Archive for the ‘Sermon Summary’ Category

Is God angry with Japan?

Japan is wrestling with multiple catastrophes of unprecedented proportions. The earthquake of March 11 led to a devastating tsunami, and the combination of the earthquake and the tsunami disabled the cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear complex, leading to dangerous instability and release of radioactivity. Any one of these events would be major disaster. Three days later, Shintaro Ishihara, mayor of Tokyo, suggested that the events carried a spiritual message: “We need to use tsunami to wipe out egoism, which has rusted onto the mentality of Japanese over a long period of time. I think (the disaster) is tembatsu (divine punishment), although I feel sorry for disaster victims.” Could he be right?
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How to Motivate God

In our study of Isa 37:3-6, I was struck with how Hezekiah motivated his request to the Lord for help against Assyria, and with the rich precedent for his request.

How do we motivate our requests for God’s intervention? We often plead the dismal condition we face, and ask that God in his love would intervene. Our focus is on ourselves, our needs, and God’s attitude toward us. All of these have their place, but Hezekiah’s example can teach us a much more fundamental principle for motivating God in prayer.

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Return to Eden

This week’s message (April 26, Isa 11:6-9) considers the amazing promise of the wolf and the lamb dwelling together in peace. These verses are a promise of a return to the state of the Garden of Eden. We study both the links to Genesis and the NT explanation of this aspect of the Messianic kingdom.

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The Spirit-Powered King

This week’s message (April 19, Isa 11:2-5) focuses on the spiritual endowment of the promised King, which enables him to sense directly whether or not people fear the Lord (v. 3), thus avoiding the perils of superficial judgment and ensuring a rule of righteousness and truth.

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The Sprout from the Stump

This week’s message explores the relationship between the promotion of the Messiah as ruler over Israel and his resurrection from the dead.

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Judah’s Hope

This week’s study (April 5) on Isa 10:24-34 deals with the third of the three groups described last week, the people of Jerusalem. Unlike Israel, to be conquered by Assyria and promised only a remnant in vv. 20-23, Judah is assured that the Assyrian oppression will last only a very little while. The Assyrian’s southward march, which formed the basis of his boast in Isa 10:9-11, will continue to Nob hill, overlooking Jerusalem, but will advance no farther, and the nation that prided itself in hewing down its adversaries (Isa 37:24) will itself be cut clean by the Lord of Hosts.

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Recent Studies

It’s been a while since I updated the blog links to the studies on Isaiah. (You can always get to the latest one from the link on the Cyber-Chapel homepage.) Here are the last three, with a brief synopsis of each.

The study for March 15 completed the analysis of the four stanzas of Isa 9:8-10:4, describing God’s past and future judgment against the northern kingdom. Arrogance, corrupt rule, fraternal strife, and social injustice must lead to divine wrath. The argument throughout this section corresponds to the “woe” and “therefore” sections of the interpretation of the Parable of the Vineyard in Isa 5:7-30. God means their misfortunes to capture their attention and draw them to the Lord, but they persist in their rebellion.

Isa 10:5-32, introduced in the study for March 22, corresponds to the description of coming the Assyrian invasion in Isa 5:17, 26-30. The section is an alternation between the Lord’s purposes for Assyria and the invader’s arrogant refusal to recognize that it is a tool in the Lord’s hand.

The study for March 29 looks beyond the horizon of Isa 5 to the future of the three main groups involved in the coming invasion. Assyria will be punished for its arrogance. A small remnant will return from the Northern Kingdom, consumed by the invader. Judah will be chastened to a lesser degree, but emerge largely unscathed.

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God’s Persistent Anger

This week’s study introduces the series of four stanzas that outline God’s past and future judgment against the Northern Kingdom.

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The Lord’s Everlasting Zeal

This week’s study on Isa 9:7 explores the government that the Child of v. 6 will establish. Each of the four names that the child carries corresponds to a different aspect of this platform, illustrating the BibleĀ  study principle, “Pay attention to repetition.”
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Three Reasons for Joy

The study for Feb 15 expounds the three reasons that Isaiah gives for the joy described in 9:3. Each is introduced by the conjunction “for,” at the start of verses 4, 5, and 6. The repetition of logical connectives like this is a key indicator of how the author is developing his argument, and merits careful attention.

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