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Sermon on Isaiah 51:1-16
Theme:  God’s people will be transformed for salvation
Goal: to encourage God’s people of his love through the transformation of his people
Need:  God’s people don’t often see the love of God.
Introduction on traffic safety:  Stop Look  Listen
Stop Look and Listen:  God is faithful to his covenant
Stop Look and Listen:  God transforms his people by grace
Stop Look and Listen:  God’s salvation lasts forever
Stop Look and Listen:  God calls us his people
Conclusion:  Encourage people to go out as God’s saved people.
            Stop, Look, and Listen.
Some of you may have heard that phrase before.
I know it is one that was supposed to be ingrained in me when I was little.
Stop, look, and listen is what we were taught in school as we were taught how to be safe on the roads.
When we were riding our bikes to school, or anytime we were walking or biking, if you cross a road, you are supposed to stop, look, and listen.
When children forget to stop, look, and listen, children get hurt.
One of the most tragic events in the life of a family is when a child doesn’t stop to look and listen for cars that are coming.
All children ought to be taught to stop look a listen.
In our passage for today, it sounds an aweful lot like God is trying to train his children to stop, look and listen.
His people are going through life, they are living through troubles like being exiled to a foreign land.
They are accusing God of not loving them and not caring for them.
They are stopping to look at the work of God.
And they aren’t stopping to listen to what he has told us about himself.
Easter is a wonderful time for us to hear this reminder, for sure.
As Christians living in a time where slowing down is seen as a weakness, and stopping is seen as missing a chance to build our profits even more, or accomplishing something else in our life, we need to spend a moment just to stop look and listen.
We need to stop, pause from the hustle and bustle of our life.
We need to stop.
Especially when we begin to feel like God isn’t fair, or he isn’t loving, or maybe he doesn’t even exist.
When we haven’t experienced the wonder of the love of Jesus Christ, we need to take some time to stop, look, and listen.
As we read through this prophecy from Isaiah, there are two types of commands that occur several times.
They are reminders for God’s people to listen and look.
The first verse says, “Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness \\        and who seek the LORD
            Hey People of God.
Listen up.
Everyone who likes to consider themselves one called by God.
Stop and listen to this reminder from God.
The prophecy continues:  “Look to the rock from which you were cut \\        and to the quarry from which you were hewn;
 2 look to Abraham, your father, \\        and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
\\        When I called him he was but one, \\        and I blessed him and made him many.
Listen up people of God.
The first thing God wants them to remember about his love is that he is a God that always fulfills his promises.
God says, “go ahead try me.
If you look all the way, you will find out that I have lived up to all of my promises.”
And God points them back to the most important promise he made.
He promised to be the God of Abraham and his descendants.
He promised to make Abraham a great nation.
He did that.
He gave Abraham a child.
He fulfilled his promise.
He always fulfills his promises.
That’s what Easter ends up being all about.
That’s part of what makes Easter so amazing for us.
God started out with a promise in the garden that he would crush the head of the serpent while the serpent would strike the heel of the son of eve.
At Christ’s death, it looked as if Jesus was taken out.
It looked as if Satan had crushed the head of Jesus Christ.
Finished him once and for all.
But on Easter it was proven in the most spectacular way that God always fulfills his promises.
Christ wasn’t defeated.
Sin and death were defeated.
Satan was crushed.
God cares for his covenant people by fulfilling his promises.
In the very next breath, he talks about the transformation by his grace.
And Listen.
God’s grace is transformational.
Verse 3 says, The LORD will surely comfort Zion \\        and will look with compassion on all her ruins; \\        he will make her deserts like Eden, \\        her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
\\        Joy and gladness will be found in her, \\        thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
Out of his love and compassion God takes what is broken down and destroyed and he builds it up again.
When God’s people are destroyed, broken down and barren, God is going to make them alive again.
What an awesome picture.
When God’s people are like a desert, God will restore them, God will bring them through a miraculous transformation.
He will make them alive again.
The desert will turn into the garden of eden.
At the time of Christ, the people of God were completely destroyed.
Not just as a nation, but spiritually as well.
Because of the legalism of the Pharisees, God’s people were a desert.
No life to their spirituality.
No spirit.
They followed laws and expected that to be glorifying to God.
They didn’t realize that God doesn’t want people’s actions first of all.
First, he wants your hearts.
Let the actions follow.
When we are captured by the love of Christ, a transformation takes place.
Almost like the miraculous transformation that happens to Christ’s very own body.
He went into the grave as a corpse.
No life.
Only holes in his hands and feet.
But when Christ came out of the grave his physical body had been transformed.
He had been brought back to life again.
If we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit turns our corpse like spiritual life and turns it into something alive.
It takes our desert-like faith, and makes it as rich and lifegiving as the garden of Eden.
God raised Christ from the dead.
God gives us faith through the Holy Spirit.
God is the one responsible for the miraculous transformation from death to life in his people.
Then the passage continues:  People of God, Stop.
Listen for the coming of God’s salvation.
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