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What does it mean to ‘Grow in Grace?’

15/09/2016

What does it mean to ‘Grow in Grace?’

Text: Isaiah 27:5-20
Remember that Hezekiah has received really bad news. He has mourned over his sin, repented of his unfaithfulness, gone to the Lord’s house, to pray and to listen to the faithful proclaimation of God’s word, and took heart from the message – for the Word of God to the believer is constant and unchanging: DO NOT BE AFRAID! Thus assured, Hezekiah trusts the Lord. So what can we learn from this passage? 

1. God’s Word is ALWAYS True. V5-8
Isaiah continues with his prophecy. 7 Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumour and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”
So, how did that work out for Isaiah? Read about what the Bible says about how to test a prophet in Deuteronomy 13:1-5. If they fail the test they must be punished! So you can see that the bar for a prophet in the eyes of God is much higher than the standard used to judge the modern day so called prophets. Isaiah must get it right! He must truly hear from the Lord. Did he?

  • Isaiah’s prophesy was SPECIFIC. He didn’t just make some general reference to some unknown or unnamed person who might just have some vague illness, to whom God might just be speaking. Look at the definite nature of what he says… Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumour and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.
  • Isaiah’s prophesy was ACCURATE. It came to pass! V8-9

That’s the test. Our impressions and our dreams and our feelings may change. But God’s Word – now complete and given to us in written form NEVER CHANGES, NEVER FAILS, ALWAYS ACCOMPLISHES GOD’S WILL. Isaiah 55:11.

2. We are to Grow in Grace.
Rabshekah has returned to Assyria, and the King – Sennacherib is engaged in another battle against a rebellious province, but this is not the end of the matter. Sennacherib decides to write a letter to Hezekiah, to remind him, that ‘he hasn’t gone away you know! Read V9-13, That is a scary letter. Maybe Hezekiah would have known those Kings, and maybe he knew what had happened to them. Now, says Sennacherub, – it’s soon to be your turn…, ! But now look:-

• Hezekiah’s whole attitude has changed! Look at Hezekiah’s actions now with this nasty letter. 14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. That’s a wonderful description of a man who is trusting God with all his heart! Hezekiah spread the letter out before the Lord.
• Hezekiah’s faith has deepened! Hezekiah was a good King, who had already done much to reform Israel’s religion. But before his appeal for a sermon from Isaiah, he had been trusting in God, and trusting in Egypt. Now, he’s just trusting in God! Even Sennacherub, who no doubt has spies in Jerusalem, knows that the King is now trusting only in the Lord.
• Hezekiah’s prayer life has improved! Hezekiah’s prayer life has been totally changed!

Look at his prayer:-

a) He begins with God’s sovereignty. V15.
b) He acknowledges God’s omniscience. V17 17
c) He acknowledges that all sin is primarily against God. which he has sent to mock the living God.
d) He proclaims the uselessness of all the efforts of man. V18 -19
e) Salvation is in the Lord, alone! V20

What a change! Hezekiah had wanted help! Lord help me had been his prayer – as it is for most of us! ‘Lord help me, – help me and my family and my city and prosper me, and keep me healthy, Amen.’ Now, Hezekiah’s prayer is for God to be glorified! Hezekiah the King has Grown in Grace! 2 Peter 3:18. Growing as a Christian is not about becoming a mighty powerful victorious, self sufficient warrior, or anything that makes me look better or more godly. It is about moving all the glory away from me, and learning that our purpose in life is to glorify Christ, in all our ways.
Finally:-

3. Be Like Hezekiah
What has happened to Hezekiah? He has responded to God’s word! Believing the message that he had heard, he simply trusts in the Lord! He has grown as a believer. The call to us is the same.
• Like Hezekiah, we are fearful and afraid and helpless and weak and sinful. Let us acknowledge our sin before almighty God.
• Like Hezekiah we should learn of God’s love and mercy and forgiveness, through His word, as we seek his face in prayer.
• Like Hezekiah we should apply God’s word, apply the gospel in each and every situation of life.
• Like Hezekiah we should expect to grow in grace, to think far less of ourselves, and far more of Jesus.

John 3:30, He must increase, but I must decrease.

© Bob McEvoy

From → Bible Study, Isaiah

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