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Archive for the ‘Isaiah 53’ Category

Faith is Knowldge

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 11, 2009

Isaiah 53:11 – After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

An interesting phrase here is “by his knowledge”. Jesus’ work on the cross gives us justification from sin, this means that it is just-as-if-you’d not sinned.  He simultaneously takes on the sin that causes you death. He does this by “his knowledge”. This is the same word for the tree that helped man bring about sin in creation – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Knowledge is not always good. When knowledge becomes a substitute for faith, knowledge closes the door to the hand of God moving in your life.  An example would be allowing the understanding of our physical world to invalidate in our minds the possibilities that Jesus could walk on water or even that if you pray for someone, they could be healed. 

We take an aspirin first before praying for the pain of a headache because we trust in our knowledge of the medicine before the knowledge of God.

Jesus took a step in the knowledge of who He was and what his calling was to complete the journey.  He walked the walk, talked the talk and came through victorious.  

Remember Jesus and Satan’s conversation and how Satan tried to tempt Jesus to try a different, less painful path.  Jesus won that victory because of his knowledge of God and faith in the plan of God.

Jesus knew God, knew who he was, knew his mission, knew the outcome. Knowledge, when put on God, is faith.  Faith is not some esoterical, mystical belief of blind understanding but a knowledge that God’s way is right.


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Jesus Got Rewards Too

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 10, 2009

Isaiah 53:10 – Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

John 3:36 says that God’s wrath is aimed right at each and every one of us and only when we receive Jesus is that wrath redirected.  God poured out his wrath on His son so that anyone who received Jesus could avoid His wrath directly. God had to crush Jesus or he would have to crush us. Kind of a scary thought if you dwell on it.

Notice though that Jesus got a reward too – offspring.  Now I wonder who that might be???

We are the children of God because of the work of Christ on the Cross.  In addition, His days are prolonged.  Actually, that is a bit of an understatement. He will rule and reign forever (Luke 1:33).

But the really cool part is that the will of God will proposer in his hand.  I find that the Bible is more and more amazing each time I open it.  Read the book of Revelation.  Who is worthy to “open” the scroll?  Jesus.  What is in the Scroll? The will of God unleashed on earth.

The very hands that touched blind eyes, that took the pain of spikes on a cross, that fed a demoralized group of disciples after his resurrection and that held the scrolls of the end times judgement also sets those events into motion.

But Jesus didn’t get to this point overnight as it were; he had to endure humiliation (Philippians 2) and death like a common criminal on a Roman torture device to reap the rewards he received. 

Just to wrap up a great thing, part of that reward is you. Jesus gets you if you receive what he has done for you on the cross.  You are his prize, and he is yours.  It just doesn’t get any better than that.

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Wicked is to Violence as Rich is to Deceit

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 9, 2009

Isaiah 53:9 – He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Strange how this verse categorizes the wicked and the dead. Using a familiar Hebrew poetic structure, it finishes up with the corresponding violence and deceit. Another way of saying it is, “Wicked is to violence as rich is to deceit”.

Another word for deceit is fraud.  Someone who pulls a poncy scheme. In Jesus day (and in some ways today as well), people got rich on the backs of others. They cheated, stole, betrayed and in the end, bribed their way to riches.  One particular practice was using false weight on a scale so that you could receive more than you paid for, a practice the God expressly forbid. The outlook on rich people was pretty bleak.

Jesus once said that it was more difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. (Mat 19:24)

Riches have a way of changing people.  It’s not that the money has any real power, but the love of it is intoxicating (Ecc 5:10, 1 Tim 6:10). You have to be extremely careful around it or it will destroy you like the ring in Lord of the Rings.

We just had an auction here in Indianapolis for an estate of a person that won the lottery.  They lost it all and had hundreds of thousands of dollars of items sold off to pay the debts.  The millions they won were not enough to feed the beast. If you seek riches, you will never be satisfied.

I remember as a teen thinking that if I ever made $25,000 a year, I’d be set for life. Yeah, right.

So when Jesus is buried with the wicked and rich – they were probably one and the same.  

Two things in life are sure – we all die, and we can’t take anything with us when we die except people. 

That burial of Jesus with the wicked is similar to what happens to us when we are confess Jesus as Lord and are baptized into Christ.  We are buried with him in death and raise to new life.  Notice that none of the wicked buried with Jesus rose to life – they were all still dead.

When Jesus saves us, we cross from death to life – from wickedness to righteous. 

As the song says, “I once was lost, but now I’m free.”

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The Bully Effect

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 8, 2009

Isaiah 53:8 – By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 

The classic tale of bullying.  

What is a bully?  It is someone that finds his strength in bringing people down to his level through intimidation. 

First they size you up to make sure they can take you down (judge). Then they bring you down in a humiliating fashion (oppress). They have no real power. They have no real strength – at least the strength to pull themselves up.  They have to tear down everything around them so they don’t feel so small.

Governments do it, bad guys do it and religion does it. Instead of building others up around them, encouraging them in their endeavors, they bridle them and restrain them and if that doesn’t work they intimidate and tear them down.

Government is supposed to be for the people, unless the people get too successful. Then they have to tear them down, tax them into oblivion and create class warfare between the “haves and have nots”.

Religion is only good when taking care of widow and orphans (James 1:27), taking care of their family when in need (1 Tim 5:4) and keeping a tight reign on your tongue (James 1:26).  It is only mentioned 6 times in the Bible. Three of them speak of the Jewish faith and the other three about taking care of people.  

How do we turn it into a weapon? We take religion – faith as it were, and use it to tear people down instead of build them up.

God is on the move.  He is never sitting still, but we tend to be unmovable. The old hymn, “I shall not be moved” becomes our mantra. We hold those hungry for God back instead of taking a leap of “faith” and seeing what God may be up to.

Think about the things Jesus was proposing in his teaching that the religion of the day wasn’t practicing: Love, helping the poor, dying to self, humility, meekness.  This was not the religious way.  He looked at the same Bible and got something completely different.  Why? He saw God in it.

You only overcome the bully effect when you learn to follow Jesus – truly follow Jesus.

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Only a Friend can Betray You

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 7, 2009

Isaiah 53:7 – He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

If ever there was a defense that could be made in any court case, Jesus had it.  He could have brought witness after witness to show his good character, blind men could have shown his love, cripple people his kindness, deaf and mute could speak his praises, and one very thankful woman could tell all about his rescue on the night she would be stoned.

Scores of people could have come forward from lepers that were touched by his hand to men who walked on water with him.  The testimonies were everywhere – in fact, the very people condemning him to death were witnesses.

Yet, Jesus kept silent.  Why?

Jesus said it himself,

If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid – John 5:30-32

First, it was the plan of God that Jesus would die.  That was the only way.  Any testimony would have just delayed, at best, the inevitable.

Second, he was a lamb.  His humility, spoken of earlier in Isaiah 53, was the key point of his ministry.  The first coming was like a lamb.  His next coming will be like a lion.

Finally, it showed us that we are wretched.  Remember all those that could come to his defense?  In his darkest hour, they fled.  Peter denied him, John ran away naked. What healed person came to his rescue?  What previously demon possessed person gathered up the courage to come before Pilate and plead for Jesus.  Not one.

He was despised and rejected – not just by the bad people, but by those who said they loved him. 

Remember who it was that betrayed him – Judas.  He was a friend. You can’t be betrayed by your enemy. You expect that of them, not a friend.

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Stupid Sheep

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 6, 2009

Isaiah 53:6 – We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Take it from this verse, and many others like it, “You don’t deserve God’s love”. 

Oh, you may think you are a good person cause you ain’t killed nobody, but the fact remains that you are born to die. You live everyday in your sin and are destined to one day die – alone, unloved and pathetic.

What have you ever done for God to make up for the rejection you brought to him. You run; you hide; you didn’t seek him out first.  You were retched, pitiful, naked and blind.  You couldn’t see the truth because it shone a light on you and revealed all your deepest darkest sin, your flaws and you failures.  God is too good for you. There is no chance at all for you to take one step that would endear you to God.

Who are you but a worm? Why would God take notice? What hope do you have to find Him? You are somewhere between Billy Graham and Hitler and even Billy Graham knows he doesn’t deserve a savior.

You are a stupid sheep. You don’t know your way; you follow the crowd and call it “individuality”, you fall over and you can’t get back up on your own.  You are frail and weak against the evil that is out there.

You are hopeless and wretched.

And yet….

While you were in this mess, while you were sinning away, lost in your depravity, Jesus the Messiah, the one and only from God made himself into flesh through the birthing process, grew up the same way you did – he wore diapers, learned to talk and walk, and probably hit his thumb with a hammer just like you. He lived a life without a sin.

He came with a mission that nobody here asked Him to take on. He came to die; only His death would bring salvation to the world for those that received this free gift of love.

While we were sinners, Jesus the Messiah died for you, for me, for every wretched one of us. None of us deserved it, but God so loved you.  He so wanted to have relationship with you that He sent the most important thing He had – His own, to die a death of a criminal even though He was innocent so that you could have an opportunity to make a simple choice to receive this free gift or not and have eternal life with God. 

You can be freed from the spiral of death even though you don’t deserve it.  That is love.  There is no greater demonstration of love than dying for someone you love except dying for someone that doesn’t deserve your love. Jesus showed you this type of love, all you have to do is receive it and freedom from death is yours.

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The Results of Jesus Death

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 5, 2009

Isaiah 53:5 – But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Four things Jesus did on the Cross. I rather believe that this is not just poetic, but literal. Everything that was done to Jesus on the Cross had a meaning – even the number of times he shed his blood.  

Think about it – seven times Jesus shed blood: in the garden (bloody perspiration), beard pulled out, fists to face, crown of thorns, whip on back, nails in hands and feet, spear in side. All of this showing the complete nature of the sacrifice.

This verse shows four events on the cross: nails, beating, guilt (ours not his) and whips, and the results of them are:

Removal of Transgressions – original sin. This is the thing that keeps you from God. Only death absolves it.

Forgiveness of Iniquities – your sin. Those things that you do every day. Your forgiveness is made  possible as John says, “when you confess your sin, (this is to Christians too) he is faithful and just to forgive you of your sins and cleans you from all wrong doing (unrighteousness).

Peace – You were an enemy of God, now you are a friend.  Believe it or not, 50 years ago, America didn’t like Japan, Italy or Germany.  They were enemies, now because America won, there is peace.  You now share peace with God because He won the war over sin.

Healing – God still heals today, most of us just don’t seek it or believe it or trust that he loves us that much.  I am reminded of a friend that once told me, “When praying for someone, don’t beg God to heal someone in a way that insults his love for them. He already loves them more than you or anyone ever will.  He is more willing to heal than we give Him credit for.”

Of course the greatest healing is the healed soul. If Jesus is your master, your friend and savior, then you have passed from death to life.  Chuck Missler says, “Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people live!”

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The Suffering Servant

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 4, 2009

Isaiah 53:4 – Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

It was on this very point that the Jews of Jesus day missed the Messiah. In fact, it is why they still miss him today.

How could a conquering king be conquered without equating it with defeat?  Jesus lays out throughout the course of His ministry why it had to be this way.

Humilty – Remember that Jesus was born in a manger. If He was destined for earthly greatness, then a palace would have been more appropriate. Instead, he is born in cattle puke and dies with criminals.  He stayed consitent throughout His life on earth. Doesn’t get much more humbling. 

Sacrifice – The whole point of lamb, ram and bull sacrifice was to pay a penalty for sin committed; however, no ram equals a person.  This is why the price was paid over and over.  The true payment for sin could not be met until the sinner paid it with his/her own death. Only then is it paid in full.  The only problem with that is that the death’s byproduct is separation from God. Your death doesn’t gain you anything, it just pays the price – you’re still broke.

Only Jesus, who is God, could pay the price because His life is worth more than all who have ever lived combined.  His payment is enough to pay in your stead so that you can benefit from the paid in full.  It gives you free access to God.  He had to die so that we could live – plain as that.

Finally, God had to do it. Yes, God killed Jesus. OK, semantics says that the Jews did it with the Roman’s help, but the reality is that God did it.  Who else do you really think could kill God?  Jesus became obedient to death (Philipians 2). God submitted to laws of nature that He created. 

Think about this question: What was God’s sacrifice – the cross or the cradle? For us, it is the Cross. We needed His blood. For God, it was the cradle.  

God became man. It was a one way trip whether he die on a Cross or not. There was no going back.  To put on human flesh was the ultimate sacrifice because he is still human. He ascended in a human body, exists today with scars still present on that body for us to remember what he did. He is fully God, but he is still fully man.

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Fighting the Urge to Shun Jesus

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 3, 2009

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Has anything changed? Really? 

How bold are you to tell others  what Jesus has done in your life?  Do you run from the conversation like John did?  Do you lie or redirect the conversation or even deny Jesus like Peter did? 

We do this all the time – mostly unintentionally, but it happens.  We use excuses – don’t have the time, somebody else can get that person, I’m at work, it’s not Sunday.  Whatever the excuse, we more often than not fail to reach out to every person that is presented.  The deeper question is not a conditional one, but a spiritual one – why are we shunning Jesus.

You’ve heard the sermons before that go something like this: If you knew that tomorrow there would be a disaster, what would you do to rescue people from it ahead of time?

This is no sermon – this is the TRUTH! It could be even sooner than tomorrow. Would you build a house on a volcano top? Even if it were dormant?  Sure it’s not erupting now, and it might not erupt for years or even centuries, but you wouldn’t put yourself in that position willingly. Yet billions of people live on the side of an active volcano showing real signs of blowing.  

In this scenario, you can’t shun Jesus to get them off the mountain, you have to risk your pride, ego and personal comfort to trek up the mountain and help them pack.

Jesus said that he would come as a thief in the night.  Nobody is going to know when, but it will be quick.  

When volcanoes go, they can blow up.  Look at Mt. St. Helen.  It blew with the force of an atomic bomb.  Jesus’ coming will trump that the world over.

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The Unrecognizable Messiah

Posted by undergroundchurch on April 2, 2009

Isaiah 53:2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.  He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

Continuing look at Isaiah 53.

If you walked down the street in the days of Jesus on earth, say about 10 B.C., you could pass right by Jesus and never recognize him. Ten years later, you still wouldn’t recognize him or probably even be drawn to him. Even when He is 30, there is nothing about His presence that would make you fall down before Him. It wasn’t His looks that drew people, it was what came from Jesus lips and hands that made people come out in droves.

Why is this relevant? If you aren’t looking for the right Jesus, you will pass right by.

The leaders of that day saw the same Jesus that the people saw.  Except for a couple brave souls, the leaders did not fall over themselves to listen to Jesus; instead, they plotted how they might kill this rebel.  

You see, Jesus wasn’t doing it their way, or the way they were taught and were teaching others.  His approach rubbed them wrong, and it must be dealt with.  They missed Jesus – passed right by.

Don’t make Jesus fit your image of what Jesus should be, you will miss him.  Don’t just look for a loving God without being open to the fact that He is equally holy and cannot tollerate sin in His presence.  Don’t look for the peace of Christ without understanding that his anger and wrath are equally terrifying.

There is no better balanced person in the universe than God.  Perfect if love perfect in holiness, calls you son and calls you slave.  

You need to be like Paul who said, “I want to know him in the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering.” If you leave either out, you are missing who Jesus is.

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