PODCAST

Jesus (Isaiah 53)

October 30, 2022 | Brandon Cooper

TRANSCRIPT_______________________________________________+

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We wrap up our series this morning. As you’re turning there to Isaiah 53 Stephen Charnock, Puritan preacher who wrote as eloquently as anyone who ever lived about the attributes and excellencies of God wrote this. Speaking of God’s attributes, he said power is his hand, omniscience, his eye, mercy, His heart, eternity, his duration, but holiness, His beauty. It renders him lovely and gives beauty to all His attributes. Did you catch that? Holiness is God’s beauty it is what makes him a lovely what makes his power and his wisdom. Lovely to us. Now, I am wondering if you’ve been tracking with us from the start of the series, if that’s what you would say. This holiness that we’ve seen on display in Cora’s life and Aikens life and others life, is that really God’s beauty? Like maybe we understand the rightness of God’s holiness, but beauty and loveliness wouldn’t be the first words we use to describe it. In part, because we have faced our problem that squarely in this series, haven’t we we faced it head on, we are all people that God should kill. That’s what sin does for us. We should all the people God killed. And so we’ve been watching people drop like flies in this series, knowing that we should get zapped to. And I don’t know that the first response we would have there is Oh, that’s beautiful. That is the lovely that might produce discouragement, or fear in us instead, am I next? Because I certainly should be. And can I really not get much beyond while thinking God that he hasn’t killed me yet? It can feel as we read some of the stories that we’ve looked at in this series can feel like, well, like God is out to get us. And this is the last week in our series. So we need to close carefully. Because of what we’ve been talking about. This week, we’re looking at the only person that God ever killed unjustly, the only one who did not deserve to die. Now I am cheating a little bit because it’s true. The Romans and the Jews conspired together to put Jesus to death, Jesus did not get zapped. But we know we’ll see in our passage this morning, that this was God punishing Jesus. And so we’re going to look at him and Isaiah 53. With these questions in our minds, is holiness really his beauty? His judgment God’s natural bent, it certainly seems that way. Is he really out to get us going to answer those questions, we look at three aspects of God’s response to our sin and sinfulness. Let’s start with God’s understanding. We look at Isaiah chapter 53, verses one to three. Isaiah writes, who has believed our message, and to whom is the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender chute and like a root out of dry ground. It no beauty or majesty to attract us to him. Nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering and familiar with pain, like one from whom people hide their faces, He was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Isaiah opens with a question Who has believed our message? Now we’re in the middle of Isaiah, we’re actually near the end of Isaiah, like Kyle, last week, couldn’t summarize numbers one to 15. I cannot summarize Isaiah 152 for you. But what’s happening in these latter chapters in Isaiah is that Isaiah has begun to sing of the redemption that God’s servant would bring. And he says, even in the last chapter, that when that happens, when this plan on folds, it will all and silence the nation’s kings will shut their mouths because of him. It says in the verse just before where we started, and yet among the people of God, few take notice. Isaiah says, It is easy to miss Messiah. He is, after all, just a carpenter from Nazareth. No one special and so Isaiah tells us we need God to open our eyes. It has to be revealed to us we would not catch it on our own. But why is that? Why did people miss what God is doing? Isaiah tells us, it’s because there was nothing spectacular about Jesus, humanly speaking all sorts of spectacular things about Jesus. But humanly speaking from the outside, from what we could see nothing spectacular. I mean, just compare him to some of the other great men and women that you know, today, Jesus did not innovate like Elon Musk. He did not perform or even draw crowds like Michael Jackson. He didn’t influence people like the Kardashians. And the specific one we have mentioned here before, as he did not turn heads like Brad Pitt, because of his handsomeness the stuff the world loves, the stuff that we so often desire in people Jesus didn’t have. I mean, even from a Christian point of view, you look at Jesus, and it’s quite clear in America today, he’s not getting invited to speak at conferences, or interviewed to pastor a mega church. He just doesn’t have the stuff that we so often are drawn to. And in that he’s a lot like the rest of us, of course, do you ever wish you were taller? Or had a different physique, clear skin perhaps? No, Isaiah says that’s what people thought of Jesus, he should be wishing for that stuff as they walked by, he wasn’t in the popular crowd. I am confident Jesus could not dunk. Much like me. There’s no indication anywhere in Scripture that he was a virtuoso musical instrument or anything like that, in many ways. In so many ways, Jesus was just ordinary. And that was the point. He didn’t come to be People Magazine’s Person of the Year. No, he was born in obscure poverty. He was just a manual laborer, a blue collar worker, we might say. And in appearance, he was plain, just plain. Because of that, or at least in part, because of that he experienced all that life has to offer the things Isaiah lists here for us rejection, and mistreatment and suffering and pain. Which is then what makes him our sympathetic high priest. Hold that stuff that we felt Jesus felt to we read this passage last week, it applies this week, again, Hebrews 217, and 18. For this reason, he had to be made like them, like humanity, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest and service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people, because he himself suffered. When he was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. I don’t know about you, when I read a passage like that I think of certain temptations in particular, my mind goes to the big ones, right? sex and money and power, things like that. Yes, and absolutely. And Jesus would have been tempted with those things. I am confident, attractive women walked by Jesus at different points in his life. We know that Satan offered him money and power when he is tempted in the desert, sure all of that stuff. But Jesus also knew the temptations that come from an ordinary existence, and from an existence filled with injustice, and suffering. Gee, Jesus was tempted to ask the questions, we so often asked, Does God notice what’s going on in my life? does he care? Is he even loving? Like there’s no question you’ve asked of God, including the questions we keep asking in this series that didn’t present themselves to Jesus’s mind. Because he was tempted in every way just as we are yet was without sin Hebrews tells us.
And that’s significant for us. As we ask and answer some of these hard questions, remember, we talked about this a few weeks back when we were looking at Saddam, you remember that? Before God destroys Saddam, he actually came down to check it out. Like he’d heard these complaints about Saddam and even though he’s the omniscient God, He knows all things. He still came down to investigate on the ground, so to speak, to show us how carefully he judges it’s never capricious. He was an eyewitness to their sin. But there’s something more going on here. There’s something else Jesus didn’t just see the sin firsthand. He experienced the sins of others, he felt it, he suffered it. It’s like the difference between reading about a marginalized community and actually experiencing that marginalization yourself. There is a difference between knowing Christians are persecuted, for example, and being fired from your job because of your Christian faith and witness. And that’s what Jesus had. I mean, think about it, Jesus lived and even died under an unjust military occupation. From a global superpower. Jesus can sympathize with what’s happening in Ukraine right now. Jesus felt the sting of racism. Can anything good come out of Nazareth. He knew what it was to be judged because of his place of origin. Jesus knows the pain of death, he wept at the graveside of his friend, and we could go on and on and on Jesus knew it experience lived it. Like David said, in Psalm 1031 of my favorite passages that God knows who we are, he writes us as a father has compassion on his children. So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him for He knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. Isn’t that a lovely reminder? Like on those days when I am just not doing it, right? Is such a comfort need to know that God looks at me and goes, Yeah, but you’re a handful of mud that I breathed life into. Like that just helps me out. But after the Incarnation, God has an even deeper knowledge than this a deeper understanding with it, not an outside but now an inside perspective was Atticus Finch, the hero of Kill a Mockingbird, who said, You’ll never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. Well, that’s exactly what Jesus did for humanity. He climbed into our very skin and walked in the world that we so often lament he suffered as we have. What that means is, I don’t know if God is out to get us. We haven’t answered that question yet. I don’t know if God is out to get us. But I know that God gets us. He understands the world’s brokenness and the pain that we feel. But that just leads us to the next question. Okay, great. What’s he doing about it? Except as we’ve seen throughout this series, that’s a tough question. Because that brokenness is right here inside all of us. The dirty stuff that Kyle poured into that clean glass of water. I keep quoting Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who said, the line between good and evil doesn’t cross between country borders, no. goes right through the heart of every man and woman. So when we say what’s God going to do about all this injustice and suffering? We are asking what is God going to do about us? That takes us to our second point, though, the second aspect of God’s response to our sin and that is God’s mercy, mercy. These famous verses, Isaiah 53, only read verses four to nine. Now, surely, he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by Gods stricken by him and afflicted, but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was on him and by his wounds, we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, it he did not open his mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before, it’s here as a silent so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment, He was taken away yet to who of his generation protested, for he was cut off from the land of living for the transgression of my people, he was punished. He was assigned to grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. And these verses we start to get at the why of the Incarnation. Why did God put on flesh it is more than just a sympathy and empathy. I get it. I understand what you’re going through it is true identification. Because Jesus didn’t just experience our sorrow and suffering the results of our sin. He acts Julie took it upon himself. He bore it like Frodo carrying the ring. And this was an act of unmitigated and unfathomable mercy. He was pierced and crushed for our transgressions, our iniquities, you can hear Paul almost quoting this passage and he says in first Corinthians 15, Christ died for our sins, a little preposition for so important. It means in the place of he was our substitute. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the very righteousness of God. And God would look on us and see Christ’s perfection when we believe in him. That’s not who we are. We are by nature wandering sheep, wandering sheep and open rebellion. So as we’ve seen throughout this series, we should be slaughtered. Like Saddam, like Korra, like Uzza, Jericho, akin nutjob Abu and yet here we read and as a 53. Instead, it’s Jesus, who’s led like a lamb to the slaughter, and who makes no objection, doesn’t open his mouth to protest. Despite the manifest injustice of what is happening here. The only innocent person is the one who’s being led off to be executed. The only sheep who stayed on the path is the one who sacrificed for the sake of the wayward flock. And how does the rest of the flock respond? We didn’t protest either. Because we tend to only care about injustice that’s being done to us. And so we remain silent to and then don’t miss verse nine. But keep in mind this was written 700 years before Jesus was born. And look at what we read in verse nine, he was assigned to grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, like that doesn’t even make sense. Unless of course, you know the story of Christ. He was assigned to grave with the wicked he was crucified between two thieves. And yet he was assigned to grave with the rich because he was buried in Joseph era Matthias tomb, it is a reminder of just how true this word is that seven centuries before Christ, we get a phrase that really only makes sense in the person of Jesus Christ. But he’s assigned all that without cause there’s no deceit in his mouth. There’s no violence in his hands. He is the only one of all people who didn’t bring any more hell into Earth, which the rest of us have done. Why? Then why does he suffer? Why? Like, look at verse 10. I’m just gonna sneak into verse 10. here for a moment. Why is it that we read verse 10, it was the Lord’s will to crush him, and cause him to suffer. The Hebrew they’re literally reads, The Lord was pleased to crush him, and make him suffer. That’s a question.
Why did it please God to crush his own son and make the only innocent person who ever lived to suffer? That’s shocking statement? Is God a sadist? No, I mean, this is the same God after all, Jesus is God to What is God doing? And how does it answer at the deepest level? These questions that we’re all asking, I think we got to talk about this for a bit. We’ll do some biblical theology as we do it. So you don’t need to flip around. But I’m going to flip around in the Bible just for a moment here. So we see what God is doing when it started and limitations, limitations written during the time when Babylon is invading Judah, the southern kingdom, and actually destroying Jerusalem, including the very temple of God. It’s called lamentation, because it turns out that people didn’t like that. So they were lamenting it, and you have this prophet, whoever he was weeping about it throughout this. What’s interesting about lamentation is though is that it’s written with a tighter literary structure than any book of the Bible. It is actually a series of acrostic poems, A, B, C, D, except a left that Gimel but you know, the Hebrew letters. So if you were to look at limitations, you’d see there’s 22 verses and chapters 124 And five, one verse for each letter, the Hebrew alphabet. And then chapter three is fascinating. You could flip there, you could look it’s got 66 verses, three times through the alphabet, AAA BBB, CCC DDD. So it’s the focus. It’s the centerpiece of this book. 66 verses of the center chapter. What’s the central verse lamentation three, verse 33, says this, he does not willingly Bring affliction or grief to anyone. Can you want to a more literal wooden rendering of it? It says he does not afflict from the heart. That is a fascinating phrase. Two things we got to draw out of that, first of all, let’s not miss it. It is God who flicks. That’s clear. That’s an implication. That’s why this series is called people God killed. Because God is the one who stands behind the judgment. Ultimately, nothing happens apart from him. But second, and the focus of this verse is that he doesn’t do it willingly. I think we could even say it, his heart isn’t in it. That fully. He doesn’t do this for pleasure sake. In fact, he even says, we’ll look at this verse a little bit later, I take no pleasure. In the death of the wicked. I take no pleasure. The only reason this is happening is because it serves a higher end. The sorts of things we’ve looked out throughout this series we looked at throughout this series, it’s to drive hell out of Earth. It’s to bring justice it’s to make war on war and to do violence to violence to warn us and protect us. But he doesn’t like doing it and like in that He’s like a father, disciplining his children. Cheevers says exactly. If you’ve got kids, you know what I mean by this. you discipline your children. You don’t enjoy it. I can remember this. I’ll tell a story. It was it was Karis, but only because she was the first this was the first time I experienced this at least fully. She’s you know, probably three or four. And she was I don’t even know what she did wrong. Like that part of the story is completely gone to me, but she was acting like a threenager. That’s just what they do at that age. And so she got in trouble. So she had something taken away from her. I don’t remember what it was. She wasn’t able to do something that she wanted to do. And she lost it on me. sobbing. No, please, daddy. No, please, please. Like what am I supposed to do with that? I am a tender hearted man. Okay, like I cry easily, not as easily Kyle, but I cry easily. So I’m like doing the like, you know, turning away so you can’t see that I’m crying now. Also, I had to do it. Of course, like Karis is better. For the discipline I placed in her life. It was for her good. But I didn’t like it. My heart wasn’t in it. I would much rather reward my kids and bless them and give things to them and all of that. That’s God. God grieves. As he punishes, his heart’s not in it. It serves a higher and like, look at limitations. Yeah, Israel deserves Babylons invasion. They have abandoned their God, he was quite clear about what the consequences would be. But that’s not the end. That’s not the point. That’s not where God landed. He’s chastising in order to restore and that’s where his heart is the restoration. And that’s why it pleased God to crush Jesus instead of us. Here’s the way Thomas Godwin Puritan preacher puts it. In his wonderful little book, the heart of Christ for sinners. He talks about when God punishes us justly, there is always something in his heart against it. But when it comes to show mercy, it is said that he does it with his whole heart. There is nothing at all in him that is against it. The Act itself pleases Him for itself. There is no reluctance in him. So he’s saying of affliction and bringing grief. It’s not from the heart. But when it comes to restoration, it’s with my whole heart. He’s quoting Jeremiah 32, verse 41, than which is by the way, talking about when God is going to bring his people back from exile in Babylon the end of the story that we started in limitations. It says this, Jeremiah 32, verse 41, I will rejoice in doing them good, and will assuredly plant them in this land. With all my heart and soul, no reluctance. His heart is in this one completely. Isaiah says something similar. Honestly, I’m gonna put it up there for you. But back in Isaiah 28. When God is speaking of a specific punishment, Isaiah says that it is his strange work his alien task. Like this is foreign to God’s heart, punishment and condemnation. If I could use a crass analogy that I’m sure will fall far short of God’s Glory. It’s like judgment is God’s second language. He stumbles over it. I mean, he’s omniscient. He doesn’t stumble over any languages analogy, okay, work with me people. But he like stumbles over it. He’s got a search for the word, it’s not comfortable for him. When it comes to mercy, He is fluent, just comes right out of him. Of course, we got to tread carefully here like I get that some of you are picking up stones, I understand. The doctrine of divine simplicity is very important, which means God is always who he is completely. It’s not like God’s got a gracious part of himself and a holy judgment part of himself. And he kind of like chooses which switch to flip. No, God is always and only God simply he is 100% love justice. He has 100%, holy, kind of like how Christ is 100% God and 100% Man, he’s not like 5050 and Which side did you get? He is always who he is. And there is always perfection and all that he does. That’s what it means to be God. But His Holiness is a beautiful holiness. It is born of love. And it comes to us in mercy He desires we experience that beauty, the beauty of His Holiness to live in shalom, that fullness of peace that recognizes his holiness and lives in light of it because of that, because that’s what he desires. For us, it means he must attack whatever threatens it. He wants a healthy, a healed world, which means he cannot but attack the infection, destroying it. In other words, he has to kill, to save, like a doctor has to kill a virus in order to save a person but his heart, his whole heart is in the salvation. Not in the judgment. Again, like a doctor, you got some world renowned surgeon, I’m thinking of themselves as they perform life saving surgeries, they don’t go home and go, You know what I love most about my job, the scalpel. I just love the incisions are just a fun. You go home and you think it was bad. And that’s me a long recovery, but I cut out the evil from that person so that they can live. That’s where God rejoices. And so he was pleased, pleased to crush Jesus for our sake. And by the way, because about 15 years ago, there’s a whole group of people who decided to be collectively kind of obtuse when it came to reading scripture. And they said, Well, you know what that is and that’s cosmic child abuse. That’s what’s happening there. Because it please the Father to crush the son, okay? But it pleased Jesus to be crushed. Also, for the joy set before him he endured the cross scorning its shame. No one takes my life from me. He says, I lay it down on my own accord, and what was his heart as he was experienced the punishment for our sin? Was he feeling bitter that day, resentful. Now, what did he say on the cross? Father, zap them, strike them down. I could use some of that other stuff right now.
Father, forgive them. Is God out to get us? Yes, absolutely. He is. He is out to get us for himself to rescue and redeem and restore us. He is like that father, who has seen what addiction is doing to his son. He’s seen the Havoc it’s wreaking in the family’s life. The sons now stealing from the family. And he just attacked his mom, this dad’s wife. And so the dad knows what he needs to do. And he picks up the phone and he calls the police who have to come and take this boy away. To experience the consequences of his actions. What do you think the dad is feeling as that squad car pulls away, son in the back? He’s weeping on the front porch. As he watches him go but he is hoping that this is what will wake his son. Look again at Rosa. And Cora and aDOP. As this is happening. Do you see the tear on your father’s cheek? Do you see what he’s saying to us in that moment? Why not rather turn and be healed? He is scanning the horizon waiting for us to come home. That’s the parable. Jesus told us about the father’s heart. He’s looking for us when he sees us. He runs to us he loves you. So like he is a holy, yes, holy, holy, holy, but it is a beautiful holiness. It is a loving holiness and your God is wholeheartedly merciful. There is one more piece of the story. We got to Look at as we keep reading, and that is God’s victory. Let me finish up the chapter for us verses 10 to 12. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer. And know the Lord makes his life and offering for sin, He will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, He will see the light of life and be satisfied. By His knowledge, my righteous servant will justify money and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will give them a portion among the great and he will divide the spoils with a strong, because he poured out his life unto death and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bought the sin of money, and made intercession for the transgressors. Because we wrapping up the series, and we’ve looked at the brokenness of this world, I’ll tell you, I don’t want God’s empathy, only. I want him to fix it to I am glad that Jesus joined us in the gray, but I want him to walk out of that on that third day. And I am glad that Jesus knows what it means to suffer injustice. But I’m still looking for a king, who will judge with equity and rule with righteousness when He comes again. And that’s what Isaiah promises will happen. Though he’s offered as a sacrifice, he’s going to see his offspring, which is all of us, by the way, which is a crazy thought, because he’s cut off without descendants. And yet here are his descendants. And he’s also killed and then it will prolong his days. This doesn’t make sense, unless you’re talking about the resurrection, in which case it makes perfect sense. Better still, though, in all of this is when Isaiah says, the will of the Lord what God desires, what God wants to see happen, will prosper in his hand. That is by his agency, Jesus accomplishes God’s purpose, what purpose, the redemption of money, the redemption of money, he will see the light of life, that’s his resurrection, and be satisfied. In other words, he’s going to like what he sees the justification of many, who sin has been taken away, his punishment has been taken away. And he will then be given many the great, I think, referring to a great number as his portion. So Jesus says in John six all the Father has given me and He will then divide the strong as his spoil, which means I am quibbling with the NIV translation there. By the way, I think he’s dividing the strong as his spoil. What does that mean? It means he’s plundering the structures of evil in this world for his people, in the same way that the Israelites as they were carried out of Egypt, by God’s mighty arm plundered, the Egyptians carried off their wealth, all because Jesus was willing to suffer deaths in our place. Because of that, he is vindicated in victory, and raised to new life for His joy, and God’s pleasure. Do you see the resurrection, Christ’s resurrection as a foretaste of what’s coming and our resurrection? Resurrection? Is the answer to all of our questions. Why is judgment so harsh? What’s the deal with holy war? Talk to me about hell? Well, what is God doing in the end, at the resurrection of all people, unquote Joshua Ryan Butler one more time from his book, skeletons and God’s closet, Jesus is gonna do three things. Yeah. And he is going to raise Babylon are a z, e raise Babylon, raise our AI S E the dead and redeem the world. Well, what is holy war? That’s God, as we said, a few weeks ago, making war on war, dismantling the structures and cultures of injustice and evil in this world. He does that by raising Babylon. When Christ comes again, even though Babylon hasn’t been around for like, 1000 years, what do they all sing a fallen, fallen? is Babylon the Great. This is system of rebellion against God’s good creation, God arises on behalf of the weak to fight the strongest as God taking on the Nazis from within Auschwitz. That’s holy war. And that’s what God will do. In the end. When Jesus comes again, He will raise Babylon what is judgment? Well, judgment is God ensuring that sins destructive power and influence will not continue forever. It is bound in space and time can go this far and no farther. That is what judgment is. God does that Jesus does that by raising the dead when Christ comes again, He will draw us all out of our good raves, and then the Judge of all the earth will do. Right? He will judge rightly, as he looks on us, and He will address that wicked root within all of us. And some of us will have said, God, would you take this wicked root out of me? And some of us will cling to it like Gollum that ring? My precious? I’m not letting go. And that takes us to that last question, what is hell? We saw a few weeks back, God has opened the gates of his city to all people, the gates are open, anyone can come in who wants to come in, but sin is not permitted. You gotta leave that at the gate. Because if it were permitted, we would make a hell of heaven even. And so how does Jesus do this, He does this by redeeming the world. This is the final movement when God casts all evil and all the consequences of evil out of the new heavens and the new earth because God is creating that New Jerusalem to be a place without sin, and the suffering it brings. Which means when we come to that gate, we must all choose God, or sin. And that is where this series must land. It is the choice before us all. Heaven, or hell, God or sin. I said at the very beginning of this series, almost the first sentence of it that I wanted to precipitate a crisis of faith in all of you to ask the questions that most of us would prefer to hide from it. And we’ve done that in this series. But the word crisis has two meanings. It’s got this kind of colloquial vernacular meaning and it’s got its original meaning. What’s the vernacular? It’s an emergency situation, right? We’re in crisis mode here, people. The word originally means a point of decision. That’s what a crisis is, it’s a fork in the road. Agenda. generation ago, Martin Marti who’s a philosopher of religion said that the church at its best meets the human longing for the right kind of crisis. We all want a crisis in our lives. What is it that ever present opportunity to start over? A fresh start a second chance to leave behind the old self with all this junk, all that you’ve done to mess your life up and the lives of those around you as well to leave that behind for the new one. And here’s how God presents that crisis. And words I’ve said already this morning, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Hearts, not in it, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. That’s where God takes pleasure when we turn from our ways, and live turn from your evil ways. Why will you die people of Israel, why not rather turn and be healed?
We’ve seen his heart is full of mercy and love, we have seen his will to redeem and restore to cast hell out of Earth that we might at last know heaven on earth instead. And he is out to get us to rescue us from ourselves and return us to him self. So why not come to his table to receive mercy, and grace and love and every spiritual blessing in Christ, the fullness of life and joy and peace just found in him and nowhere else? We’re going to take Communion now. And we’re gonna do it a little bit differently than we sometimes do. It looks different. Even it’s on the sides here. So I’d invite the elders down. At this point, the worship team can begin to come up as well. We’re gonna do kind of a throwback to the days of altar calls. We got Baptist roots here, right? Why? Because there’s something about a physical response. Coming forward, we often distribute the elements and there’s a passive receiving that says something that’s okay. But there’s something about that coming forward to receive it. That is as if we’re saying, This is my choice at this moment of crisis. So explain the process here just for a moment. First of all, this is for those who are trying to check sin at the gate, who are leaving it behind because they want to enter into heaven. If you are not at that place. You’re still looking at God looking at Jesus asking these questions and going, Nope, not willing to lay it down yet. Would you take this time to reflect in prayer on even what I’ve said this morning, and what Isaiah has said to us, but I would not have you come Now this is a meal for repentant sinners, those who have acknowledged that we are broken, that we have caused brokenness in this world, but who are grieved by it and who want to leave it behind. If that’s you, you can come down the center aisle here in a moment, we’re coming on the center aisle and go back in the side aisles, and come down when you’re ready. After you’ve spent some time and confession and reflection, and Karen’s gonna just, you know, noodle for a bit on the piano behind us. And then eventually, Kyle on the team will lead us in a song that will help us reflect on what we’re doing, but you do what you need to do here. Don’t feel like you got to stand and sing at that moment or something like that. You may not get there, you might need to be doing some business in your heart. Because as this is happening, I want you to lean into this crisis. Has this series exposed you the Word of God exposed you? Do you have hidden sin, like Akin, like there is that hole in your living room floor where you buried your sin? Have you been careless with the things of God and presumed upon grace? Or maybe in this series, there has been the dawning recognition that you have never come at all. And let today be the day then why not rather turn and live? Jesus suffered in our place, the punishment that we deserve, so that we don’t need to, if we come to Him in repentance, and faith, forgiveness is freely offered. Down and Joe will be here to serve you the elements as you come forward. Pat and I are going to be available upfront just for anybody who needs an elder to pray with, whether out loud or silently we can lay hands on you, whatever it is, front row is open for you. Like I said, this is a throwback to altar call days, okay? Because there is something wonderful about all because there are issues with them, too. It’s why we don’t do them as much anymore. There’s something wonderful about it, because it was an individual decision. We got to do this personally. But there was a chance for the community to come around in that moment. And that’s what we want to be for you come in confession, come in humility, come in repentance, come to receive mercy, grace and love. Let God get you. That’s what he came to do. It’s what he delights to do with his whole heart. Let’s pray. Father, even now would you soften our hearts, to your word and to the grace that is offered us that we might receive it gladly, with repentance, and with faith trusting in you, and the work that you did on the cross for us, and not trusting in ourselves, like sheep who want to stop wandering and get back on the path because we know you lead us in the paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. And that is what we desire, because we know your paths are the paths of life and joy, health and wholeness. Would you call us home? And I pray especially Lord, for those who are in need of doing business with you in this moment, that you would by your Spirit, overwhelm them with your grace, may they see your heart, confess their sin, and come to you we ask through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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