Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Christ revealed in the mystery of the incarnation

Notes (not verbatim) of a sermon preached by one of the ministers on Isaiah 49 v1-5: 

'Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. 2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; 3 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. 4 Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God. 5 And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength'.

The incarnation is a great mystery. 'A body has thou prepared for me' said Christ. The body implies to that a soul was prepared as there is no human nature without both. The father and the Holy Spirit had their role in the incarnation but so did the Son Himself. He 'assumed' human nature.

The angel Gabriel announced the pending birth to Mary. (Gabriel tended to be the angel involved with events leading up to redemption, the angel Michael with warfare) Mary beleived what she was told. This must surely rank as one of the greatest exercises of faith in human history.

We don't know what conciousness Christ had while in the womb but some light is shed by the fact John the Baptist leapt in his mother's womb when Christ had been conceived. No means were used in that calling of Christ from the womb, or Jeremiah's. God can use means and is above means.

Christ was eight days alive on the earth before being circumcised and named. He whose name is above every name, had no name for eight days -- this was part of His humiliation here one arth.

The passage refers to a sword. This is His word. The sword has two sides -- one to wound, and the other to heal by repentance. Words are used. Men distort language by using foul language. This is becoming prevalent in our day and in the media. Sometimes the first words people want to learn in a foreign language are the swear words -- that is human nature. Words that corrupt and scarify the conscience. But Christ's word heals. Adam heard this sword and its words in the garden of Eden. The first word it said was 'Where' -- it wasn't 'Adam, where art thou', but 'Where art thou, Adam'. Where are you spiritually? Adam left the garden of Eden having been taught that sin was to be taken away by the blood of sacrifice; he had a shdow of this in the animal killed to provide skins to cover him and Eve.

The 'polished shaft' is an arrow. It is polished so it doesn't catch on the bow-string. Ahab was killed by an arow shot from a bow drawn at venture. An enemy soldier fired an arrow at random above the Israelites and depspite his armour and disguise, it hit the king Ahab between the joint of his armour. Thar arrow was killing him all day. The enemy archer might never have learned that he killed King Ahab. So, the preachers of the gospel sometimes don't know when a sermon has been blessed to some soul - and that's good, the glory should be the Lord's.

There is a thorn in Africa, with barbs. It can pierce the hide of a rhinoceros. It gradually travels into the flesh. It can take weeks or months but often it will reach a vital organ and cause death. So, the word of God can be like that, killing the resistance there is in the natural heart to Himself. The natural heart cannot save itself.

Christ was hidden in the covenant -- His coming to earth in human nature was a mystery hidden in eternity. Satan knew nothing of it until the promise was made in the Garden of Eden of a seed that would bruise his head.

The speaker in the passage was to be named Israel -- that was Jacob's new name -- a 'wrestler with God', an 'overcomer with God'. The whole church of Christ was represented there in Jacob's family the night he wrestled. Jacob had to be weakened, by the thigh being damaged, before he overcame. Christ was weakened in order to overcome.