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A Beacon of Light (Isaiah 40:1-11)

Sermon on 24 October 2021 by Pastor Justin

We should live a life as a forerunner for Christ.

Luke 1:17 - “He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.””

John the Baptist’s ministry was always pointing to Jesus Christ. May our life be like John the Baptist’s, as a forerunner for people to believe in Him. In everything we do, we want to point it to Jesus.

Isaiah 40:1-11 - ““Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned. Yes, the Lord has punished her twice over for all her sins.” Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. The Lord has spoken!” A voice said, “Shout!” I asked, “What should I shout?” “Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field. The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord. And so it is with people. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, “Your God is coming!” Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”

This portion of the scripture introduces the forerunner. John the Baptist has been prophesied for centuries in the Old Testament. We want to learn to understand his works so that we can live a life as a beacon of light. The ministry of John the Baptist focuses on Jesus and that is our calling as well, to be a fisher of men and to always live pointed to Him. He is our sovereign God and we want to be reminded to have a purposeful life and be intentional in doing so.

John the Baptist is the cousin of Jesus. He was born 6 months before Jesus and his public ministry lasted about 2 years before he was murdered in Matthew 14. The message of his ministry is very simple. He is a very important character in the Bible. He is very important to God’s plan. In Malachi, it talked about him. In the first book of the New Testament, it referenced John the Baptist too. Jesus himself said that John the Baptist was the greatest man that was born of a woman.

Luke 7:28 - “I tell you, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is!””

There is no greater man on Earth that is better than him. In the secular world, we like to collect testimonies written by others to demonstrate their credentials. However, no testimony can be of the level like in the Bible, like how Jesus talked about John the Baptist. John the Baptist’s ministry is life pointed to Jesus. He is the forerunner, who is the one that goes before and is somewhere who is there to lay the path for Jesus. He preached in the wilderness of Judea. His message is about repentance. This repentance that he preached is not when we ask someone to change their bad habits or change their mind over something. It is a radical change to turn away from sin with their life proving the works they do to turn away from sin. They will do whatever it takes to repent. When he preached in the wilderness of Judea, he said repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, in Matthew 3:2.

John 1:14 - “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”

Pointers for today:

1. Covenantal Relationship

This is the relationship we have with God. You are called into a covenant destiny. You have this commitment to lay the path straight for others to believe in Jesus. This is our calling. God said that we are His sons and daughters.

Isaiah 40:1 - ““Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.”

We are not ourselves. We didn’t make ourselves. God made us. All things are made through Him and for Him. Nothing was made without Him.

John 1:3 - “God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.”

We are His sheep, the sheep of His pastures. The Kingdom of God is within us. The King rules in us. You are a citizen in heaven. You are the child of the most high God. You come under His sovereign rules. He rules in you. As you operate in the Holy Spirit as the child of the most high God, you know that you serve the King who rules in your heart. When the Kingdom comes again, we will see it physically. Now, it comes with observations. Everyday, I am coming to the King to obey Him. We must express our allegiance, fear and honour to Him. We need to hold our stand as a beacon of light. We cannot be the light to someone else if there’s no fear of God in us. God wants His will to be done on Earth if we do His will.

Psalms 100:3 - “Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.”

Matthew 6:9-10 - “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”

Luke 17:21 - “You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.””

Establish His Kingdom, do His will and demonstrate the covenant relationship with Him. You will see the power of God so mightily.

2. Calling for repentance

We are called to get others to repent too. We need to live out our lives demonstrating that we are genuinely repenting over our sins.

Acts 26:20 - “I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God—and prove they have changed by the good things they do.”

Do everything befitting your repentance. If we still live a life with our bad habits, we only repent verbally. Being a beacon of light is not just for a specific event, but for every moment. Everyone is watching you. You are a city built on the hilltop. We are a light on a lamp stand. Many Christians still don’t want to lead a life being a forerunner of Christ. They are not careful with their living. We want to treasure our days to do what He wants us to do and to not go back to our old ways of living because we are a born again Christian. We can tell other people to repent and prepare pre-believers to believe. We can sow seeds for someone else to reap.

Isaiah 40:3 - “Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!”

We do whatever it takes to prove our repentance.

3. Complete reliability and stability

Be completely reliable and stable. We must be so stable in our lives that we won’t be influenced by what we see, hear or read. Our authority is in the Bible. When we are always worrying and exaggerating, we are not reliable. If our emotions are always on a rollercoaster and worrying about the future, we are not reliable. Stop living in the past and worrying about the future. Let your mind be focused on the things you can do now to glorify God. If we continue to follow in faith, your whole path will be lit up. We can’t see the future but our future is in the hands of the Lord. We want to focus on what He wants us to do now. Don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring its own worries.

Isaiah 40:7-8 - “The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord. And so it is with people. The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.””

The flesh is like grass. The glory and successes are like flowers on grass. Imagine the grass withers and the flowers fall. However, there is only one thing that is certain and eternal - the Bible. It stands forever. We stand firmly on His word for His word stands forever.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”

When you read the word for yourself, you are able to stand firm and won’t be swaying left and right. You will be equipped to do the good works and people can see the light of God in you. You can illuminate others towards the glory of God. We are the children of the most high God.

4. Coming of Victorious Lord

We are to proclaim the coming of our victorious Lord. We have overcome the world by our faith. We already have victory. Our Lord has overcome death. We have the victory in God because of Christ Jesus. The more you give thanks, the more content you will be. (Ref to the 7 letters in Revelations) In every letter that Jesus wrote, it ends with an exhortation to be an overcomer. Victory over sin. Let us continue to be an overcomer as we live our lives as forerunners of Jesus Christ. Let us show others that we have a victorious master. God has given us victory in Christ Jesus. The world needs people to inspire others. There is no better hope than the eternal hope, in the Bible. Let us not focus on the current situation. It is easy for us to sway and go to a different path so recalibrate everyday. We are chosen. Let’s be a radical disciple.

1 Corinthians 15:57 - “But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


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