JESUS CHRIST IS OUR
A SERMON DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
30 NOVEMBER 1997
Isaiah 9:6; 28:23-29
There is an amazing thing about our relationship with God; no matter what is right or wrong in our lives, no matter what problems we may have, or decisions to make, we can always turn to Him for help and advice.
And we are assured by Isaiah that Jesus Christ is our Wonderful Counselor, so if we only seek His help in times of trouble, we are missing most of what He can do for us.
He can keep us out of trouble in the first place; that is, if we seek His advise at all times.
A counselor is someone we can talk to about anything, and at any time.
A counselor is there to help us make decisions.
A counselor helps us confirm our own ideas and directions for our lives.
A counselor is also there to help get us back on track, when we have lost our proper direction.
And Jesus Christ is our Wonderful Counselor; He doesn't make mistakes like the rest of us.
His advice is always right on.
Isaiah gives us a very good piece of wisdom in 28:23-29, and he gives it to us in a manner that is devised to make us think for ourselves.
23. Give ear and hear my voice,
Listen and hear my words.
24. Does the farmer plow continually to plant seed?
Does he continually turn and harrow the ground?
Well, does a farmer do this?
Does a farmer continually plow from early spring until late fall?
Of course he doesn't, or there would never be any crop.
This is simple common sense; yet all too often, we fail to use this God given common sense.
Think about this as we return to Isaiah's example of the farmer.
25. Does he not level its surface,
And sow dill and scatter cumin,
And plant wheat in rows,
Barley in its place, and rye within its area?
Sometimes we complicate things in our lives too much.
We always are plowing things up.
We never stop long enough to level the surface, and to plant seed.
And we have to be even more patient with the things in our lives, or we will never get the results we desire, just as the farmer must wait for the crops to mature.
This is simple wisdom.
But where does this wisdom come from?
26. For his God instructs and teaches him properly.
And wisdom can not stop here, for we have not harvested our crop, or completed the work, or resolved the issues set before us.
And the method we use in our harvesting and preparing our work for its final objective also requires wisdom.
It is all too easy to work hard at something, and then fail in the end.
The way we complete our work is just as important as the way we start.
Note how Isaiah explains this.
27. For dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,
Nor is the cartwheel driven over cumin;
But dill is beaten out with a rod, and cumin with a club.
Too much force, too much zeal, can all too often ruin what we have spent a long time trying to bring to fruition.
As an example, this is what happened in the Right-to-Life movement.
A few over-zealous, and misdirected individuals resorted to violent acts including bombings and murder.
Their acts turned off the very public and political officials the movement was trying to reach, and labeled the entire movement as being terrorist, even if it wasn't.
We need to learn how to be gentle when it is needed.
And we need to know how to apply the proper amount of force or effort when more is needed.
But at the same time, we need to understand when it's time to stop.
28. Grain for bread is crushed,
Indeed, he does not continue to thresh it forever.
Because the wheel of his cart and his horses eventually damage it,
He does not thresh it longer.
29. This also comes from the Lord of hosts,
Who has made His counsel wonderful and His wisdom great.
Think of this as an example of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
We have plowed up the perfect and holy and righteous garden of Eden, that the Lord created us to be part of, and in its place, we planted all sorts of evil.
And instead of replowing the fields of our lives, and beseeching the Lord to replant His holiness and righteousness in and around us, we fight among ourselves, ruining our own lives even more.
Instead of doing our best to correct the problems that we see, and those in our own lives, we waste our time blaming and fighting with each other.
Jesus Christ's death upon the cross, provided us with the perfect way to uproot the evil from our lives, once for all times, and to once again plant in ourselves the perfect garden.
Our problem is that we don't fully accept the forgiveness that the Lord has given us, and we fail to accept the forgiveness He has given to others.
So we continue to make our own lives miserable, or at least not fully productive, for we continue to cultivate the evil.
We continue to carry around with us the burdens of this world, that the Lord had pleaded with us to give to Him, just as He tells us in Matthew 11:28-30.
28. "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
29. "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.
30. "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."
Did you ever see in a movie the scene of a poor farm couple plowing their field, where the man was pulling the plow while the women was pushing the plow.
It must have been back breaking work, and they must have been extremely weary from all their efforts.
What Jesus is telling us here, is that He will do all the heaving plowing in our lives, if we let Him.
He will even do some of the planting with us, and help us harvest the good works we have done together.
The burdens we carry are because of the pride in our lives.
We simple don't seem to want to get rid of them.
And many of us carry them around with us, as a way of trying to get others to feel sorry for them, as if to say, "See how important I am. See the great quantity of cares and worries I am forced to carry around with me."
We may not recognize this condition in ourselves, but this is being prideful.
We usually think of pride as only showing off our good things, but pride is the showing off of anything, whether good or bad.
Jesus Christ has freed us from all this; that is, if we're willing to accept His method of freedom.
Every time I hear myself or someone else say, "Look at all I have to do. I don't have time to do anything else. Can't you see all the problems I have to solve. I'm too worried about this to do anything else.", I recognize this as the pride of the importance of being heavy-ladened.
And these are also the same excuses that many people give for not spending time with the Lord.
I recognize these things not as burdens, but as a reminder of what the Lord has given us.
I recognize this as a reminder of how easy the Lord can make our lives, by removing our heavy loads.
And we all need to recognize these simple truths.
We have a Wonderful Counselor, Jesus Christ, who ministers to us through His Holy Spirit.
We can talk to Him every moment of every day about anything we encounter in our daily activities.
He always gives us the right advice.
And He never tires of listening to us; that is, if we learn to heed His advice.
What the Lord tires of is when we don't want to take His advice, and then keep asking Him to change His mind and give us what we want.
Sometimes, we don't want to hear the Lord tell us, "No!"
And other times we may not want to hear the Lord tell us to be patient.
The Lord knows what is best for us, and He is trying to preserve our lives for the day of His return.
He want's us to be ready.
And His return is not that far away.
My hope and prayer is that we all remember this, just as the lighting of the Advent candles are a reminder of who the Lord is, and of His first and second comings.
Thus, the Advent wreath will hopefully be in our minds as just another reminder, but even more than this, the wisdom we are given in our Bibles.
That we would always see the light of His wisdom, and His presence as our Wonderful Counselor.
And that we would always remember and desire to consult with Him, now and forever.
Your Comments are welcome
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