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James Merritt - Eternally Satisfying

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    James Merritt - Eternally Satisfying

I want you to listen again to what this prophet named Isaiah predicted about this baby that would be born 700 years before Christmas ever took place. "For to us a child is born," and, by the way, I'm pretty sure Isaiah didn't even realize what he was writing when he wrote it. "For unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace". Now, just as a way of review, in case you have missed, or you have forgotten, he begins by telling us first of all, let me tell you what this child is before I tell you who he is and what we're to call him. He says, "Unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given".

So, right off the bat, Isaiah is telling us this was not an ordinary baby that was laid in that manger that we sing about 2,000 years ago, this little baby was divinely human. He was a child that was born, we're all born like that, we're all born as children, so he had humanity, but he was also a Son that was given. He didn't just have humanity, he had divinity. He was a child that was born just like us, but he was a Son that was given. He's not just like us. He was fully human like we are, but he was also fully God. Now, the reason why Isaiah wants us to know that is because when you study these names that he is to be called, you'd go, "Wait a minute, nobody, no ordinary, run-of-the-mill human being, deserves to be called these names, but he does". Because he's not just human, and he's not just divine, he is divinely human.

So, last week, we learned that he is our heavenly guide. He is Wonderful Counselor, and he is Mighty God. So, he's the Wonderful Counselor, he doesn't just give human advice that's hit or miss, may be right, may be wrong. We said last week as the Wonderful Counselor, you can always follow what he tells you to do. He gives you divine wisdom. He'll always lead you in the right path. He'll always tell you the best thing to do. He'll always help you take the right path and make the right decision. Then, we read that not only can we call him Wonderful Counselor, we call him Mighty God. Jesus is not just the Wonderful Counselor, he not only will tell you what to do, he doesn't just tell you where to go, he absolutely enables you to get there.

Now, today we're going to see that Jesus is not just divinely human, we're going to see that Jesus is not just our heavenly guide, today, Isaiah's gonna tell us he is eternally satisfying, because he is the eternal Father, the Everlasting Father, and he is the Prince of Peace. Now, I want you to take those two names, and here's what I wanna share with you today, a real brief message. Those two names reveal to us who Jesus wants to be to us, what Jesus wants us to be to him, and actually, he tells us what is true about everybody that knows Jesus on a first-name basis. First of all, he is the Everlasting Father. Now, what does that tell us? That tells us that our position with God is eternally secure. My position with God is eternally secure.

And, by the way, the Hebrew, the way the Hebrew translate that phrase, Everlasting Father, it literally means the Father of eternity. Now, let me help us this morning, because we are in the Old Testament. When you read the Old Testament, you have to remember the Old Testament was written in Hebrew by Hebrews for Hebrews. In other words, it was written in the Jewish language by Jewish people for Jewish people. So, you've got to think like a Jew thinks, because remember, again, this is a Hebrew speaker writing in Hebrew language, and let me tell you why this is important. For a Jew, when you call someone a father, they thought two things. They said, okay, if he's the father, he is the originator, and he is the author. He is the originator of something, he is the author of something.

And so, when Isaiah said Jesus, we can call him the Everlasting Father, the eternal Father, what he's saying is, he is the originator of everything eternal. In other words, God doesn't just deal with the temporal, that's why we get frustrated with God sometimes, you know? We get frustrated because, well, God, you didn't do what I asked you to do when I asked you to do it. You showed up, but you didn't show up on time. And the thing you need to remember about God is, God is not a God of the temporal, God's the God of the eternal. God doesn't care one wit about time. We do, God doesn't.

By the way, full disclosure. God doesn't wear a watch. That's why the Bible says with God a thousand years is like a day, and a day is like a thousand years. Time means nothing to God. He doesn't deal with the temporal, he deals with the eternal. By the way, later on, Isaiah goes on to say this about this God of eternity. He says, "I make know," that is God says, "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'"

Now, what Isaiah is saying about Jesus is this. Look, Jesus has no beginning, he has no ending, he is eternal. But, he controls the beginning of everything and he controls the ending of everything, and that's why he alone can absolutely, perfectly predict how everything's going to turn out, because for all eternity, he's always been in complete control. He's the originator of all of this. He is the author of all of this. He was there at the beginning of all of this. He will be there at the ending of all of this, and he's in control of all of this.

See, sometimes, we see how things end, but we don't see how things begin. And then, sometimes we see how things begin, but we don't see how things end. Jesus is different. He sees the beginning and the end. He sees the end of everything, and furthermore, he guarantees everything is going to end up accomplishing his purpose. By the way, he is truly the only one in the universe that does everything that he pleases, anything that he pleases. You know, there are some people, you'll meet 'em, and they're kinda arrogant and full of themselves, well, how do you live your life?

Well, I just kinda do it my way. I just kinda do whatever I please. Nobody does that. Nobody has the power, ultimately, to do that. You really can't do everything that you please, because you don't control everything, he does. He is the Father of all eternity. He is the only one that can do whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases, wherever he pleases to do it. So, he is called the Everlasting Father. Now, let me just stop right there. If you've been a follower of Jesus for a long time, of if you've kind of grown up in church, or you've kind of, you know, read your Bible, and say you know the Lord's Prayer, you say whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute, time out. I thought there's God the Father, and then there's God the Son. That is true.

So, are you saying that God is the Father? No, are you saying the Father is the Son? No, not ontologically speaking. Now, they are one in the same, but there's God the Father and there's God the Son. You say, okay, then why does Isaiah call Jesus the Everlasting Father? Because, in a real sense, Jesus, God the Son, relates to us as a Father. As a matter of fact, you know one of the reasons why Jesus was born 2,000 years ago? The reason why he even came to planet earth was to show us invisible form. You wanna know what God is like? God's like a father, and I'm gonna show you by the way I live, and the way I act, and the way I treat you, this is what God is like.

As a matter of fact, there was a disciple that Jesus had, his name was Phillip, and he'd been with Jesus for three years, and so, finally, you know, he noticed this special relationship that Jesus seemed to have with God the Father. And so, one day, Phillip said to him, "Lord, would you show us the Father"? Well, I'm gonna be honest, I think Jesus was probably a little bit aggravated and a little bit irritated, because in effect, he says to Phillip, "Let me get this straight, you've been with me three years, you haven't hardly been away from my side. We have been together 24/7. We have camped out together. We've eaten together. We have walked together. You've heard me teach the multitudes together. You've seen me work miracles together, and you're asking me to show you the Father".

And so, Jesus says this, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father". "If you've seen me," Jesus said, "You have seen the Father". In other words, the Son that was sent by the Father is exactly like the Father, and it's through the Son that we come to know God as our Father. Now, Jesus is not just an earthly Father, here's the difference. Listen, this is why this is so important. He's not just the Father, Isaiah said he is the Everlasting Father. He is the eternal Father. He is the forever Father.

Now, for some of you this is really gonna hit home. Let me tell you what that means. If he is our forever Father, if he is our Everlasting Father, that means he'll never walk out on you. He will never disown you. He will never deny you. He will never desert you. And it doesn't matter how you disappoint him, it doesn't matter when you fall flat on your face, it doesn't matter when you fall into a mud pit of sin, which we all do from time to time. It doesn't matter when you fall short of what you know he would have you to do. It doesn't matter, at the end of the day, Jesus says I am your everlasting Father. I am your eternal Father. Even when you've turned your back on me, I won't turn my back on you. Even when you walk out on me, I won't walk out on you. I will never deny you, I will never disown you, I will never desert you. You know, there's one thing that will be true of me until the day I die. I will always be the earthy father of three young men, James, Jonathan, Joshua.

Now, they have been absolutely fantastic sons, and it's a joy. In fact, I was thinking this morning when I got up and I was having my quiet time, I got to thinking about, you know, tomorrow is Christmas Day, and I really mean this, I got to thinking, every day for me is Christmas Day. Every day is Christmas Day. Come on, I'm serious. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, and you know him on a first-name basis, every day is Christmas Day. I've got a wife, I've got the most beautiful wife on the planet, I'm more in love with today than I was the day I married her 41-and-a-half years ago. Every day is Christmas to me. My three boys, James, Jonathan, and Joshua, they're my very best friends. We're all just like that.

Now, I did learn growing up I know why some animals eat their young, I did learn that, but at the end of the day, we're just like that. I got four grandchildren that think Pop walks on water. I got a church that I love, a church that I so enjoy pastoring, a church that's so good to me. I'm telling you, some of the best people I've ever pastored in my life are sitting in this room right now. Some of the best friends I've ever had are in this room right now. Every single day for me is absolutely Christmas Day. But, here's what's the best thing of all, is to know that this Jesus, who is my Lord and my Savior, is my everlasting, eternal, forever Father. That the moment I gave my life to him as a nine-year-old boy, I came into his family as one of his children, and for as long as I live, and for eternity after I'm gone, he will always be my eternal Father.

See, wherever my sons are at any given moment, they can lay their head on their pillow, and there's one thing they know when they go to sleep at night. They've got a dad that loves them. They've got a dad that's got their back. They've got a dad that will stick by them. They've got a dad that they know if you've got a need and Dad can meet that need, Dad will meet that need. Well, let me tell you something. When you know Jesus Christ on a first-name basis, and he is not just your Lord, he is not just your Savior, but you finally realize he is my everlasting, forever Father, you can know when you lay your head on a pillow at night, you have a Father that will love you for all eternity, who will never walk out on you, who will never turn his back on you, who will never leave you or forsake you. Because of Jesus, because of Jesus, God was my Father yesterday, God is my Father today, and God will be my Father forever.

That is Christmas every single day, every day. Can you just give the Lord a hand? I mean, it's just every day. See, you see, because of Jesus, because of Jesus, our position with God is completely secure. But, then he tells us something else. He says our peace with God is totally sure. Our peace with God is totally sure. Our position with God is eternally secure, but our peace with God is totally sure. Now, the last thing that Isaiah gives us is one that we should all be glad, you know, with this. I mean, you think about this. I was thinking about this the other day. If you watch the news very often, I'm telling you, it can be depressing. I mean, it really can. I mean, it's, you know, sometimes you ought to take a news break and just kind of catch your breath, because if you think about it, we're living on a powder keg of a world. I mean, terrorism, you never know where it's gonna hit next. Random violence, suicide bombers, they're a daily reality.

And now, for the first time since I was a kid, some of you will remember the Cold War crisis, the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember as a kid, some of you will remember this if you're old enough. I remember we used to do drills. It's kind of funny now, looking back at it, you know. We did drills where if they rang the alarm, you had to get under your desk, like that's gonna help in case a nuclear bomb falls, you know, get under your desk. How is that gonna work out for you, right? But, we used to have these drills, you know. We really thought we were on the brink of nuclear war. Well, we're at the same, almost the same place again, where it seems like nuclear war could be a looming presence.

And Isaiah comes along and says, "Oh, by the way, and he will be called Prince of Peace". Now, I want you to listen to what he just called him. He called him the Prince of Peace. He's not just a diplomat who tries to make peace, he is the Prince who rules over peace. He is the prince who gives peace. He is the prince who is peace. In other words, if he is the Prince of Peace, let me tell you what that means. There is no real peace apart from him, there really isn't. There's no real peace apart from him. As a matter of fact, Jesus said something about peace, about the peace that he gives, that I wish the whole world could hear right now. Listen to what he said. He said, "Peace I leave with you".

Now, if he just stopped there, you would have said, "Well, I mean, everybody says they got peace. I mean, diplomats say that, psychiatrists say that, you know, presidents say that, kings say that. Well, I've come to give you peace". He said, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you". Okay, what do you mean? "I do not give to you as the world gives". He says my peace is not the same kind of peace that the world gives you. Well, why is that? Because the peace this world gives you can be blown apart just like that by a sneak attack, or a sniper's bullet, or a terrorist's bomb, or a pink slip at work, or a bad x-ray, and all of a sudden, the peace this world gives you is gone. But the peace that Jesus gives is so different. Let me tell you three ways it's different.

Only Jesus can give political peace. Only Jesus can give political peace. I didn't know this, this is a little interesting fact for you. The earliest known peace treaty we've ever discovered goes back to 1,300 B.C., the earliest one we know. So, think about this, for over 3,000 years, we've been signing peace treaties, 3,000 years.

Now, let me tell you this. This blew me away. Do you know how many peace treaties we have signed in 3,000 years? If you go to that great bastion of scholarly knowledge, Wikipedia, you wanna see all the peace treaties we've signed in 3,000 years? Are you ready for this? It takes 74 pages to list all the peace treaties that we have signed in 3,000 years. And yet, we still don't have peace on earth. Yeah, we want peace on earth, and we want good will toward men, but there will be no peace on earth until the Prince of Peace returns to earth. Only Jesus can give political peace. My peace, he says, I give unto you.

Number two, only Jesus can give personal peace. Not just political peace, only Jesus can give personal peace. You know, I was thinking as I was driving in today, I thought about how many homes have their Christmas lights on, but if you walked into that home, it's anything but Christmas. I mean, there are so many troubled homes, troubled hearts, troubled cities, and troubled people, and it breaks my heart to see everybody's looking for relief in all the wrong places. Now, you might find temporary relief, you know, you might find temporary peace on a psychologist's couch, or in a bottle, or in a drug, or even in a human relationship, or all the stuff that you can buy. You might find some temporary peace, but the truth of the matter is, you'll only find real peace when you've come to the Prince of Peace and let him make peace with you and give his peace to you.

One of the things you'll learn is, the older you get, you start thinking about death, and you start thinking about, you know, well, what's it gonna be like, and how's it gonna be, and where's it gonna be, and, you know, when is it going to be? And I'll just be honest, I mean, I just want to die in peace and rest in peace. And only Jesus can help you do that. I've talked about him all the time, Adrian Rogers. Doctor Rogers died of cancer, 74 years old, I mean, really not that old. I used to think 74 was ancient, now, at my age, I think it's real young. But, 74 years old, and, you know, always kept himself healthy, and so on, and so forth.

Anyhow, he had colon cancer, so he went into the hospital, and they didn't tell him at first, but he wasn't gonna come out. So, he got physically at the point where they came in, and his doctor, who was a member of his church, said, "Pastor, we've got to intubate you". Now, if you don't know what intubation is, intubation is a process where doctors insert a tube into your mouth, and it goes down into your airway, and it not only allows you to breathe, if you're having trouble breathing, which he was, but they can use it to sedate you to alleviate great pain, and he was in a lot of pain. So, they were gonna intubate him, and Dr. Rogers said, "Okay, that's fine," and they said, "Well, we have to tell you something". They said, "Before we intubate you, this will probably be the last time you'll ever be able to speak to your family. So, whatever you wanna say, you need to say it now".

Can you imagine that? I mean, the doctor just told you, basically, I'm gonna put a tube down your throat, you ain't gonna say another word to anybody else. You're gonna die with that tube in your throat. So, Dr. Rogers took a moment, his family was there, and of course he told them how much he loved them and cared for them, and just before they put that tube down in his throat, I want you to listen to what he said. Dr. Rogers looked at his doctor with that tube about to go down his throat, and he looked into his eyes, and he said, "I am at perfect peace. I am at perfect peace".

That's the kind of peace Jesus gives, permanent, personal, perfect peace. So, the question comes, well, what's in a name? Well, it depends on whose name it is. I'll tell you this, if it's Jesus, everything's in that name. If its name is Jesus, everything you need is in the one who carries those names. For example, anybody here today facing a real hard decision and you don't know which way to go? That's okay, Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor. You're facing a real tough demand in your life and you don't know whether you're up to meeting that demand or not? That's alright, he is the mighty God. You're facing a great difficulty in your life, and you don't know whether it's gonna overwhelm you or not?

That's alright, he is the eternal Father. You're in great distress, you're walking the floor, you don't know how this is gonna work out? He is the Prince of Peace. Because, let me tell you something, when God gave that little baby 2,000 years ago and that little boy was laid in that manger, you know why he sent him? He didn't do it just because he knew what we needed, he knew who we needed.

We needed a Wonderful Counselor, we needed a Mighty God, we needed an Everlasting Father, we needed the Prince of Peace. We needed a Wonderful Counselor who looks ahead of us and can show us what to do. We need a Mighty God who looks out for us and who can provide for our every need. We need an Everlasting Father who looks after us and protects us wherever we go. We need the Prince of Peace, who looks over us and guides us through all of our trouble. And this Jesus can be your Jesus. He can be your Wonderful Counselor. He can be your mighty God. He can be your Everlasting Father. He can be your Prince of Peace. He can be that on a first-name basis.
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