of the end of the last days. What are these phenomena? God says in Matt 24:24, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect”. False preachers will come up with man made gospels that are O-so-close to the true Gospel that even the elect might be deceived, if that were possible. The reprobate do not even know what is up or what is down, and so they will drift along with every teaching that comes their way. But the elect will have some discernment, and will be able to recognize what is false by applying the rules of Rev 22:18-19. But all these churches that have drifted into another gospel call themselves also Christian. Therefore, those who have been converted recently, and are seeking for support groups in a church, are drifting from one church to another, and have the greatest difficulty finding a place where the true Gospel is preached. They will think that the days of Amos 8:11-12 have already arrived. But I think that the situation is not bad enough right now. There are still many churches left that are preaching the true Gospel. Let us now return to the Prophecy of Isaiah 55:6 (2X). There God says, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near”. What does it mean “while He is near”? Well, are you presently in the audience and listening to this sermon, or are listening to this sermon from a tape, or from the radio, or from the Internet? If so, then you should be aware that God is near. There are still a few individuals who are listening, but who are undecided, uncommitted, not certain of their salvation, and not certain of what God requires of them. I do not know how they can sleep tonight, but that is a true state of affairs of some in this church and perhaps some out there who are listening too. Please remember that now is still the day of salvation, now is still the time when we can hear the Gospel, and now is still the time when, from the human perspective, we can make a commitment to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in word and in deed. I know that you cannot become saved when you make a commitment, but that it is the outward manifestation of the miracle that God has done in your soul. If God has not done this miracle in your soul then stay where you are and do not force yourself to make a commitment. But if God has been doing a work of grace in your soul, then consider that time is short. Today you are still privileged to hear the Gospel, but God can take my life tomorrow. God can take your life tomorrow, and is this state where you are in, the condition you want to be found when you die? That really is the bottom line of verse 6 when God says, “Call ye upon Him while He is near”.

  • The Call to Repentance (Isa 55:7, John 8:34, 1John 1:9, Isa 1:18-20)

Repentance is a dirty word these days. But repentance is absolutely necessary for salvation. There is no salvation without repentance. God says in Isa 55:7,

Isa 55:7  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.

God calls the wicked to forsake their way. All men are born wicked. Does this mean that God is now addressing everyone in the world? Or is God now addressing all the sinners? Take a test. Ask the people in your family, or on the streets, or those at your workplace if they are wicked. They will deny it! But did you know that God saves every sinner? Yes, everyone who admits that he or she is a sinner is actually on the way to become a saint. Only if someone comes to realize that he is a sinner, and that there is Hell to pay, only then does the Gospel find an entrance into his soul and into his mind. The fear of God and subsequently the fear of Hell makes a person receptive to listen to any solution out of his predicament. That is when they are willing to listen. That is why we find in five places in the Bible, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. Therefore God says in Isa 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way”. Who are those who dare to call themselves wicked? Only those whom the Father is drawing to Jesus will admit that they are wicked. They stop blaming others for their unfortunate circumstances and they begin to look at themselves as the cause for all the sin in their life, and around them the sins in the lives of their family members. Have you noticed that the unsaved are always blaming others? They deny that they are wicked, and thus they do not see their need for a Savior. Paraphrased God says, “It is fine that you recognize that you are wicked, but what are you doing about it? You must repent, and forsake your ways and your thoughts. Have you noticed sometimes that you have wicked thoughts? Those thoughts have to go! You must repent of them and return to the Lord”. Why did God say return? When did we leave Him? We left God when Adam sinned, way back in the Garden of Eden. Here is the representative principle again. Just like Christ is our representative in the Spirit, so Adam is our representative in the flesh. We were in Adam way back when God created Adam from the dust of the ground, and we were in Adam when he sinned by eating from the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That was our original sin, and it has led to our enslavement to sin and Satan. The Lord Jesus stated the principle in John 8:34, “Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin”. And therefore we were inherently wicked and sinners at heart. Thanks be to God that He has provided a way of escape from Hell. But we must repent and confess our sins. God says in 1John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”. Christ will cleanse us from all our past, present and future sins. Moreover He has delivered us from our enslavement to sin, so that we do not have to sin. Nevertheless, since we still live in a body that lusts after sin we are not totally free from sin. There is no sense denying it; just confess it. This is reiterated in the Prophecy of Isaiah. Please turn to Isa 1:18 (2X). We have here in the 1st chapter of Isaiah a well known verse that reflects the love of God for His people, and His compassion for helpless sinners. God says here in Isa 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool”. This verse falls in the same category as Isa 55:7. God pleads with us, to reason together with Him in prayer and in the reading of His Word. Admit that we are sinners, and that we need a Savior. Then a Savior shall be given, and we will receive a soul that continues to thirst after righteousness. We cannot ask for more. “O Lord, forgive our sins, and let our actions in Your sight be white as snow”. Then God says in Isa 1:19-20, “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land”:   “But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it”. If we are willing and obedient to the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall eat the spiritual food of the Kingdom of God. The land stands for the Kingdom of God. What is that spiritual food? It is the Bible. We must study the Bible and this will give us the spiritual food we so dearly need. But if we refuse and rebel we shall be devoured with the sword. What sword is God speaking about? Is it the sword of a physical enemy, like Muslim terrorists who shall invade the land and kill all those who are unsaved? Of course, you can see how ridiculous that gets. No! The sword that God speaks about is the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. And how shall we be devoured with that Sword? We shall know from the Word of God that we are still unsaved and are under the judgment of God. For example, when we are finding fault with the Word of God because God is too harsh on sinners, or we find that there are many contradictions in the Bible, or we find that there is much cruelty in the Bible, or we find that we can improve on the recommendations that the Bible gives, and many others like these, then we can know that we are essentially unsaved because we have declared God a liar. But whosoever is willing to repent and confess his sins, “the LORD will have mercy upon him; and our God will abundantly pardon”. What does it mean that God will abundantly pardon? It means that God will pardon our future sins many times over. We have no idea what future sins we will commit, but God knows. And He will have compassion on us and He will pardon us again and again, because He has adopted us as His children, and He will not let us slip away. That is the great mercy of God that we can rejoice over all day, every day. That is why He said, “Seek Ye the Lord While He May Be Found”, for He will abundantly pardon.                                  AMEN.

Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.