Sunday, August 26, 2012

“God’s Mighty Wonders” (Isaiah 29:13-14)

S-1334 13SAP/3B 8/26/12 Hymns: (O) #41; (S) #76; L.S. #262; 307; 261; (C) #53

Text: Isaiah 29:11-19; Ephesians 5:22-33; Mark 7:1-3

Theme: “God’s Mighty Wonders” (Isaiah 29:13-14)

Question: “What are some wonderful things you have seen?” Armour, SD.

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text is from the O.T. lesson: “And the Lord said: ‘Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment taught by men, therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden’” (Isaiah 29:13-14).

You who are wonderfully and fearfully created in the image of Him who is a loving and wonderful God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; there are times when we have been at Dakota Fest, the State Fair or craft show and saw beautiful hand-crafted items.

As we walk from one booth to another, we marvel at the craftsmanship of people in creating such lovely and wonderful pieces. Some of these are made out of wood, metal, ceramic and fabric. As we hold these items and look at them intently, we say, “Wow what lovely, beautiful and wonderful things these are!”

Today, by the Spirit’s power, we have been brought not to Dakota Fest, the State Fair or a craft show, but to the house of God. Today, Isaiah, the prophet of God, speaks about the many wonderful things our loving God promises to do to His people of old and to us.

Often times we marvel at the technological advances we have reached. We are amazed at the abilities of doctors to perform the most delicate transplant surgeries—of heart, liver, kidney and others. We are impressed by the gift of engineers that can build planes, space crafts, and submarines that go where no one has gone before, and build bridges that span over 100 miles (Danyang–Kunshan Grand Bridge).

But today, we are not here to speak of man’s wonder because they pale in comparison to the Mighty Wonders of God that Isaiah speaks about. Today, Isaiah is sharing with you the Only God who is mighty, and does many wonderful things that we can’t fathom. This is done to strengthen your faith and exhorts you to live as His wonderfully created and redeemed children.

Here are some events that show the Mighty wonders of our Awesome God. We see His mighty wonders when He goes seeking and searching for Adam and Eve after falling from His grace. We see His mighty wonders in granting an elderly 91 year old woman to conceive and bear a son. We see His mighty wonders as He separated the waters of the Red Sea before the Israelites who walked on dry ground so they could escape Pharaoh’s army. We see His mighty wonders as He provided food, water, shelter, protection and all that Israel needed for 40 years in the wilderness. We see His mighty wonders when He stopped the sun for a day so Joshua (10:13) can win the war. We see His mighty wonders as the Lord uses Elijah to minister to the Widow of Zarephath, so that the jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth (1 Kings 17:14). We see the Lord’s mighty wonders as He uses Elisha to change the bitter waters of Jericho by putting salt into it and was made sweet and brought forth healing. (2 Kings 2:18-22). PAUSE.

These are all wonderful deeds that our Mighty God has done. But did you know that He still does mighty wonders even today? This past Monday and Tuesday, I was at the District Office for the New Pastors’ Orientation meeting. While we were going around introducing ourselves, one pastor said this: “I used to be a Pagan. Didn’t worship God at all nor believed in Him. However, I was on a debate team. My coach happened to be a pastor. One day he invited me to come to Bible study in his church and I accepted. I thought if I could debate any subject, I could debate the Divinity of Christ. I attended the Bible study and was about to leave when a young lady asked me “Why don’t you stay for the worship service?” I did stay and for the first time heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With the help of the young lady (who eventually became my wife) I started attending church and eventually became a pastor in our BELOVED District” (South Dakota). This is indeed a mighty wonder of God in the life of a pagan who became a preacher of Jesus Christ.

Again, we see His mighty wonders as He uses His servants as they proclaim the Word to sinners. A pastor in the northern part of SD was called by one of his members to visit an 84 year old man in the hospital who is not a member of the congregation. The pastor gladly did and visited with the elderly man. In due time, the pastor proclaimed the Gospel of Christ Jesus and the man asked to be baptized into the faith and eventually confirmed. One day, as this pastor was visiting him, the elderly person said, “Pastor, why didn’t anyone tell me sooner about this awesome God?”

I don’t know the answer to why people don’t speak of the mighty wonders of our awesome God. I do know, however, that we don’t speak enough of what He has done and continues to do even today. If only we take the time to share the amazing things our Savior has done for us with others, we would see more of His amazing wonders as evident with the two stories shared with you—a pagan becomes a believer and an elderly man before he dies bows the knee before the Lord Almighty. PAUSE.

As great as all of these wonderful events, they pale in comparison to the mighty wonders of God who in time sent His ONLY Son to earth to be born of a woman, under the Law to fulfill the Law of God in our stead. The wonder is that Jesus would be willing to humble Himself to be born in a stable. The wonder is that Jesus would grow up to walk faithfully before His Father and observe all of His decrees. The wonder is that Jesus would demonstrate His Divinity by acts of mercy and compassion. The wonder is that Jesus would allow people to abuse Him, shame Him and mock Him; by stripping Him naked and crucifying to death on a cross, for a pagan, an 84 year old man, you and me.

The wonder is that Jesus would even today come to us who more often than not worship Him only with our lips, but NOT with our hearts. The wonder is that Jesus would even today, come to us as the sin-destroyer and sin-remover of God’s wrath and hell’s punishment through His death on Calvary’s cross.

The wonder is that Jesus would even now come to bless us and show us His mighty wonders in forgiving us our sins, giving us His body and blood to yet again, use His mighty power to destroy the sins that cling to us and drown them in the heart of the sea—that is Holy Baptism. The wonder is that Jesus still seeks after people just like us, as He did in the Garden of Eden when He sought out Adam and Eve. And when He seeks…He finds.

Certainly, there are many amazing and wonderful creations in our world. But they ALL pale in comparison to the wonder of a loving, holy, gracious God who loves the sinner—you and me and would be willing to die and rise for them.

No wonder, Isaiah speaks so beautifully of what our Almighty God would do to the Israelites and us “I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder.” See this wonder yet again today beloved. The Lord puts it before you. Freely eat. Freely Drink. Freely bask in His grace. Then freely share! Share the Wonderful deeds He has done for the world and for YOU! To Him be the glory forever Amen.

Now the peace…


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