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Peace Through Strength (Isaiah 26:3-4)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 07 July 2013 00:00

How can we experience the peace of God that passes understanding in the midst of fiery trials with their fearful circumstances?

Isaiah 26:3 is a wonderful verse to commit to memory so that the Holy Spirit has available this sword in your spiritual scabbard to help you when facing spiritual attacks.

We looked at Isaiah 26:3-4 phrase by phrase and applied these verses to our daily walk with Christ (see sermon notes).
The main idea was that the LORD keeps in true peace the mind-set that consistently trusts in Him. While believers are viewed corporately (believing Israelites in the coming millennial kingdom), yet the same truth applies individually.
We pointed out the distinction between having “peace with God” and having the “peace of God.”

Peace with God is positional in nature and is forever true of me as a believer in Christ for eternal life, who has therefore been declared righteous (justified) by God in His sight.
The peace of God refers to our experience as His child, and may be gained or lost depending upon how we respond to the trials which inevitably come into our lives. Isaiah 26:3 helps us to respond in a Christ-like way, which pleases our heavenly Father.

3You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Because I trust Him, when trials come, I can choose to set my mind on the LORD. When I do, He will keep me in perfect peace. Peace is not so much as the absence of conflict as it is the presence of Christ (with me!) amidst crucible of my trial. I encourage you to look at the verses on the second (back) page of the sermon notes. They are like our life preserver amidst the stormy waters of modern day life. They are God’s reassuring voice whispering in your ear, “Peace, My child, Peace,” when life’s struggles are shouting so persistently and loudly so as to drown out His still small voice.
May this week find me to be one whose “mind is stayed” on the LORD, our Rock and our Redeemer. Frances Havergal states my desire eloquently in the hymn, “Like a River Glorious” with the lyrics: “Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest, finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest.”
The last phrase of Isaiah 26:4 is literally “the Rock of ages,” translated here as “everlasting strength.” This reminds us of Augustus Toplady’s wonderful lyric in the second verse of the hymn “Rock of Ages”: “In my hand no price I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling.”

When I think of God as my “Rock,” I think of things like His being a shady place in the desert and heat of life’s trials. He is the unmovable One amidst the “shifting shadows” of the blowing desert sands that come into my life (James 1:17). I think of Masada – that massive fortress in southern Israel – and realize that God is my defense and protection. He is the “high ground” that allows me to defeat the enemy’s advances against my abundant life as a child of God.
I was thinking of the Battle of Gettysburg, which happened 150 years ago this past week, and how Colonel John Buford’s seizing of the high ground on July 1, 1863 led to victory as Joshua Chamberlain’s Union troops were able to hold the flank on Little Round Top. Just as it is much easier to defend high ground from attack, so also we may maintain our victory by standing firm on our position in Christ, and choosing to look daily in faith to our God, who is a mighty Rock of defense for us against the attacks of the enemy.

I close with the insights from Merrill F. Unger’s Bible Dictionary:
“ROCK” = A rock is illustrative of God, as the Creator of His people (Dt 32:18); as the strength of His people (Dt 32:4;2 Sam 22:2,3; Ps 18:1,2; 62:7); as their defense and refuge (Ps 31:2,3; 94:22), and salvation (Dt 32:13; Ps 89:26; 95:1).
Christ the Rock ~ As a Rock, Christ is portrayed as smitten that the Spirit of life may flow from Him to all who will drink (Ex 17:6; Jn 4:13,14; 1 Cor 10:4).
To the Church, Christ as the Rock is the foundation (Mt 16:18) and the Chief Cornerstone (Eph 2:20).
To the Jews, at the first advent Christ was a “Stumbling Stone” (Ps 118:22; Rom 9:32; 1 Cor 1:23).
To Israel at the second advent, Christ will be the “head Stone of the corner” (Zech 4:7).
To the Gentile world governments, Christ the Rock will be the “stone cut out without hands” (Dan 2:34). As the Rock, Christ will be the Stone which will fill the whole earth in the Kingdom Age after the destruction of the Gentile world power.
To unbelievers, Christ the Rock is a crushing Stone of judgment (Mt 21:44).
[Source: Unger’s Bible Dictionary, p. 931]

Keep Looking Up!
“Until He Comes,”
Pastor Dave

 

 

 

 

 

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