A Message given at Iglesia Cristo Vive in Cali, Colombia on Saturday, July 6, 2013.
(Photo by Dan Voll, Copyright 2013).
Do you have your Bibles? Please open with me to Isaiah 49. I am speaking on the theme, “Called Out of Darkness and Into the Light,” because that was what Jesus did for us. The world was in darkness, but the light of the world came, and tonight that light is available to every person who will believe in Him. You see, nothing about the life of Jesus was accidental. Unlike any other human being in history, the life of Jesus Christ was prophesied two thousand years before He came, fifteen hundred years before He came, a thousand years before He came and, in this passage, seven hundred and fifty years before He came.
If you don’t believe me, I will tell you a story. Years ago, I stayed overnight in the house of some orthodox Jewish friends. Now during the conversation over supper with the family, the wife had said to me, “It is fine for you believe in Jesus Christ because you are a Christian, but if my husband ever believed in Jesus, I would leave him and take the children.” That night she went to bed and the children too, and the husband said to me, “Let’s sit down and talk at the kitchen table.” From 9:15 PM to 1:15 AM in the morning, he wanted to check every prophesy he knew about Jesus Christ in the Old Testament and its fulfillment in the New Testament. There are more than three hundred prophesies in the Old Testament about every aspect of the life of Jesus. That Jewish man knew them all, except for a few, and I filled those in for him. As far as I know today, he is still a secret believer, but I am praying for him.
The life of Jesus Christ was not an accident. God planned to send His Son to a dying world before he ever created that world. You see when God made the animals, the animals just did what God made them to do. Anybody here ever have a dog? I loved all of my dogs. I would come home exhausted from work, and my dog didn’t chew me out. He would run to see me and just jump on me because he was so glad to see me. God made dogs and I love dogs. They just do what God made them to do! The real problem is with people and angels because they were both made with a free will, because God didn’t just want animals. He wanted intelligent beings who could choose to love Him and be his children forever. But there is a risk in having children. They may bless you or break your heart, and many people have broken the Heavenly Father’s heart.
When the Lord made the universe, He knew the angels would rebel, and He knew that men would rebel, too. But, because the angels had seen God, there was no forgiveness for them. They knew the truth, they saw God, and yet one third of the angels rebelled, including the devil himself. Hell was not made for man; it was made for the devil and his angels. With the help of the evil one, man also fell, but for man there is forgiveness, forgiveness that God planned from before the world began—because the Bible says that Jesus is the Lamb of God sacrificed before the world began. The world may seem like it is in chaos, and without God it would be, but our God reigns, and in Jesus Christ there is forgiveness, and life, and healing, and salvation, and that is why we are here tonight. Hallelujah to our God!
In Isaiah 49:1-10, we are overhearing a conversation between the Father and the Son, the passage prophesying regarding what the Father would do through His Son, Jesus Christ. Specifically, in verses 1 and 2, the Son is speaking of what the Father would do through Him:
Why does it say “Listen, O coastlands”? Because the salvation that the Father planned through Jesus Christ is for all the earth. What is Colombia? A coastland! You have the Caribbean Sea, and you have the Pacific Ocean! Hallelujah! The Lord is saying, “Listen, Colombia, and all the coastlands, and take heed to what I am saying.” This is Jesus speaking, “The Lord, my Father, has called Me from my mother’s womb.” Jesus only had one Father, as was prophesied in the Old Testament, and he was not a man. He was born of a woman by the power of the Holy Spirit, and His Father is the One whom we call God.
Jesus was from the beginning of time because in Genesis 1 it says, “Let us make,” not just, “I will make,” but a conversation between the Father and Son. “Let us make the sea, and the stars, and the waters, and the mountains, and the animals, and man himself.” Jesus was there at the beginning in all His power, in all His glory. Everything that was made, as the apostle John says in John 1, “was made through Him.” And yet the One who made the universe together with His Father laid down His glory, laid down His power, and was born a baby—totally exposed to the rage of man, born of a Jewish girl, with a King of Israel, Herod, trying to destroy Him. But He was not destroyed because our God reigns. “From the matrix of My mother He has made mention of My name.” The Father called the Son from the womb of Mary and made Him the salvation of the world.
“He has made my mouth like a sharp sword….” The words of Jesus Christ are the most read words in all the world today. Why? Because He is God, and people are seeking Him all over the world. “In the shadow of His hand He has hidden me….” What does that mean? He is the Son of God, and yet He was born in a little village and almost no one knew it. He did not live in a palace, He did not have a limousine, and He was not rich. He was born a poor Jewish boy. Emmanuel was what the prophet said His name would be, “God with us.” Can you imagine that? God walking with us, eating our food, suffering as we suffer hunger and thirst, and ultimately dying, not for His own sin, but for the sins of all the world.
He was born in the secret place, and called from the womb by His Father to accomplish the purposes of the Lord, and in verse 3 it says:
Israel is God’s chosen people, but whether they know it or not, they have a King and His name is Jesus. Jesus is the King of all the nations, and in Him the Father will be glorified, and in Him the Jewish people will be saved. But it wasn’t easy, because everything that Jesus did, He had to do as a man. He was God when they beat Him. He could have called legions of angels, and no human army could have withstood the power of God. But he allowed men to mock Him and to beat Him until His face was so beaten, as the prophet Isaiah prophesied, that you could not recognize Him—God become man in order to die.
No wonder verse 4 is here! This is Jesus speaking of His suffering that was to come:
Do you remember what Jesus said in the garden when He prayed before He was crucified? He wept. How could God weep? Because He has a heart like you and me, and He can feel sadness and joy. We were made in His image, and in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus was sad. He said to the Father, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” In other words, if there is any other way to fulfill the Father’s purposes other than dying on the cross, let it be. But then He spoke those words, “Nevertheless, not my will but thy will be done.”
Death by crucifixion is one of the worst deaths that any human being can suffer, but Jesus just didn’t just suffer crucifixion. He suffered shame, because the One who is God had to die as a man, never having sinned, yet He bore in His body the sin of all mankind for all of history. There are times when I am ashamed of what I do, and it is too much for me to bear, but Jesus bore all our sins and all our shame on the cross of Calvary. And here He is saying, “I have spent my strength, but my reward is with the Lord and my work is with God.” Jesus death was not make-believe. He had to die as a man, and He went into the depths of hell. For three days the Son of God was in hell, but then He rose from the dead. He rose from the dead, and He destroyed the power of sin and the power of death. Because He rose from the dead and reigns on heaven’s throne forever, we can be forgiven! Amen! Amen!
Listen to verses 5 and 6. This is the Son speaking about the work that the Father would do through Him:
Is there anyone here tonight who is Jewish? No? Then that means we are all Gentiles, members of the other nations. We need to remember that Jesus came first for the Jewish people, and we need to pray for the Jewish people because they are the brothers and sisters of our God. The love of our God for the people for Israel will never pass away. The Son of God came to earth and walked in the streets of Israel. He healed the sick, He cast out demons, He raised the dead, and He spoke the words of the Father. And yet most of Israel did not recognize who He was. The Bible says about Him when he was on the Mount of Olives, “Jesus wept,” the shortest verse in the Bible. And He also spoke these words, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how oft I would have gathered you, but you would not. And now judgment is coming upon you.”
Titus’s Arch in Rome celebrating the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
(Wikimedia Commons: URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arch_of_Titus_Menorah.png)
The Roman army was going to come and destroy the Jewish nation and destroy the House of God—until the time comes when, as Jesus said, “You recognize who I am.” And that day is coming. Jesus wept over the Jewish people, and He will come again to save the Jewish people. Thank God for what the Father said to Jesus. Thank the Lord for it! “It is not enough for you to save the Jews. I will make you a light to the nations,” a light to Colombia, and China, and Africa, and Russia, and the United States, and Europe. Jesus is the light of the world, and He loves every person in this room. He came to die and He came to save, and yet the world despises Jesus today.
Do you know what D-Day is? It was the day the American and British forces invaded Europe during the time of the Nazis, and the memorial of that day took place just recently. Ever since that time in 1944, an American military chaplain has given the prayer at the military cemeteries of Normandy in France, remembering the thousands who died, and praying in Jesus name. But this year, the order was given that, whoever that chaplain was, they could not pray in Jesus name. So five Christian chaplains said, “We will not pray,” and one courageous chaplain said, “I will pray.” And do you know what he did? He prayed in Jesus name, and they are threatening to court-martial him. The United States is a Christian nation that increasingly no longer wants Jesus Christ. The world hates the One who made it, and more and more the world is rejecting Jesus.
It is right here, prophesied in verse 7:
The world hates Jesus because the devil hates Jesus—because this world has a King, and the devil hates that. He does not want to admit that Jesus is coming. But Jesus is coming, and every knee will bow before Him—religious, agnostic, atheist, whatever. He is coming on the clouds of heaven, and every nation will see Him. Every nation shall bow because the Father has said, “Kings shall see and arise, Princes also shall worship, Because of the Lord….” Jesus is Lord, and it is our privilege to worship Him tonight. Why? Because look at verse 8! This is what God is doing through the Son. My message almost finished, but this is so important to understand, because this is the true history of the world, from the beginning of time until our God reigns forever.
This is the Father speaking to the Son, and we are overhearing the conversation:
Jesus is coming to restore the earth. When He reigns, there will be no more wars. There will be no more suffering. Even the United Nations has a prophesy about Jesus written in stone in front of their building, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks….” That day is coming when Jesus reigns. Death itself will die. He is coming to restore the earth, and to make things what they were meant to be from the beginning of time.
I am going to close with verse 9, because this is the part that touches us personally tonight:
Only Jesus can save. No one is righteous before God. We have all sinned, and we are all worthy of hell. Nothing we can do can change that, but because Jesus is God and yet died as a man for your sin and for my sin, we can live forever. We can have part in the Eternal Kingdom, a Kingdom that will never end. No more war, no more death, no more sickness, no more abandoned children, no more abused wives, no more poverty, because the light of our God will fill this universe, and the devil will be no more. But that is not just for some future day, that is the word of God tonight because some of you were prisoners. You were caught in sin. You may be slaves to alcohol. You may be a slave of anger. You may be a slave of lust. You may be a slave of unforgiveness, because there is someone you cannot forgive. But Jesus is saying to you tonight, “Go forth! You were in prison, but I have broken down the doors and now you can go free.”
He is the one who says to those who are in darkness, “Show yourselves!” Those are beautiful words. Why? Because do you know what they mean? We all pretend before people to be somebody we are not, but we can’t do that with God because He knows us too well. He knows our thoughts, He knows the number of the hairs on our heads, and we cannot hide from Him. The Lord says to us, “Broken soul, needy heart, sinner, show yourself just as you are. Come to me!” This is what Jesus is saying to you tonight. Are you living in darkness? “Come into the light, because I didn’t come to condemn you. I came to wash all your sins away, and to forgive you, and to give you a life you have never known.”
Gonzalo Hernandez and Chris White on stage (Photo by Dan Voll, Copyright 2013).
When I was 12, I was ready to kill myself, but God did not allow it to happen. Then Jesus came in when I was 14, and I danced, and I sang, and I worshiped the Lord because I was forgiven. It is a gift! “The wages of sin is death.” We earn death, we earn hell, but Jesus paid the price. You have a debt that you cannot pay. Every person here tonight has a debt to God that they cannot pay, but Jesus came along and He stamped over that debt, “Cancelled,” because He paid what we owed. Will you receive it? That is the question tonight. God has done everything for you. The Father has given the best that He had, His beloved Son, that you might be forgiven and live forever. God can do all things, but there is one thing He will not do. He will not decide for you. He is inviting you tonight to come and receive forgiveness and life, but your life is in your hands. Will you choose Jesus and choose life? Or will you continue in your sin and your self-righteousness and enter into hell? No one will enter heaven except through Jesus Christ. But the door is wide open because Jesus is here tonight and He is calling to you….
Christopher N. White ©2014. (Message given at Iglesia Cristo Vive in Cali, Colombia, Saturday, July 6, 2013.)
All Bible references are from The New King James Version (NKJV), Thomas Nelson, Inc.: Miami, Florida, 1982.