Title: Missions in the Old Testament
Text: Isaiah 56.1-8
Introduction: Read Isaiah 56.1-8 as Scripture Reading; Our church has set three priorities under my leadership and the leadership of the elders. Those of you who are members already know them:
Worship; Discipleship; Ministry & Mission and we’ve outlined these on the website as: show http://www.calvarytyler.org
- One Passion: Worship
- One Mission: Disciples – the Great Commission
- One Body – serving in Ministry & Mission
What I want you to see is that all of these are inter-related and that you really can’t have one part without the other.
· Remove Worship and you have a social group that meets and is man-centered. They’re set on having fun. Remove the fun part and folks head off to another social gathering. This was my experience in Kiwanis. I mean not to hurt your feelings if you are a Kiwanian, but this was my experience. Indeed, there was a Universalist in our church who told me simply that his church was the Kiwanis International.
· Remove Discipleship and you’re left with the rugged individualist who charts his own course. He lacks accountability and responsibility. One log doesn’t burn on it’s own. It needs others to feed that fire. My favorite church sign of all time was the one that read: Warm fellowship inside. Some assembly required.
· Remove Ministry and Mission and you have an organization that quickly rivals a museum. It becomes a lighthouse that is torn down and moved inland so that tourist can see it. Sure, the light may work and the workers may run around pulling levers and tooting their horns, but in the end, they’re of no value whatsoever.
· Our Goal at Calvary is 1+2. Sure, there are lots of activities here. Come most days and you’ll find something going on. But, there is a process to our priorities. 1 – Worship. The only time we come together during the week is Sunday at 10am. Miss that, and you’ll be without that important priority for 2 weeks. Miss two in a row and you’ll not worship with this Body, the one you’ve committed to for 21 days. Every Sunday is important. 2ndly, we want you to be involved in Discipleship and Ministry. Choose any of those two somewhere during the week. Yes, it’s wonderful if you can do everything, but my guess is, added to the events of the world and work, you’ll get pretty run down. So we simply challenge you to 1+2.
Transition: Now, why am I telling you all this? Well, namely because we’ve been focusing on missions this Fall. The sermon series for this month is entitled: Missions is the Heart of God. It has always been his heart. Some folks think that Christians are mission minded because Jesus gave us the Great Commission. Well, that true! However, that isn’t the only reason. The Hebrew people were supposed to be God’s missionaries, too. They were supposed to communicate God’s love to the lost world around them. I can see how people can become arrogant and conceited when they see themselves as God’s chosen people without the proper perspective of missions. I can think of some Christian groups who’ve become that way.
Let’s turn to the OT and see God’s heart for the nations. Isaiah 56.1-8. I’ve divided this text into three parts:
1. The Behavior of the Saved – v1-2
2. The Mission of the Saved – v3-6
3. The Hope of the Saved – v7-8
Let’s look at the 1st section, The Behavior of the saved 1st…
1. The Behavior of the Saved (1-2)
exp.: rd v 1; I love this – he tells us
· What to do – imperative, and
· Why to do it – soon and very soon!
· What to do – keep justice, do righteousness; Micah 6.8: He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
· Why to do it – It’s not often that God blesses us with an explanation for his commands, but here he does; my salvation will come, and my righteousness will be revealed! Have you ever seriously considered that your righteousness, your justice makes you a missionary? What you do and how you act are all part of the missionary strategy.
Now, beyond the explanation, he offers us a promise: rd v 2a; Blessing! What is this? What is it?
· Keeps justice, does righteousness, but there is more… rd v 2b;
· Keeps the Sabbath and his hand from evil (internal & external)
app.: Now that’s not the whole missionary strategy, but it is a great foundation. You are given the right to speak about Christ when your life communicates truth (i.e.: when you do justice and righteousness).
Transition: So this 1st section deals with the behavior of the Saved, now Isaiah moves to the actual mission…
2. The Mission of the Saved (3-6)
exp.: rd v 3-7a; I think this is what God is saying: Don’t exclude anyone;
· Foreigner – forbidden in the Temple; Gentiles
· Eunuch – forbidden due to deformaties
And what are the promises? Rd 7a;
a. Heaven – My Holy Mountain
b. His house of prayer – Here and Now
Transition: the Behavior of the Saved, lived out and giving a foundation for missions; The mission of the Saved – to exclude no one! You see, those who’ve been excluded are no longer excluded. And 3rd,
3. The Hope of the Saved (7-8)
exp.: Blessing is promised; this is evident in v 5 – I will give & I will give; Could there be something better than Children?
Ps 127 tells us: Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! Is there a better, great blessing? Yes!
In Revelation 2.17 he says: To the one who conquers… I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’ in 3.12 he says: The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. These things spoken of here will be fulfilled! That, ladies and gentlemen is our hope! But there is more: look back at v 7!
Quickly, I need you to turn to Matthew 21.12-13; Here’s what he’s saying: Isaiah told you about this and what you were to be doing here! This isn’t a place for making money! This is to be a place of prayer for all people! More than that: I am the fulfillment of that passage! I’m the promised one, the one who brings you peace and forgiveness. Don’t believe him? Continue on to v14-16: Son of David – they get it, they see he’s the Messiah! He’s the promised one from the line of David. The Pharisees get it, that is why they’re so upset with him. Ladies and Gentlemen, that is the hope we have today! Heaven doesn’t start when we die! Heaven starts right here, right now.
Oh, I implore you: If you’ve never committed your life to Christ by surrendering who you are and finding the forgiveness of your sins – please, give up your life now! Don’t waste another moment! Step out into the aisle and cry out for mercy before God. Today is the day of Salvation.
Rd v8; The idea of missions isn’t something new. It was God’s heart from the beginning.
· We’re commanded to live our lives justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with our God
· We’re commanded to go and entreat everyone to come – the foreigner and the eunuch alike – don’t forbid anyone to come.
· We’re promised the hope of salvation – not just for heaven, where will live with Him eternally, but for this moment forward – to walk with him through all things.