Big idea: (1) God does not choose us because we are good. But because God chooses us He makes us good.

(2) Those servants God appoints for difficult tasks do not cop out or bail out no matter the difficulty or opposition, for God empowers them with his presence.

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew (chose) you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations'” (Jer 1:4-5).

A Fire in My Bones. "But if I say, 'I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name,' his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bonesI am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot" (Jer 20:9).

Key Themes:

  • The word of God plays a critical role in Jeremiah's call. The word of God would proclaim both destruction and restoration.
  • God choose Jeremiah to be his prophet even before he was born.
  • God reassures Jeremiah by promising the power of his presence, which will deliver him from those who will oppose him and his message.

Isaiah 63-64 contrasts The Bloody Warrior God and the Ever-Loving Lord. Very briefly, the bloody, gruesome and very disturbing imagery (63:1-6) suggests how seriously God regards sin. Yet He is also forever lovingly committed to his sinful people (Isa 63:7). Whitney Houston's poignant song--"I will always love you"--expresses God's sentiment toward his people. God always loves you no matter how much you might cling to your sin. If we believe this, the power of sin begins to dim and diminish in our lives. On the cross, Jesus believed that his Father always loves him, even though at the moment he was utterly forsaken (Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34). This is the majesty and mystery of the Cross. Do you believe that God loves you when you're going through an unbearable trial?

“These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word" (Isa 66:2b).

Theme: Christians often think and communicate to others that the primary distinction in the Bible is between Christians and non-Christians. But in fact the primary distinction in Scripture is not between believer and non-believer (Jew and Gentile, or Christian and non-Christian), but between a true worshiper of God and a false worshipper, between a true Jew and a false one (Rom 2:28-29), between a true Christian and a false Christian (Mt 7:21, 24, 26).

From last week's sermon (1/22/17), Isaiah emphasizes that The Goal of Salvation (Isaiah 60-62) is righteous living. From Isaiah 63 the primary emphasis is on God's power to enable his servants to live righteous lives.

Who are the enemies of the Judeans? Their own sins. Edom is no longer a problem (Isa 63:1a). They were captured by Babylon and were destroyed. They never returned. Edom doesn’t exist at this point in the return from exile. In the O.T. Edom is the symbol of the enemies of God.

So if the divine warrior is the one sent from God (Isa 63:1b-3), whose blood splatters his garment? It is his own. He became sin for our sakes (2 Cor 5:21). This warrior has symbolically become the sins of his enemies. He has become the sins of his people. In so doing it is his own blood that covers his garment (Rev 19:13).

Considering salvation, conversion, regeneration, Jesus comes as the suffering servant (Isaiah 42, 49, 50, 53). He takes the sins of the world into himself submissively and meekly. Like a lamb before it’s shearers he is dumb and silent (Isa 53:7). But when it comes to defeating sin in his people, he doesn’t come as the suffering servant. Rather, he comes as a divine warrior to destroy the power of sin in our lives (Isa 59:15-18).

It is important that we understand both pictures: 1) The suffering servant who meekly takes the sins of the world into himself and gives back love, AND 2) the divine warrior who comes to attack sin of his people; the divine warrior who destroy sin with his own blood. The cross is the answer to sins that were committed, and it is the answer to sins as a power in our lives. Only the cross is and has the power to defeat sin in our lives now. This is good news. Tragically, in the U.S. we have made it the answer to sins that were committed in the past, but which has nothing at all to say about sins that Christians commit now. This is tragic and unfortunate.