Revelations of Salvation

1/15/2023

Message Title: Revelations of Salvation
Theme:
Revealing Revelations
Season: Epiphany
Main Text: Isaiah 49:1-7;
Scripture Reading: John 1:29-42
RCL Scripture: Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 40:1-11; 1 Corinthians 1:1-9; John 1:29-42
Focus:  God promises to not give up on Israel.
Function:
To claim Jesus.
Other Notes:

SCRIPTURE READING: John 1:29-42 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is really greater than me because he existed before me.’ 31 Even I didn’t recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he might be made known to Israel.” 32 John testified, “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and it rested on him. 33 Even I didn’t recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit coming down and resting is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and testified that this one is God’s Son.” 35 The next day John was standing again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus walking along he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard what he said, and they followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he asked, “What are you looking for?” They said, “Rabbi (which is translated Teacher), where are you staying?” 39 He replied, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40 One of the two disciples who heard what John said and followed Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Christ[c] ). 42 He led him to Jesus.

SERIES INTRODUCTION: The season of epiphany is a season of discoveries or revelations. I like the word epiphany better than revelation in general, it prevents the confusion of revelation = end times rather than revelation = reveal (like a can of sardines peeling back the top). Revelations expose the truth. You can’t go back to life before the revelation; the knowledge changes you.  These Ah-ha! Moments teach us something new about Jesus as the Christ.We will read passages from the Old Testament and look at different ways God reveals truth to God’s people with the hope of training ourselves to look for the revelation of Jesus as Messiah.

INTRODUCTION: Speaking of revelations, have you ever heard the phrase “I was today years old when I learned….” This popular trend on the internet has led to adorable and sometimes helpful discoveries.

  1. I was Today Years Old ….
    1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: What is a lesson or fact you learned embarrassingly late?
    1. https://www.boredpanda.com/today-years-old-people-share-facts/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic
      1. Donkey Nannies
      1. Harvest mice
    1. Snap/Pop Freeze Pops/Otter Pops to open them
      1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Btw what’s the best color?

TRANSITION: There may not be any cute harvest mice in our scripture today, but we may still have some amazing revelations.

MAIN TEXT: Isaiah 49:1-7 Listen to me, coastlands; pay attention, peoples far away. The Lord called me before my birth, called my name when I was in my mother’s womb. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, and hid me in the shadow of God’s own hand. He made me a sharpened arrow, and concealed me in God’s quiver, 3saying to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I show my glory.” But I said, “I have wearied myself in vain. I have used up my strength for nothing.” Nevertheless, the Lord will grant me justice; my reward is with my God. And now the Lord has decided—the one who formed me from the womb as his servant—to restore Jacob to God, so that Israel might return to him. Moreover, I’m honored in the Lord’s eyes; my God has become my strength. He said: It is not enough, since you are my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the survivors of Israel. Hence, I will also appoint you as light to the nations so that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth. The Lord, redeemer of Israel and its holy one, says to one despised, rejected by nations, to the slave of rulers: Kings will see and stand up; commanders will bow down on account of the Lord, who is faithful, the holy one of Israel, who has chosen you.

EXPLAINATION:

  1. Context:
    1. Isaiah spans a LARGE amount of time- pre-exile, exile, aftermath. Some scholars think about 3 authors (Isaiah plus a couple disciples) wrote this one book and passed it down the generations.
    1. Disclaimer: language about the audience can be confusing in the prophets.
      1. God regularly calls his people Israel- as in the whole 12 tribes- but by the time of Isaiah the 12 tribes split in to 2 kingdoms (Israel in the North, Judah in the South). God still sometimes calls the people living in Judah/Jerusalem Israel.
    1. Audience: Isaiah starts after the Northern Kingdom of Israel has fallen to Assyria. The audience is most likely Jews in Jerusalem/Judea. 
  2. Revelation: God hasn’t abandoned Israel. Israel was chosen before its birth to show God’s glory.
    1. Isaiah 49 contains a beautiful poem about the servant of God who will restore Israel.
    1. Language in singular here. It isn’t until Ch. 56 that Israel becomes plural. This language leads to a variety of interpretations about this passage.
      1. Christians have interpreted chapters 49-55 as prophecy about Jesus, frequently this section is identified as prophecy about the suffering servant who will come to save us all.
      1. However, Jews see this as a prophecy about Israel – unified- and serving as God’s light to the nations.
    1. Is God’s reference to Israel a metaphor for someone who will perfectly represent God’s people or is this a text at face value talking about Israel finally being redeemed and restored with faithfulness to God?
      1. I don’t have a concrete black and white answer for you.
      1. You’ll just have to live on faith.
      1. Could it be both?

INTERPRETATION:

  1. A quick glance through the prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Micah, Hosea, etc) we can see that Israel has lost their God given identity.
    1. Israel has not lived by the 10 commandments…. Nor the 613 laws they created to expand the 10 commandments for clarity.
    1. Israel has lost their heart while clinging to their label.
      1. In previous chapters, you can see Israel claim their preferential status because they are offspring of Abraham. But they have lost connection to the covenant of Abraham and the covenant of Moses.
      1. In Luke 3, John the Baptist even calls out the religious leaders who come to him for baptism and tells them that they can’t claim their heritage as their salvation.
    1. God will keep God’s covenant to Israel, even if Israel fails to keep their side of the covenant.
  2. The story of Israel, of Judah, is our story.
    1. We too can be lost in the wrong labels.
      1. “I’m a gold star Christian because I voted for X politician or support X political party.”
      1. “I’m a gold star Christian because I go to church.”
      1. “I’m a gold star Christian because I don’t say GD
    1. Loyalty to earthly tribes or powers doesn’t gain you preferential status.
    1. Legalistic or ritualistic practices of religion won’t gain you preferential status.

APPLICATION:

  1. I have a friend who jokingly used to say that he was a “quarter catholic” because one of his grandparents was catholic.
    1. However, many Christians in the Midwest claim their Christian faith not because of conviction or practice but because it’s what their family has done for generations. They claim Christianity because of heritage not because of personal belief.
    1. Heritage isn’t what saves us, faith in Jesus does.
  2. We may have learned about Jesus because of our Faith Family Tree. But our Faith Family Tree doesn’t save us, only Jesus does. Grandma Betsy doesn’t save us, only Jesus does.
    1. We can’t claim faith heritage or political party as our salvation.
    1. God doesn’t want your DNA. God wants your heart.
  3. Today we peel back the wrapping to reveal God’s salvation.
    1. Salvation isn’t complicated – believe in Jesus.
      1. Rom 10: 9-13 9Because if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 Trusting with the heart leads to righteousness, and confessing with the mouth leads to salvation. 11 The scripture says, All who have faith in him won’t be put to shame.[e] 12 There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, because the same Lord is Lord of all, who gives richly to all who call on him. 13 All who call on the Lord’s name will be saved.
      1. Acts 16: 29-33 29 The jailer called for some lights, rushed in, and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He led them outside and asked, “Honorable masters, what must I do to be rescued?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your entire household.” 32 They spoke the Lord’s word to him and everyone else in his house. 33 Right then, in the middle of the night, the jailer welcomed them and washed their wounds. He and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.
    1. No test
    1. No Gradebook
    1. No group project
  4. Baptism opportunities- family dedications
    1. Feb 29th? – Sunday school
    1. March ___ – after church
    1. Baptism on April 9th – during service

CONCLUSION: It’s not complicated but it’s also not easy. Faith isn’t about having all the answers. It isn’t about the 401k or life insurance policy. Faith is trusting that God is good even when we don’t understand. God has revealed God’s self to us through Jesus. This knowledge has forever changed us.

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