April 30th 2023: Gareth Evans

To watch this service, click on the link to our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/930h1aAZaA4

Isaiah 55

Have you ever been to a busy market place where vendors are shouting at you to buy their wares? They may have a roll of fake goods. In a sense we see here the voice of God calling people to come to buy from Him, through grace, the way of salvation. From this passage of scripture we can learn four things:

  1. Verses 1-3, 6-7: Come. There is an urgent invitation. God is telling us what we must do in order to come to Him. God is summoning us to come to Him. The Almighty God is calling little me to come to Him. God is going to summon us to come back to Him.
  2. Verses 2-5, 7: A precious promise. This is a picture of what God does for unbelievers. God will satisfy our hunger for Him. There is a promise of free and wonderful salvation. 700 years before Christ, He is already talking of the promise of the gospel.
  3. Verses 10-11: The method God uses when reaching out. He will do this by the preaching of the Word.
  4. Verses 12-13: The glorious destiny. There will be a wonderful glory, a momentous event when God’s people are joined to be with Him.

  1. An Urgent Invitation

Isaiah the prophet speaks the Word of God. You can’t think of any richer food than wine or milk. There is nothing richer in God’s gospel, the promise of eternal life. There is a three-fold repetition – come, come, come. You must come. It’s not a suggestion, it’s a command. ‘Incline your ear’ make sure you are hearing properly. Lean forward because your life depends on this message of the gospel. God is speaking to us.

The price for the goods has already been paid. He is concerned for our eternal welfare. All of this urgency is shaped by you and I coming to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, repenting of sins and believing and trusting in Him. The problem God is addressing, why it’s so urgent, is to be seen in verse 2,

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.”

Don’t waste your life on things that don’t matter. In our brevity of life be prepared to meet with God. Unless you come in God’s way to God, you’ll shatter your soul’s health. Don’t pour your time into things that don’t matter; it can’t satisfy you or save you. Isaiah is challenging us to think of the end of life in this world, for us to prepare to meet with God.

It’s a free offer,

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.”
(Isaiah 55:1)

It’s an interesting call – you don’t have to pay for it, it’s not ours to pay. Your poverty of soul you bring to Christ, knowing He has paid the price already. The gospel is not free, pardon is not free. In the Lord Jesus Christ, God has already paid the price at the cross in the suffering of His Son (Isaiah 53). He has purchased it by His own blood. It is free for us today because it has cost Him everything. Philippians 2 is a wonderful hymn of praise. The gospel offers satisfaction for us today. People live as in the days of Noah, but one day God will call time on the world and then we’ll answer to God. Come to Him. Come to Jesus Christ for a heart renewed, in order to be united with God through Him.

It’s also an universal offer, “Come, everyone who thirsts … he who has no money. Who is invited to come? All who are thirsty, who have no money. In other words, you come to the point where you’re bereft of any other method of saving yourself or finding yourself at peace with God. You’ve failed to find another way. You realise that in your sins you are without hope, you realise you’re lost. Come as you are, recognising your needs.

  • A Precious Promise.

There’s a precious promise in verse 2,

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
    and your labour for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
    and delight yourselves in rich food.”

You’ve recognised Him as the only way. The promise of life to us has been bought and paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ. He has the authority to give eternal life to those who come to Him. Think of these words. Just come. Don’t be held back by your guilt from the past. The only way to rid yourself of that guilt is to come to the Lord Jesus Christ. Get yourself to Jesus today. He will abundantly pardon those who come to Him. Why delay the loving heart of Christ?

  • A Wonderful Method.

God uses a wonderful method,

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
(Isaiah 55:10-11).

The whole of verse 10 is taken up with an illustration so we can understand verse 11. This book, what do you think of it? Paul, in speaking to Timothy says that the Word of God is useful for all things “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, (2 Timothy 3:16). It is primarily through the Word of God that people are transformed. The promise of mercy, the promise of a pardon, the promise of salvation will never fail to bring a harvest. That’s the promise of God.

Listen to the public Word of God, to the Word being preached. Come prepared; ask the Lord to make the most of everything the preacher says. Come to respond. Be serious about being a pleaser of God. You want your life to be an act of worship to God. The way of God is the voice of Jesus Christ. He speaks. Listening to His voice new life the dead receive.

  • A Glorious Destiny.

There’s a glorious destiny for the Christian,

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

12 “For you shall go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
    shall break forth into singing,
    and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

(Isaiah 55:11-13)

It maybe you have been wandering away and He is calling you back. The joy that you taste here when you read the gospel, when this world come to an end, all things will forever be correct and right – as God intended from the beginning. The curse that fell on the world because of the Fall (Genesis 3), will one day be undone,

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
    instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the Lord,
    an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

(Isaiah 55:13)

The one who became a curse for us on the cross will have made His blessings flow. The curse will be eliminated entirely. “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3). Here, we have a foretaste of heaven: a new creation, a new forever home. It is a wonderful thought. Who would not want that? Who can reject the love of Jesus Christ in light of all He has promised? Jesus Christ continues to offer the urgent invitation, hope of glory. This is the gospel age – salvation offered to all. Will you answer, will you respond to this urgent invitation, this precious promise? Will you trust it, because at the end of it all, there’s a glorious destiny for the Christian? Will you inherit eternal life by coming to God, by responding to His gracious invitation?

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
    come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without price.”
(Isaiah 55:1)

September 11th 2022: Dave Evans

To watch this service, click in the link to our YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/rx4-7oOjuKk

Psalm 90: The Eternity of God, the Brevity of Man

This is the only psalm we have written by Moses. We have no idea of the context; possibly Moses was contemplating the death of Aaron or Miriam or his own departure. It is a description on the brevity of life.

At the outset, in verses 3-6, Moses is reminding us of how God made us (Genesis 2:7). In describing the brevity of life, Moses uses some vivid picture. In verse 5 he says, “You sweep them away as with a flood.” It is like a tsunami. He goes on, “they are like a dream.” A dream can seem so real, then we awake and in a moment it’s all vanished. Thirdly, Moses speaks of the brevity of life being, “like grass that is renewed in the morning,” a familiar description for those who live in dry, arid lands. The ground can seem so barren, then the rain comes, and a swathe of green appears. But if there is no more rain, the sun rises and quickly burns it off, and the ground it back to where it was before.

Moses says this is what life is like and yet that is not seemingly our experience. We say, as we get older, that time goes faster. We also speak of a life cut short as a shock, a sadness, a surprise. Growing up in the 1950s seems a different era. We can have a long service in church. When the Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, everything was about how long she had served. Now, after her passing this week, we remember her long life of service. Why then does Moses write in this way?

Moses surrounds these words with great truths, which brings these words into focus.

“Before the mountains were brought forth,
    or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

Psalm 90:2

These words confront us with the great difference between ourselves and God. The Sovereign, ruler of all things, above all created things, made all things. He has all power and all authority. Greater still, we are reminded this sovereign Lord is the only uncreated being. Before creation, He existed. There is no moment when He was not. The Triune God is the eternal, ever-present God. He needs no help, no support. The power to exist is in Him. At times, you can be overwhelmed the universe we live in, it’s vast size. How small we are. The universe is almost beyond our comprehension, yet it is nothing compared to God. It has a beginning and an end, but God is beyond the vastness of the universe, beyond time itself,

“For a thousand years in your sight
    are but as yesterday when it is past,
    or as a watch in the night.

Psalm 90:4

God is beyond all the constraints of time that we know. Who can grasp it? It’s far beyond human comprehension. He is the self-existent one. In God is the source of all other being. Without God, nothing exists. Moses, perhaps like no other man that has walked this earth, apart from Christ, had such a great sense of God’s greatness and God’s majesty. He saw something of that glory on Mount Sinai, when God met with him, face to face.

Moses writes these words in the light of the great truths of the God we worship, in the one who is from everlasting to everlasting. Moses reminds us that our lives are so frail, so quickly passed, but a vapour, a dream by comparison.

Moses’ contemplations don’t end there. He continues, verses 7-11, with a more fearful comparison – man’s sin and God’s wrath. Moses, author of Genesis, was given that inspiration of God, to record creation and Man’s Fall in the Garden of Eden. When Moses writes these words, he writes them with the full knowledge of Man’s fallenness and the curse of God upon sin (Genesis 3). Moses sees here all the consequences of Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden. Paul writes, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). This is the tragedy of mankind; lives are lived fully exposed, in all this rebellion, under the wrath of a holy God.

Had sin not entered the world, Adam and Eve would have lived curse free, joy-filled lives. But because of sin our lives now, as the psalmist tells us here, have been deeply affected.

“For all our days passed away in Your wrath;
We finish our years like a sigh.
The days of lur lives are seventy years;
and if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labour and sorrow;
For it is cut off, and we fly away.”

Psalm 90:9-10

The New Testament reminds us it is appointed unto men to die once, and after that, God’s judgement. Our years are filled with sorrow and trial. Moses comes to this solemn question,

“Who considers the power of your anger,
    and your wrath according to the fear of you?”
Psalm 90:11

By nature, we don’t live in the light of the God’s anger, in the light of the fact that God is angry with sin and will punish it. The brevity of our lives becomes all the more serious when we realise that though our bodies are made of dust and will return to dust, God has breathed into us a living soul. Our soul had a beginning but it will never have an end. We have to give an account to the God of whom we have sinned against. In the light of these truths, we come finally to the enigma.The enigma, the puzzle of this psalm is found in verse 1,

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    in all generations.”

How can this be? Moses is not just saying about God as our creator; he is declaring more than that. God has been our refuge in all generations. How can this God, who is angry with our sin, be our refuge?

In verses 12-17 Moses offers various petitions to God.

“So teach us to number our days
    that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 90:12

A heart of wisdom comes by hearing God’s words and the answer to our deepest needs and problems. True wisdom teaches us to see ourselves and the brevity of our lives as God sees it. Who knows what a day will bring forth? The Queen welcomed a new Prime Minister on Tuesday, yet she was gone on Thursday. It was unexpected. We all need to number our days. The only way we can do that is to live this day as the last, as the day we are going to meet God.

The wisdom of God teaches us to look away from ourselves,

“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love,
    that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”

Psalm 90:14

It is the love of God we need to look to. We find the fullness of this, His unfailing love, has been displayed in the steadfast love He had in sending His Son into the world. Who can grasp what this means? Jesus Christ came to dwell amongst men and take on a human body. Our God came down into this world and walked amongst men. How can the eternal God come down? Yet, He did. Paul tells us,

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,

    vindicatedby the Spirit,
        seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
        taken up in glory.”

1 Timothy 3:16

When we speak of Christmas, we speak of this great mystery of godliness. God was manifest in the flesh. The Lord of glory took the frailty of our human flesh and He lived amongst us, yet free from sin. He was the only One who didn’t deserve God’s judgement, to deserve the results of the curse and the fall. He was the One who came and stood in our place, the One who became a curse for us, to bear our sin, to suffer God’s wrath in our place.

Here alone is the answer to this puzzle. Where is that refuge in God? Where is that dwelling place for every believer? It is in Jesus Christ. It is in faith in Him. In Him we find this refuge from the storm. We discover Him to be the rock of ages. In Him we have a welcome from God, our Father and the promise of eternal security. This eternal security will last as long as God lasts. God is eternal, so our security is eternal.  

In all generations He has been our dwelling place – past, present and future. Here is the promise of eternal life. In Christ we are anchored in God, safe from all the turmoil of life, until that everlasting home is gained in heaven.

The Old Testament patriarchs believed it (Hebrews 11). Paul proclaimed it,

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer selfis wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

But it was the Lord Jesus Christ who obtained it, “I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1)

So, the question is, ‘Do you have a heart of wisdom?’ Have you seen your life in the light of God’s eternity and God’s holiness? Have you looked away from yourself to that eternal refuge, which is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ? What fills your desires and your prayers?

The psalm ends with a series of prayers.

Return, O Lord! How long?
    Have pity on your servants!

Psalm 90:13

Do you long daily for a deeper experience of that love? Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” (Psalm 90:14). Are your prayers filled with great ambition? As Christians, we should be ambitious, “Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children.” (Psalm 90:14). It is your ambition that this generation and the next generation, and the generation after, will know God’s word, will see God’s power poured out? “Let the favour of the beauty of our God be upon us.” Do you daily wake and long to be more like your Saviour? Do you long that the beauty of your Saviour might be more and more reflected in your life?

Finally, not that you will be praised by generations, but do you long that your life will be such a life that the church of God will be benefited, that your life will have established something for the people of God? “Establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (Psalm 90:17b).

We’ve gone through a week of great change, but we are reminded our God is unchanging. Because of that, we are reminded that the gospel is unchanging. The gospel today is the same as it was in Paul’s days, and the same as it will be until that great day when Christ returns. The offer today, our Saviour says, is “Come unto me, all who labour and are heavy-laden. And I will give you rest.