December 22, 2019 Sermon Notes and Slides
The Comfort of the Savior
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Overview: The book of Isaiah is traditionally divided into two main sections, chapters 1-39 and 40-66, reflecting pre- and post-exilic settings. This is an appropriate division based on historic and thematic clues from the text, but it can be carried too far by those who deny the prophetic element in Isaiah’s message. In short, our thoughts about God matter because what we believe about God will determine how we respond to God. The people in Isaiah’s day needed to have their thoughts about God corrected as well. Prior to the exile, they believed that forming an alliance with a foreign power was more strategic than placing their trust in God. They therefore ignored the Word of God spoken by His prophet and they suffered the consequences of their idolatry. In order to ensure that their thoughts would not harden against God during the exile, Isaiah informed them that their undesirable situation was not God’s final word. God would forgive their sins, keep His promises, demonstrate His power and strengthen His people in due time.
01. For those who believe God is angry and will never forgive you, take comfort in knowing that God is merciful and gracious to all who cry out to him.
02. For those who believe God is silent and will never speak to you, take heart in knowing that God’s word is eternal and accessible to all who read it.
03. For those who believe God is busy and will never care for you, take time to consider how God’s work in the world points to His love for His people.
04. For those who believe God is distant and will never notice you, take this opportunity to ask God how He might use you to serve Him and His people.
Questions for Discussion and Discovery
1. Share an experience about how your thoughts gave you the wrong impression about something or someone. What made you think the way that you did? What corrected your way of thinking?
2. What are some wrong thoughts people have about God? Do any of the application points summarize your thoughts about God? Comment on the following: “Our wrong thoughts about God do not change God, but they do change our response to God.”
3. On what basis can we say that the Bible corrects our wrong thoughts about God? How do the doctrines of revelation and inspiration contribute to our certainty that God has spoken, and the Bible is an accurate record of His self-disclosure?
4. Many of our favorite verses come from this chapter. Do you have a favorite verse from this chapter? If so, explain why this verse means so much to you.
5. What can we learn about God and His attributes through this chapter? For example, Isaiah 40:1 tells us that God is merciful, and Isaiah 40:14 tells us that God is omniscient. What other attributes can you find? How does our understanding of these attributes help to correct our wrong thoughts about God?
For Further Reading: J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1973; 20th Anniversary Edition, 1993).