Monday, December 12, 2011

Sermon on Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11, for the 3rd Sunday in Advent, "God's Anointed"

Sermon Outline:

1. Prophecy from Isaiah: about what happens/will happen when the Anointed One, the Messiah enters on the scene of history/our lives. The Anointed One/Messiah/Christ—God’s chosen Savior for us. Jesus. Interesting, Trinity in OT. LORD God-Father; the Anointed One—Jesus; Spirit of the Lord. A scene of hopelessness, despair, of brokenhearted-ness and bondage is transformed into a scene of hope, life, gladness, praise and confidence.

2. The Jews who were the original recipients of this message, as said in previous sermons, where on such a scene of wreckage/hopelessness. Is your life the scene of hopelessness or despair? Surrounded by the wreckage of sin and a broken world? We have suffered under the heavy hand of the Law, which convicts our consciences of sin. Trampled down under life’s heavy burdens or griefs. Imprisoned in cages of sin of our own making. Only one can free us. One alone is strong enough to break our chains, proclaim God’s favor to us instead of condemnation, liberty to captives.

3. Jesus’ is that Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ. What a beautiful job description!! “to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified” (Is 61:1-3). When Jesus arrives on the scenes of devastation and hopelessness, darkness is driven away by the light of His coming.

4. Isaiah 61—context of a “Year of Jubilee”—explain. OT Israel, 50th year, “During that year, all debts were canceled, all land was returned to the original owners, the slaves were freed, and everybody was given a fresh new beginning. This was the Lord’s way of balancing the economy and keeping the rich from exploiting the poor.” Do you sometimes wish there was a Year of Jubilee; balance our economy, stop exploitation? The “year of the Lord’s favor” is a spiritual year of Jubilee that arrived when Jesus came on the scene of human history. Preached this in His first sermon—Nazareth. Announced this time was now here.

5. God was balancing “the economy” when He sent Jesus as the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ. Paying off our debts, releasing the captives. “If you trust in Christ as your Savior, you are living in the Spiritual Year of Jubilee, the Year of the Lord’s favor. You have been set free from bondage; your spiritual debt to the Lord has been paid; you are living in “the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Wiersbe)

6. When God’s Anointed, Jesus delivers these promises to us in His Word, mourning is turned into dancing. Sadness into joy. Study Psalm 30. God’s anger is but for a moment, but His favor for a lifetime. Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning. “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!” Sackcloth, ashes, signs of mourning. Replaced with gladness and a beautiful headdress/garland. Jesus can turn our lament of sorrow into a song of joy, can carry us through mourning till the day of gladness.

7. “Faint of spirit” -- drooping, exhausted, flickering spirit. A sign of extreme grief or despair. But Jesus, God’s Anointed, His Messiah, Christ, gives peace, not as the world gives. Not an external peace that comes and goes with circumstances. But a deep inner peace than cannot be wrested away. Source of deep inner joy of the Christian. The peace of knowing Jesus, and that He is the One who speaks comfort and calm in our sadness, brokenheartedness, and imprisonment.

8. This peace, joy and strength, given to the Christian by Jesus—God on the scene of our lives. This gives the strength and vitality of spirit, that we can be called “oaks of righteousness.” Strong, deeply rooted, fresh and green and happy in the knowledge that the grace of God is ours, because of Jesus, God’s Anointed.

9. Call on the name of the Lord and be saved. Call on the name of Jesus, God’s Anointed, the Messiah, the Christ. The one who is on the scene to turn a life of despair back into a life of gladness and strength, by the forgiveness of our sins, the reconciling of all accounts in our favor, the balancing of God’s economy to set right all injustice. His peace is yours in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Sermon Talking Points

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1. Who directly fulfills this prophecy from Isaiah 61? See Luke 4:16-30; How did Jesus’ ministry carry out these promises? How does He continue to perform this work today?

2. “Anointed” (v. 1) is the translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah” (“Christ” in Greek). “Anointing” typically took place when a prophet, priest, or king took office (see 1 Samuel 10:1; 16:13; 2 Sam. 2:4; Exodus 29:7-9; 1 Chron. 16:22). Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One. He is Prophet, Priest and King par excellence.

3. What was Jesus anointed to do? How are the poor and the downtrodden comforted? Matthew 5:3-4. How are the brokenhearted given hope? 2 Cor. 1:3-7. In what way are all of us prisoners? Who sets us free?

4. How does salvation strengthen and establish Christians to be “oaks of righteousness”? How is the peace that Jesus gives different from the peace that the world gives? John 14:27

5. Read Psalm 30. How does the promised and the blessing of Jesus as our Messiah, God’s Anointed Savior of His people, turn our mourning and sadness into joy? What is the Christian’s hope and confidence in the face of all despair, evil, and even death? 1 Corinthians 15

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