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A Dark Decision in Israel (Isaiah 9:8-10:4)

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Go and grab your Bibles. turn to Isaiah chapter nine. It’s page 560 in the pew Bible using the black pew Bible in front of you. On July 8 1741, the congregation in Enfield Connecticut, had a preacher come to the pulpit and give an infamous sermon. This is a portion of that sermon. The God that holds you over the pit of hell as much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you and as dreadfully provoked His wrath towards you burns like fire. You have offended him infinitely more than every stubborn rebel did his prints. And yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. There’s no other reason to be given why you have not dropped into hell since you arose this morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. Oh center, consider the fearful danger you are in is a great furnace of wrath that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose Wrath has provoked and incense as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to cinch it and burn it asunder. And you have no interest in any mediator, and nothing to lay hold up to save yourself. Nothing to keep you off of the flames of wrath, nothing on your own. Nothing that you have ever done. Nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment. Jonathan Edwards, sinners in the hands of an angry God is the title of that sermon. Not what we usually think about at Advent. Right? Like Merry Christmas. When you hear those words, what happens? Are you angry? Are you sad? Are you indifferent? Those words are serious. They’re tough to hear. They’re tough to read. But the question is, is what Edward says? Is it true? Is it true? Because what Edwards does is he brings the seriousness of our sin and God’s right response to that sin with vivid imagery. We must not shy away from it. There’s an urgency in the message, but it’s also one that must come with tears. It must come with tears. Many have found this teaching of God’s wrath of judgment and hell as a stumbling block to the Christian faith. Maybe you’ve had people ask you questions about it. But if we understand God’s holiness, like his moral perfection, his otherness, then what we see here is this is exactly what God has to do towards sin, and sinners. Wrath is an outworking of God’s holiness and justice against sin, and rebellion. If you’re interested in the subject much more we did a whole series just recently on the holiness and grace of God, earlier this fall called people got killed. We looked at a lot of questions. We’re going to continue that kind of in this passage this morning, but you can go back and listen more because our sin as we saw deserves God’s wrath. AW Tozer helps us understand the what the why and the connection between our sin and God’s Relentless Pursuit against our sin. Listen to what he says. Since God’s first concern for his universe is its moral health. That is its holiness. Whatever is contrary to this is necessarily under his eternal displeasure. To preserve his creation, God must destroy whatever would destroy it. When he arises to put down iniquity and save the world from irreparable moral collapse, he is said to be angry. Every wrathful judgment in the history of the world has been a holy act of preservation. The holiness of God, the wrath of God and the health of creation are inseparably united. God’s wrath is his utter intolerance of whatever degrades and destroys. He hates iniquity, as a mother hates the disease that would take the life of her child. God hates sin. And what it does to his image bearers, and the rest of his creation, and if he hates it, it means he has to do something with it. And there is good news in this message. We just heard it this morning from Luke chapter two. The angels show up, it’s bringing good news that will cause great joy for all people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born. He did do something. That’s what we celebrate this season. The real bad and hopeless news for us would be if God was indifferent to our sin, that would be a problem. But God is not indifferent to our sin. He is relentless. He does not give up God loves us so much, that he’s relentless against our sin. And that’s the point this morning as you see in your notes, this is our problem as well. God is relentless against sin. We cannot miss this point this morning, it’s gonna be very, very clear. There is a refrain if you’ve already read the passage, and I hope you did to prepare for this morning, you know that Isaiah repeats the same refrain four times in this passage. And that’s where we get the main point this morning. It’s found in verse 12, verse 17, verse 21, and in chapter 10, verse four, and this is what it says, we’re gonna hear it over and over this morning, yet for all this, his anger is not turned away. His hand is still appraised. God’s hand is up raised against humanity. And yet we read in Exodus 34, as as God is telling Moses who he is, this is what God says. He says, The Lord the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in love and faithfulness. We come to a pastor’s like today, we think that God that God, God’s anger, it’s hard for us to hear and we want to kind of fight against it. And yet what we see is God is slow to anger and his anger is not like ours. Our anger being petty, inconsistent, unpredictable, know, he gets angry at sin, for a reason. Now, when I say as ministry starts, we have to kind of do a little bit of history here. Amos and Hosea are prophets as well, and they serve kind of before and during at least Hosea during Isaias prophetic ministry as well. So Amos and Hosea had been talking to the Israelites about their sin for decades before Isaiah comes on the scene. God is slow to anger. The same message that Isaiah says this morning is the same message Amos and Jose Jose had been given to the people for decades. He is slow to anger. And then we need to look at our sin is a downward spiral. Okay, it’s a downward spiral. If you think about it, like a debt. If you think of Debt Debt takes you to a place you never thought possible. And it’s this downward spiral because it doesn’t look that bad at the beginning. It’s just a little bit of debt. And then based on our decisions and things we do, we start to have this downward spiral and very quickly, we look up and we say, how did we get here? So we’re gonna look at the text, we’re going to see this to that answer the question, why is God’s hand up raised against us? It’s because our hand is up raised against God first. That’s the only reason because we have our hand against God in our sin, and rebellion. And the only right thing for him to do is to do something about it. And we’ll see that this morning. Let’s look at chapter nine. Starting in verse eight. I’m just gonna be the first couple of verses we need to talk quickly about where we are in the passage. So verse eight, the Lord has sent a message against Jacob, it will fall on Israel, all the people will know it, Efraim and the inhabitants of Samaria. So let’s pause there. Before we continue, we need to know that we’ve transitioned locations now, the last two weeks we talked about Judah this week, and next week, we’re gonna talk about Israel. And so you have the northern kingdom of Israel, okay, up here when the when the nation split after King Solomon, you have the northern kingdom kept the name Israel with Samaria as its capital. Then you had the southern kingdom and they it was called Judah and they kept the capital of Jerusalem. Okay, you have northern and southern kingdoms, they are split. And what we see here is we have this message for Jacob Israel and Efrain and the inhabitants of Samaria. Well, Jacob, Israel, Efraim are all referring to the northern kingdom. Jacob’s name was eventually changed Israel. And Efrain was the most prominent of the tribes in the northern kingdom. So anytime you see that it’s referring to the northern kingdom and Samaria being the capital. So that’s where we are. That’s who we’re talking to. today. I’m going to switch from last week. So the Lord has a message for Israel and we’re gonna see what it is and the first thing we see is our pride merits God’s wrath. So the first thing you’ll see here, notice that our pride merits God’s wrath. Let me pick up back in verse nine. All the people will know it, Efraim and inhabitants of Samaria, who say with pride and arrogance of heart. The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild the trust stone. The fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars but the Lord has strengthened residents foes against them in a spurred their enemies on Arameans from the east and Philistines from the West have devoured Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away. His hand is still appraised. Our pride merits God’s wrath. So Israel has some destruction. Arameans and Philistines from both sides have come in and done some damage to buildings to trees, they have left devastation in their wake. And what are the Israelites do they do not step back in humility knowing that these things were coming based off of Amos and Jose, Jose and what they had already told them And so they stepped back. And what did they say?
We need to get better materials, like the fig trees have fallen over. So we need to use cedars. The bricks have fallen down. So we need to use dress stone. What they’re saying is if we just work hard enough, if we put our minds together, we can make this place great. So no one can overtake it. And it sounds like a good plan, it might resonate with us, because usually when things go wrong in our culture, what do we ask? How can I fix it? How can I fix it? What can I do? There’s got to be something. But of course, we can’t fix it. But in our pride and arrogance, we believe we can it sounds a lot like Genesis 11 The people at Babel, listen to what they say, Come let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves. That’s what they’re interested in. Not let’s glorify God with this, let’s make sure when people see this, they think, how great are those people that Israelites are destroyed? And all they can think about is how can we make sure this doesn’t happen? Again, and we see it right here, as they call it out. It’s pride and arrogance of their hearts. And God’s discipline is still coming, his judgment is still coming because they will not change. And Isaiah gives them the exact plan. What’s the Lord going to do? He’s going to raise up residence photos we learned a couple of weeks ago, the residents photos are the Assyrians. The Assyrians are coming in 722. And they will destroy the nation. And they will take the people captive. So God doesn’t see their problem in the same way. God doesn’t see the problem is with their materials, what he sees is a problem of their heart. And that’s where all of our problems start in our hearts in us. It’s not out there. It’s not the people who are coming, it’s our hearts first. So let’s think through that example, even of debt, at first, it’s just a little bit like there’s just one week or one month where I spend a little bit more than I make. They’re just like, Alright, I just gotta, I gotta do better. Next one, I just got to spend a little bit less. And then you think about your life, you’re like, Well, how many times do I try to fix things instead of going to God? And where do we see this? Well, it’s probably inconsistency with being in the Word. As many of you have shared probably in different contexts, you’re not happy with how often you’re in the word and statistics show across the nation. People are not spending time in God’s word daily, and even weekly, so we don’t listen to God. What about prayer? lessness we don’t talk to God. What about disobedience? We don’t obey God. All of those things are pride and arrogance of hearts of thinking I can get through life on my own. Brenda just prayed this morning where we need you to provide. Let’s not go huddle around and try and figure out how we can get more money. Let’s bring it to the Lord. So we enter prideful and arrogant hearts. We continually try to do things on our own, put our minds together, put our money together, put our effort and our energy together, we can do it. But our greatest problem is the fact that God is relentless against sin and there’s nothing we can do to satisfy that. Nothing is done check their pride and arrogance is going to get us in serious trouble. James says in James chapter four, God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. Unfortunately, the Israelites are not humble. And that leads us to our next point. Our unrepentant merits God’s wrath will give verses 13 through 17. But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the Lord Almighty. So the Lord will cut off from Israel both head and tail both palm branch and read in a single day. The elders and dignitaries or the head, the prophets who teach lies are the tail. Those who guide this people mislead them and those who are guided are led astray. Therefore the Lord will take no pleasure in the young men, nor will He pity the fatherless and widows. For every one is ungodly and wicked. Every mouth speaks folly. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away. His hand is still appraised. So the people see the enemy out there. And instead of realizing that the Lord who has sent them even though they were told over and over again, this was coming, and they’re prideful and arrogant hearts. They’re not humble. They don’t see it being the Lord and they don’t turn to him. It’s the first verse that people have not returned to him who struck them. Contrast that now with the book of Jonah. So Jonah is a prophet the Lord calls and remember his kind of story. He doesn’t go there immediately, but eventually ends up in Nineveh. Nineveh is a pagan place not following the God of the Bible, and God says you have a message for them. And this is the message, a message of judgment. And this is what Jonah tells them. 40 more days in Nineveh will be overthrown. And what happens? The whole city repents sackcloth and ashes, they repent, and God does not send disaster. He does not overthrow them. A pagan nation responding to God’s prophet, God’s people ignoring God’s word. You see the contrast there. What’s happened in Israel? One reason they don’t repent. The one reason they don’t turn that we see here in these verses is the people who are supposed to be leading the way in repentance, are leaving them farther away from God. They are not fulfilling their role and the downward spiral continues. It isn’t just personal pride and arrogance of hearts, those hearts have moved into leadership. Is anyone these days surprised that leaders fail? That we have issues with our leaders at all sorts of levels, from the very personal like in a job all the way to the government. prideful and arrogant hearts are in all of us. And then when we get positions of authority and power, what do we think is going to happen? We should not be surprised by that. Now, who are these leaders here we see elders, dignitaries, prophets, but we get this language of we see it from head to tail. So mean, this is all of leadership, from the top to the bottom. And across the whole spectrum. These leaders are failing the people, they’re failing to fulfill their role. Now, the most obvious example of this is the kings of Israel. So in Israel, there were 19 kings from Solomon until the exile. Out of those 19 i This is participation time, I was 19. How many of them are good? Zero. God’s judgment on all of those kings was that they were not good. They were building altars and sacrificing to other gods, they were bringing other gods into the community. And then get this seven out of the 19. kings of Israel were assassinated by the replacement. Fund to be king in those days, right. And then you have what are prophets like we know Elijah, Elijah was a really good prophet. But who was Elijah battling on the Mount, false prophets of Baal, false prophets who had an influence in Israel who were not fulfilling their role in the community, instead, leading the people farther away. And so God will remove the leaders, he will cut them off. Because the leaders are not leading people to the Lord, as they were called to do but they’re leading them farther away from him. Now, what’s interesting here is, as you get towards the end, what we see is this wickedness, and is unrepentant has infiltrated every single status, every single people group in Israel, because what it says here is it’s it’s young men, it’s the fatherless, it’s widows, it’s the younger everybody is ungodly, and wicked. Even those who are usually looked at as vulnerable, and weak and innocent, are known for being wicked. They’re supposed to be pity, but instead, they are joining everybody else, because the leaders have driven them further and further away from the Lord. We’ve seen this before. In Genesis six. The Lord saw how great the wickedness the human race have become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil, all the time. God was relentless in his pursuit against sin, then, because that’s when he sent the flood. But has there been any change in our hearts as people? The pride and arrogance is still there. So what does the Lord want? He wants a repentance. Every trial, everything we go through has an opportunity to repent for us to turn to Him. And it’s really simple. It’s just a turn. That’s what repentance is turning from what we’ve been doing, what we’ve been following the places we’ve gone in order to find the better way, the better person and a follow after him, that’s what he wants. But the people don’t do it. The leaders don’t lead in that and the people don’t follow because they don’t have anybody to show them what repentance looks like. So there isn’t repentance, what happens is our hearts get harder and harder and harder. And we live for ourselves. And when we live as if there isn’t a God, then wickedness takes over. So the downward spiral continues into this next section. We’re moving from the very personal to more of a societal issue. So the third point there’s our wickedness merits God’s wrath. Look at verses 18 through 21.
Surely wickedness burns like a fire. It consumes Briars and thorns it says the forest thickets ablaze Just so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke by the wrath of the Lord Almighty the land will be scorched and the people will be fuel for the fire. They will not spare one another. On the right they will devour but still be hungry on the left they will eat but not be satisfied. Each will feed on the flesh of their own offspring. Manasa will feed on Efraim and Ephraim and Manasseh to get together they will turn against Judah. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away. His hand is still up raised. prideful and arrogant hearts, bad leaders leads to rampant wickedness. We get the image here of fire. And we know that fire is relentless. Our neighbor’s house a couple of years ago went up in flames and was destroyed and the flames got up under their siding and into their attic. without anybody in the house knowing it we just kept moving. The forest fires that we’ve seen on the news in Australia, California and Colorado over the last few years, we see what are you going to do when the fire starts is relentless. It just keeps going. And that’s what wickedness does the natural consequence consequences of wickedness? When people look up and they say how do we get this bad? We have to go all the way back to our own hearts. This is how we got that bad. Because it’s in us first. And then we see it in the leaders and nobody’s leading the way anymore in the way that we’re supposed to go. And now society is impacted. We wonder what in the world happened? Well, everybody’s doing what they think is right in their own eyes. And we see here that the consequences are also God’s judgment on the people. God is sovereign overall. And so he’s using these consequences to try to wake the people up. See us Loomis. CS Lewis famously said God shouts in our pain. It is a megaphone to rouse a deaf world. That’s what he’s doing. Pay attention. Wake up. He’s calling us to repentance. But if we don’t respond to repentance, then we only add fuel to God’s wrath. That’s what wickedness does. Have you ever seen somebody throw gasoline on a fire? Yes, maybe I have. The first question that goes to your mind is how could it be so dumb? To do that, and we know that people do these types of things. You sit back and you’re like, well, what’s the difference? Between throwing gasoline on that fire and me thinking I can satisfy God’s wrath by doing a bunch of good things or not doing bad things, and somehow that will satisfy His wrath. No, instead we just add fuel to the fire when we do not repent when we do not turn to him. I already mentioned Hosea a couple times in chapters four or five. Jose gives us a list of things that Israel is known for. Okay, remember, this is the backdrop to Isaias ministry. So the people already know that this is true of them. They’ve been told this. The wickedness is so prevalent, this is what they’re known for. No faithfulness, no love and no acknowledgement of God. God’s chosen people, the ones he called. No love, no faithfulness, no acknowledgement of him. Cursing, line murder, bloodshed, following bloodshed, prostitution, Efrain being joined to idols not everyone being joined to God but being joined to idols and leaders, dear leaders dearly loving their shameful ways. We think things have changed. We see here’s Isaiah then says, Even the tribes of Manasa and Efraim are going to fight against each other. Joseph had some sons, right. So Jacob had sons, and then they got on the allotment of land. Well, Joseph, probably the most famous son as far as time spent in Genesis and from Broadway fame. He ends up having to allotments of land given to his family through his sons. So Joseph gets to he gets one from a met Manasseh and Ephraim. And so even these brothers at this point, the wickedness is so bad that they can’t stand each other. And all they do is they fight each other. And the only thing that they fight together for is against Judah, which by the way, is still part of their family. That’s how bad this wickedness has gotten. Doesn’t seem like it’s changed much in our world. So church, this is a warning to us. How are we treating fellow brothers and sisters in Christ because we must look different than the world? If we’re going to proclaim the gospel and fight each other? What are we bringing people into? What are we bringing people into we must show love and unity with one another. If we want to make a difference if we want people to see that the gospel can actually change can change us. So even the rampid wickedness and its consequences, you would think that people would turn but they don’t So God’s hand is still appraised we get to our last section, our injustice merits God’s wrath. Look at chapter 10. verses one through four. Woe to those who make unjust laws to those who issue oppressive decrees to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches, nothing will remain, but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away. His hand is still oppressed, or injustice smears, God’s wrath, prideful and arrogant hearts, leaders who are not leading the way that they’re supposed to rampid wickedness in society, and that finally leads in this downward spiral to laws that are unjust and oppressive. Read the Old Testament, some time and look for God’s heart towards the vulnerable, towards the poor, towards the oppressed, see what he tells Israel to do. And then go read in the prophets, what Israel is actually doing. The very people that God has compassion for they are making laws, not to protect them, but to exploit them. That’s what they’re known for. So you see, it’s moved from the personal all the way to society, and it’s impacting everything, even the laws that are made. It is this constant, downward spiral. And then Isaiah says, When the day of reckoning comes, which in the immediate context is when a Syria attacks, the plan we saw earlier in chapter nine, when that actually happens in Syria comes, where are you going to look? Who are you going to run to? Where are you going to hide your riches? That’s what he’s asking. And then he says in verse four, nothing will remain but to cringe him on the captain’s are falling on the slain, what have you seen is by that time, it will be too late. You will either be taken captive or you will be killed. That’s what you’re deciding if you choose not to repent. So think back to the debt example. You start off with some bad decisions of spending a little bit more than you make. And then you have credit card after credit card, you constantly try and borrow and pay off all these different things to the point where you get so helpless and so hopeless, you have nothing to do, but to throw your hands up and say, I don’t know how I’m going to do this. You finally see it. But maybe by that time, it’s too late. But you don’t know what your options are. We cannot miss the point that God is relentless against our sin. He does not let up in his judgment of these people because they will not learn. And he’s rightfully pouring out His wrath. And, again, everything we do is just fuel for that wrath. If we don’t repent, everything we do merits God’s wrath or text is finished. That’s what we have this morning. It’s a very negative note to end on. To have that refrain again, as we finish in verse four. The passage next week continues with hope. But I do want to pivot here because we are in the Advent season. And based on where we’ve been in Isaiah, and where we are going, there’s still good news to talk about. God is relentless against sin. But he’s also relentless in his pursuit again for us. Those things they shouldn’t go together. Right? Yes, Your Holiness is against sin, you have to punish sin, and yet he continues to pursue us. That’s what Advent is. He pursues you he pursues me. And so I want to pivot here because I want us to leave here this morning, knowing the reality of our sin, but also seeing the goodness and the grace of God. So I want to read from probably the most famous, recognizable, foundational uncomfort giving passage that we have in the Bible, words that I hope bring joy to your heart today. For God so loved the world. that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life for God and not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in Him is not condemned. But whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only son. All of us stand condemned because of our sin. unable to save ourselves when Jesus came in the world. 2000 years ago, he came into a world that was already condemned. A world that cared more about darkness than lights, a world that turned its back on God, a world that God had God’s hand up raised against it. In his relentless and right wrath. But that first time God did not send Jesus into the world for the day of reckoning, but for a day of redemption. That’s what happened. That’s what we celebrate at Advent. We were dead in our trespasses and sins, it says in Ephesians, two, and Jesus came in to save us in that state when he did not have to. And so today, you’re in one of two camps. There’s only two options those who stand condemned in their sin, already, because of our sin, because we do not turn to Jesus or those now, who stand forgiven. Those who stand condemned, God’s hand is up raised, those who are forgiven and saved. God’s hand is no longer appraised against us. That is not true for those who call on the name of Jesus. We experienced His holy love rather than his holy wrath. For God so loved the world, a prideful, arrogant, wicked, ungodly people, that He gave His one and only Son to take away our greatest problem. His wrath against our sin, he didn’t ignore it. He didn’t pretend it didn’t happen. He had to punish it in His holiness. He justly punished it, he just punished it by putting it all on his son. Like someone swimming in debt, we had nowhere to turn, we are hopeless, we were helpless. We didn’t know what to do. Everything just made things worse. And then God came. Emmanuel, God with us. And he died on the cross. Not to me not so we could say bankrupt. Right? Then just clean the slate, no, he said, it is paid. In full the day of redemption, it is over, it’s paid for completely. And regardless of what we get here on this earth, we get the riches of heaven in Christ. That’s what we get through him. So in light of this, I want to close by just addressing the two groups I mentioned already. First of you are here. And whether or not you actually believe this, what I believe we see here in the texts, what we see in John three is that you do stand condemned already. Every man and woman born into this world, this is our natural state. Ephesians two says, like the rest of your by nature deserving of wrath, that is all of us, deserving of God’s wrath. So I want to ask you two questions. There the questions that Isaiah asks, in chapter 10, verse three, one, what will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? The first time Jesus came for redemption, He came to bring the gift of salvation, but he will be coming again. There is a final day of reckoning, where we will be separated based on how we answer one question, Who do you say Jesus is? Which leads to the second question that Isaiah asks, To whom will you run for help? I hope that answer is Jesus. All other answers will fail. God’s hand has rightly raised up against you, as a sinner as it was me as it has been for everyone else. And nothing you can do will put that hand down. Nothing. There is no one you can point to in your life that will save you only the grace of God, you must believe that Jesus came, and he put that hand down for you. i And we as a church, don’t want you to be numbered with the captives and the slain. We want you to experience the eternal life you can have with Jesus, and abundant life now and for ever. So here’s what I hope you do today. Just turn and trust. Are we coming to the table here in a few minutes, turn and trust, repent of your sin and claim Jesus, that it was paid in full and believe in Him. And then for the majority of us here, trust those who know Jesus. Remember, we are dead in our trespasses and sins, deserving of God’s wrath. But God who is rich in mercy and grace saved you through faith? It is his gift, which means Christian, the Lord’s hand is no longer against you. Instead, his hand is there to guide you, to embrace you. Because his hand now is for you. Do you believe that when trials come when God’s discipline comes into life, because it will because we still sin, we look at it differently. Now. Look at Hebrews chapter 12. God disciplines us for our good. That’s us as Christians, God disciplines us for our good in order that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. The discipline will come in, but it’s for our good. It’s from a loving father. So here’s what I hope for you today that you walk out of here, confident of that truth. But that you also go out today, and you tell the people in your life who need to hear the gospel, this true message. Because it is true what Edward says is hard to hear. But it is true. You need to tell the people that there is good news for them. People are going to hear all sorts of things this season, there is joy, and there’s peace, and there’s hope. And guess what most of them don’t believe it at all. It’s just happy feelings for a month. And then it’s gone. Because there’s no thing to ground those words in in their life. It’s all circumstantial, right, depending on the day, and we get to say there’s love, joy, hope and peace in one man, one person, Jesus Christ, and He is for them. He came for them. After the whole sermon that Edward spent on God’s anger and wrath of God towards centers, this is how he closes, he says, and now you have an extraordinary opportunity. A day were in crisis, flung the door of mercy wide open, and stands in the door, calling and crying, crying with a loud voice, to poor centers, to come in. That’s where God is. He’s relentless against our sin, and He is relentless in pursuing us. So turn, and trust in Him. And this season will take on a whole new meaning. Let’s pray.
Lord, You are our hope, our peace, our joy? Lord, You are good. You are holy. And we stand here today, wanting to see you for who you truly are. And, Lord, I pray for all of us. That we see the true depths of our sin, and our rebellion against you. And we see your grace and Your goodness toward us. And that our vision of you expands and we see that you are much bigger than we think right now. And you will continue to get bigger, because we will see you more and more for who you are. We will see our sin for what it is the thing that causes us that leads us away from you. And I pray for all of us Lord, whether we’ve called on your name or we have not to see that truth of who we are apart from you. And then who we are in Christ. Jesus, we are thankful for this season to remember when you came God with us, and to remember that you are the king, the true King of our hearts of our lives of this world and the entire universe. We love you. We pray this in Jesus name.

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