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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - God's Astonishing Servant

Skip Heitzig - God's Astonishing Servant

Skip Heitzig - God's Astonishing Servant
Skip Heitzig - God's Astonishing Servant
TOPICS: Bloodline, Jesus, Isaiah 53

Would you turn in your Bibles to the Book of Isaiah, chapter 53. Isaiah, chapter 53. I'm praying, I'm hoping that you will see how valuable you are to God in this series we call Bloodline. Especially during this chapter of Isaiah 53, when we realize what Jesus did for us, that you realize just how God values you, loves you so deeply. I have the privilege every week of getting messages, emails, letters from different people in different parts of the country who are changed, that this ministry touches them in some way. But here's one I wanted you to hear. I got it this week.

Pastor Skip, I was listening to your message one morning on my way to work, not paying attention to how fast I was going, 80 miles an hour, when I was pulled over by a highway patrol. She said, do you know how fast you were going? I said, no, I was listening to Skip Heitzig, a pastor on the radio, and was so engrossed in his message, I didn't pay attention to how fast I was going. It's the first time I know that I've been used as an excuse for speeding. She saw my Bible on the front seat and asked who you were. It opened the door for me to witness to her. And thank God, she didn't give me a ticket. To this day, I'm still enjoying your messages.

Well, I should feel good that I got somebody out of a ticket. I want to talk to you this morning about somebody else who bailed you out of a far greater ticket. And that is our Lord Jesus Christ. We're going to look at 15 verses. And you'll notice that there are only 12 verses in Isaiah 53, but we're going to look at 15 verses. That is because by now, you probably know that when I say turn to Isaiah 53, what I really mean is turn to Isaiah chapter 52 verse 13 through 53 verse 12. I could have only wished that Stephen Langston, in 1227 AD when he divvied up the Bible into chapters and verses, would have started Isaiah 53 in Isaiah 52 verse 13, because that's where the passage really begins. That's where the heart and the thread of the passage begins, in Isaiah chapter 52.

You're familiar with this passage, right? If you've been a Christian for any length of time, you know it. You've committed portions of it to memory. In fact, Martin Luther said every Christian ought to be able to repeat it by heart. Theologians have called this the fifth gospel. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Isaiah chapter 53.

Charles Spurgeon said, this is the Bible in miniature, and the gospel in essence. The student and friend of John the apostle named Polycarp wrote, it is the golden passional of the Old Testament. And then two scholars named Keil and Delitzsch in the 1800s said it looks as if Isaiah 53 has been written beneath the cross of God Golgotha. It has the deepest and loftiest that Old Testament prophecy ever achieved. Remarkably, Isaiah 53 was written 700 years before Christ. Now we haven't even gotten into the passage itself. And we will read it in a moment. But I want to just have you step back for a moment and think of the Book of Isaiah. Isaiah has two distinct sections. It's a long book, first of all, right? 66 chapters. There are two distinct sections of Isaiah.

Chapters 1 through 39 is the first section, and then chapter 40 through 66 is the second section. But think of it this way. I just want you to get this. Like the Bible, that has 66 books, it's interesting that Isaiah has 66 chapters. And like the Bible that is divided up into Old Testament and New Testament, 39 books in the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi, 27 books in the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation. So Isaiah has 66 chapters, and the first section has 39 chapters, and the second, 27 chapters.

Also, the emphasis in the Old Testament is largely on God's judgment. The emphasis in the New Testament is largely God's grace and salvation. So it's just an interesting parallel that Isaiah, the first 39 chapters are largely about God's judgment of the southern kingdom of Judah going into captivity in Babylon, and the last 27 chapters are highlighting the grace and salvation that comes through the Messiah.

So I wanted to throw that parallel out because I think it's interesting, first of all. And then also, we are in the second section of Isaiah. We are in that grace and salvation part. And we are dealing with a section we call the Servant Songs of Isaiah. There are four songs or little poetic utterances that are given in Isaiah called Servant Songs, four of them. Isaiah 42 is the first. Isaiah 49 is the second. Isaiah chapter 50 is the third. And this one, Isaiah 53, is the fourth.

Isaiah contrasts two servants. Servant number one, Israel, the nation of Israel, the unfaithful servant who repeatedly failed to be all that God wanted them to be, as a light to the world, as a light to the Gentiles. Contrast that with the perfect ultimate servant of the Lord, the Messiah who will perfectly fulfill the will of God. Let's begin in chapter 52 verse 13, and let's just get a reading of it.

Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently. He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men. So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him, for what had not been told them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall consider. Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant. And as a root out of dry ground, He has no form or comeliness. And when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him. He was despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him. And by His stripes, we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living. For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked, but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him. He has put Him to grief. When you make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul and be satisfied. By His knowledge, my righteous servant shall justify many. For He shall bear their iniquities, therefore, I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death. And He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Do you see Christ in that? It's pretty obvious, isn't it? To us in the New Testament, we look back, and it's so plain. We understand it so abruptly, so clearly. And that is why most of the New Testament writers all pointed back to this passage Jesus referred to this passage in saying it was fulfilled in himself The apostles referred to this passage the New Testament writers, in fact Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, 1 Peter, 1 John, all of them quote Isaiah chapter 53. It is the epic messianic prophecy from the Old Testament used by them in the new.

Now believe it or not, we are barely going to touch on this chapter. If we really wanted to do it justice, we would spend the next 10 or 12 weeks just in Isaiah 53 to get its depth. We won't do that. So even though in your worship folder can you see the little outline I've given you? There are six points, not three this week, not four, six. So you're going, boy, you're biting off more than you can chew.

Trust me, there are easily 60 points I could give you out of this. I'm just going to barely, barely touch the surface. But in this song, Isaiah, the Lord through Isaiah, calls us to be astonished at this servant of the Lord, so-called. So let's consider, let's meditate on this servant. First of all, just notice the word that he has called my servant verse 13 of Isaiah 52. "Behold my servant." this is God the Father speaking as if he's pointing to Jesus saying to us, look at him, check him out, behold him. So he is a sovereign servant. Go down also to chapter 53 in verse 1 where the Lord says, "by his knowledge my righteous servant shall justify many." First and foremost, Jesus came as a servant of God the Father to perfectly accomplish His will in redemptive history. He said, I always do those things that please Him.

I can't say that. To be honest, I have to say I sometimes do those things that please Him. Every now and then I do those things that please Him. I try to do more things that please Him than I do, but sometimes. Jesus could say I always do those things that please Him. Jesus on one occasion said, I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of him that sent me. He came then as a servant and he himself said, I did not come to be served but to serve and to give my life a ransom for many.

Now, you need to know something about this passage. It deals with the servant of the Lord, but not everybody agrees that it is Jesus. Of course, the New Testament writers all do. They know it's speaking of Jesus, but this passage is under dispute as to who the servant of the Lord is. And let me tell you why. First of all because Isaiah himself calls the nation of Israel God's servant a couple of different times. Sometimes Isaiah refers to himself as God's servant, and still other places like here he refers to the Messiah as God's servant. So because he gives that title to different groups or different individuals, it's up for dispute.

But there's a second reason why Isaiah 53 is under dispute as to who the servant is, and here it is. It's because it obviously reveals Christ that it has become an embarrassment to Jewish people. Isaiah 53 has been called the torture chamber of the rabbis because it is so clear in his presentation of Jesus. Here's what I want you to know, though. The oldest translations of the Hebrew text of Isaiah into the Aramaic text this is one, two centuries BC, before Christ ever came on the earth. They're called the targums.

They were translated from Hebrew into Aramaic, and they are paraphrases or translations, and they render Isaiah 53 verse 13 this way. Behold my servant messiah shall prosper, or shall deal prudently. And then another famous rabbi, Rabbi Akiba, translating Isaiah 53 said, "king messiah wounded for our transgressions."

So then historically, the ancient rabbis of the Jews saw Isaiah 52 and 53 as referring to their coming messiah. All of that changed in the 11th century. A rabbi by the name of Rashi, and if you're taking notes that's, R-A-S-H-I, Rashi. Because Jesus is so poignant in this passage and because the New Testament points back to Isaiah 53, he decided it's not about the Messiah, the servant here is Israel.

In fact, one author wrote this, and I'm quoting, "Isaiah 53 describes the history of the Jews who are despised by the world, persecuted by crusaders, Spanish Inquisition, and the Nazis. These verses do not point to a messiah," end quote. But they do. They do, and all of your rabbis in ancient times said they do until the 11th century AD.

In fact, here's something that's a shocker. Did you know that Isaiah chapter 53 is omitted from the regular synagogue, the daily synagogue readings where they read all of the scripture in the Old Testament? There's one section that is omitted, it's this section. Why is it? Why is it just left out? Why is it omitted completely? One Jewish scholar admitted by saying, it's because of the obvious Christological references. It's just so plain.

So notice how 53 opens up. Verse 1 it begins with the question, "who has believed our report?" Now, that question implies that only a few will recognize Him when He comes. They're not going to believe it. Which was true of Jesus, right? He came into his own, His own received Him not. He was in the world, He made the world, but the world did not know Him. In fact, John points to this very verse when he says in John chapter 12, "although Jesus had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in him that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled which he spoke, 'Lord who has believed our report and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed.'"

Every time I teach on messianic prophecy and we see it so plainly fulfilled in Christ, somebody will ask me this question. Why is it that the Jewish people reject Jesus? It's so obvious. Why do they reject Old Testament testimony? Why do they reject Isaiah 53? Here's the answer. It's because their entire religious system is about seeking to establish their own righteousness. That's what Paul said, Romans chapter 10. They pushed aside God's righteousness and they go about seeking to establish their own righteousness.

So as long as you do that, as long as you're saying I'm working hard, I'm keeping the law, I'm being religious, you're trying to get to heaven on your own. There are really only two religions in the entire world. You go, Skip, you're wrong, I've been to a college class, there are hundreds of them. No, there's only two. You could divide every belief system into two categories alone.

Category A, the religion of human accomplishment or achievement, human achievement. I'm doing this on my own. Category B, the religion of divine accomplishment. Either you do it for yourself or somebody does it for you. And if you do it for yourself, you are being righteous by yourself. You don't need a savior. You don't need a savior. I'm good. I'm not that bad. I think I'll be OK, I'm OK when I die. I'll take my chances. I've worked hard, I've gone to church. Not a good plan. But if you tell a self-righteous person that they're a sinner, good luck. Watch the fireworks. So Jesus here is presented as His righteous servant, but one that will be largely rejected. Who has believed our report?

Second thing to make a note of, it's pretty obvious going through this passage that he is a suffering servant. You go through this reading like we just did and it's pretty evident that it's a painful ordeal. Some episode of great agony, and suffering, and misery. Just notice chapter 52 verse 14, "just as many as were astonished to you, so his visage", that's his face, facial features, "his visage was marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men." Now listen to that same verse in the Living Bible. "They shall see my servant beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know it was a person standing there." So it was to the point where he no longer looked human.

Now, you remember in the New Testament Jesus is arrested, he is brought before Pontius Pilate, Pilate knows he's innocent, pilot wants to placate the crowd. So he thinks, look, I'll just take and get him scourged, rough him up a little bit, and that'll be fine. So they turn Jesus over, he does, to a scourging. And what that meant was two soldiers who were called lictors, each of the soldiers had a whip and would deliver diagonal blows to the back of the victim tied to a post. His back taut. And because the leather thongs on that flagellum were embedded with glass, and lead, and bone, it would grab the flesh and tear it, scholars tell us. It would rip the flesh, rip through the muscle, the subcutaneous tissues, sometimes even eviscerate the victims. So ancient writers say that the organs were sometimes exposed to sight, the deep tissue and the deep organs.

Many did not even survive the ordeal. After that scourging, and by the way, not just the scourging, but the soldiers that it says beat Him up, hit Him in the face, blindfolded Him, say, who struck you? By the time he comes back to Pilate, he didn't even look human. Pilate parades him in front of the crowd and says in Latin, behold the man. As if to say, pity this poor creature, haven't you seen enough?

But they hadn't seen enough. They just shouted louder, crucify him! Crucify him! Look down at chapter 53 verse four. Look at the language. "Stricken," it says, "smitten by God and afflicted." Verse five, wounded, bruised. Verse seven, "oppressed, afflicted, led as a lamb to the slaughter." Verse 10, bruised. "It pleased the Lord to bruise him." Grief is in that verse. That's suffering. He is a suffering servant. After all of that, Jesus was given the upper part of the cross called the patibulum, a 75 pound cross beam that would be where his hands would be stapled on the cross and he carried that to Golgotha.

Now, we believe that. This is central to our belief system, and just think of it this way. No other religion has at its heart the humiliation of its God. The world looks at what we believe in, they go I don't get you guys, you guys are morbid. Even every year you call it Good Friday. What's so good about that? You should call it Bad Friday. No, we call it Good Friday, in fact, we call it Great Friday because yes it was bad for him, but it was great for us because it procured our salvation. So this is God's servant, and this is God's suffering servant. And it's true the very heart of what we believe is the atoning death of Christ.

There's a third characteristic I want you to make a note of. He is referred to as a sinless servant. Verse 9, the beginning part, "and they made his grave with the wicked, but with the rich at his death." The way this is worded, the author is implying that he will experience something normally out of place. He is righteous. He is the righteous servant. He is the ultimate servant, and yet he's going to be with the wicked. He himself was poor on Earth, but he is going to be mingled with the rich.

How did that happen? Well, when he died he was with the wicked because when he was on the cross he was crucified next to two criminals, notorious criminals. But when He died, He was buried in a rich man's tomb, the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. And then look at the rest of verse 9, "because he had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in his mouth." A better translation puts it, he committed no sin. He committed no sin, nor was there any deceit in His mouth. On one occasion when Jesus was accused by the crowd, He said, "which of you can convict me of sin?" What's the answer to that? No one. He had no sin. Even Pilate, when he stood before Pilate and Pilate found out all the accusation leveled against him, you know what he said? And he put it on record, "I find no fault in this man." This guy didn't do anything wrong.

Why is that important? It's important that we realize this because what Jesus went through was totally undeserved. Totally undeserved. He was sinless, he didn't do anything wrong. As we often say or we often sing, he paid a debt he did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay. So he was the sinless servant. How sinless? This is how sinless. Paul said, "He was in very nature God." This Jesus was in very nature God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but he made himself of no reputation. And he took on the form of a servant. And coming in the likeness of sinful flesh or of men, he became obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross. So he stepped down. He stooped down from heaven to Earth.

I've loved this story about the evangelist DL Moody in the late 1800s. He was the most famous evangelist on Earth at the time. Preached and pastor of the Moody Bible Church in Chicago, started that church. But he had a conference center in Northfield, Massachusetts where pastors would come in, and he would train them, and spend a week or two with them. On one occasion, Moody had pastors from Europe come to Northfield, Massachusetts for a pastor's conference. They were there to see him, hear him.

And they were in their rooms at night, their dormitories. And there was a custom in Europe at the time for people to take their shoes off at night, put their shoes outside the door of their rooms, and at night hall servants would come through the halls, collect the shoes, clean them, polish them, put them back outside the door so in the morning you wake up to fresh polished shoes. That was a custom in Europe in the 1800s.

Well, this is America. We ain't got no hall servants in America. You polish your own stinking shoes here. So they put their shoes out at night and Moody knew their custom and didn't want to embarrass them. So he noticed all the shoes in the hallway, and he told his ministry students, hey, these guys have their shoes out there. All these young ministry students, seminary students are going, well you know, they had all these weird pious excuses. I'm praying, I'm studying the Bible, all this stuff.

So Moody collected the shoes himself, took them to his room. And that night, the world's most famous evangelist cleaned and polished all their shoes and put them back. Now, he didn't have to do that. He was the star attraction, he was the esteemed one. They all came to hear and see him. But the fact that this man of such an esteemed position stooped to do that made the gesture that much lovelier and more dramatic. Jesus became our hall servant doing much greater than that.

The next thing I'd like you to notice is that he was a silent servant. Verse seven, "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep before its shears is silent, so He opened not His mouth." This is amazing. Why is it amazing? Because suffering people aren't silent. Trust me, I worked in hospitals. Suffering people are very vocal about their suffering. We all are. We say ouch a lot, and the older we get, oh my back, oh my neck, oh my leg. And people around us, they hear it. They hear all those groans or whines. But sheep are silent, and that's the analogy. He'll be like sheep before it shears is silent.

Did you know that sheep, they like to be sheared by their owners? Shepherds take care of their sheep, and sheep learn to trust their shepherds. And sheep, they grow all this wool, it's very weighty. And so the shepherd will shear the sheep, and it just feels so good to those little sheep. They love it. They stand there and they take it. All that weight comes off, they feel cooler, and they have these oil glands, they produce lanolin. And so their little rumps get this caked-in, oily, lanolin-laden, messy, dirty, grimy stuff going on, and the shepherd clears it all off. And those little sheep feel so good, and they come all the time to get shared.

And so when it's time for the sheep to get killed the sheep will follow that shepherd to its death not saying a word, not even bleating because they've learned to trust the shepherd. There's no fear at all in these sheep. The analogy, then, is like that. He opened not his mouth. When Jesus was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin, the high priests, the Jewish leaders, and they accused him falsely, they said he did stuff he didn't do. Jesus didn't say, uh uh, I didn't do that. That's a lie. He said nothing. The Bible puts it this way, but Jesus kept silent. Then they brought him to Herod. And Herod, it says, questioned him with many words, but Jesus answered him nothing. Then he went before Pilate again, and the Bible says he answered him not one word.

And Pilate marveled. You know why Pilate marveled? Pilate had seen a lot of prisoners before, none silent. All of them going, let me go, I didn't do it, I'm not worthy of this punishment. All sorts of excuses. This one was silent. Silence can be intimidating. Right? We get nervous, just, is he going to say something? And when you're with somebody that you're talking to and they're silent, it's a little spooky. Because they're thinking something, you just don't know what it is. They're thinking stuff about you, you just don't know what it is.

So it's intimidating, but silence affords you the ability to think. So Pilate was about to make a decision that wouldn't just affect Jesus, it would affect him for eternity. And I think Jesus was silent to give him space, just think about this, buddy. Think about what you're doing. Think about what you're deciding. And perhaps one of the reasons we say God is silent, he's not speaking to me, I wish he'd speak to me, maybe he's silent at this portion in your life, this time in your life because he wants to give you time to think about what you already know you need to do that is right. And he'll give you further revelation as you do what you think through and know to do.

Quickly notice this, it's a noticeable feature about this prophecy is that so much of it is put in the past tense. Now, Isaiah is writing about the servant who is coming 700 years before Jesus came, but notice the past tense verbs. Verse four, "surely he has borne our griefs, carried our sorrows." verse five, "he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities," et cetera, et cetera.

There's so many verbs put in the past tense even though it's a future event. Scholars call this the prophetic past tense. Why would God not say it's going to happen rather than it did happen? Here's why. God is so sure that it is going to happen that he writes about it as though it already did happen. And it did happen. He writes about it in such a sure way as if it already had.

One author writes this, this section, Isaiah 53, contains unarguable, incontrovertible proof that God is the author of scripture and Christ the fulfillment of messianic prophecy. The details are so minute that no human could have predicted them by accident and no imposter could fulfill them by cunning. 700 years before Jesus came to Earth. There's something else I want you to notice. He will be a substitutionary servant. That's the language of the chapter, right? There's a lot of language of somebody taking somebody else's place, namely our place. Look at verse four.

Surely he has borne, what, our griefs and carried our sorrows. Verse five, he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed. Down to verse eight, the last part, for the transgressions of my people he was stricken. Verse 10, you made his soul an offering for sin. Verse 12, and he bore the sin of many. This chapter points out a collective problem that we face, we being every human being born on Earth. The collective problem is put in these words, griefs, sorrows, transgressions, iniquities, sin. Roman 3:23 says, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Now, if you don't believe that verse that all have sinned, like you might be thinking, well all of those guys sinned, they sinned, but not all have sinned. Well, if you don't believe you have, then you'll never seek a savior. This tells us of the collective problem. The problem is we all have a sorrow that comes from a sickness that is brought on by sinfulness, and our sickness requires a specialist, in fact, a substitute.

Isaiah 53, this chapter answers a question that is the most important question that every human or any human being could ask. It is more vital, more monumental, more central than any other question a human being could ever ask. In fact, this question supersedes questions about where you're going to live, who you're going to marry, how many children you're going to have. This question is more important than your questions about your personal finances, or your physical health, or your mental health, and it happens to be the most avoided question of all.

If you were to Google life's most important question like I did this week, you won't find the answer on Google. Isn't that interesting? I googled life's most important question, and I got back 630 million results. All with all sorts of issues, what's the most important question in the world that anybody could ever ask except for this one? And here's the question. The question is, how can a person be right with God? I'll ask it in another way. How can an unrighteous person ever be made right with a perfectly righteous God? I'll ask it a little bit differently. How can a sinner be saved so as to escape eternal hell and enjoy eternal heaven?

That's the central question. This chapter answers it, Book of Romans answers it. And the answer is this, the servant must become the substitute. The servant must become the substitute. A sinner can be saved because the servant became the substitute for the sinner. So all of God's wrath, all of God's judgment that is deserved because of transgression, griefs, iniquity, sin, was put on him. He became the substitute. Now, because of all of that being true, the last is true. And that is, he is a saving servant. Because he substituted, he is a saving servant.

Go back to chapter 52, to look at verse 15, "and so shall he sprinkle many nations." Now, that's a phrase, that's a term that refers back to the time of Moses when the high priest would dip hyssop into blood, blood of a lamb, and sprinkle on the mercy seat to atone for the sins of the nation. He, this perfect servant who will be sinless, and silent, and substitutionary, will be saving because of that. He will sprinkle many nations. That's how he saves. And I love that it says many nations because he'll come to not just atone for the sins of one nation, naming Israel, but all of the nations, many nations. For God so loved the world that He gave his Son.

This is the heart of the gospel. This is Christianity 101, the innocent takes the place of the guilty. Paul understood this so well that he could take a whole book and write about it, Romans, but he could also sum it up in a single verse. Here's the single verse, 2 Corinthians 5:21, one of my favorite verses of all time. You've heard me quote it maybe 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 times if you've been here that long.

2 Corinthians 5:21, here it is. God made Him, Jesus, who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Or God treated Jesus Christ like you and I deserved to be treated so that he could treat us like Jesus Christ deserves to be treated. That's substitution, and that is salvation. So the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God. The essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. He took our place.

But there is a word that haunts me, and it's the word many. Go down to verse 11 as we close. Look how he puts that sentence. By his knowledge, my righteous servant shall justify who? Many. Boy, it would would be a lot easier, wouldn't it be, for all of us if he just said he'll justify all? But he won't justify all. He'll justify many, not all. Why? Why not all? Because not all will let this servant be their substitute. You'll have a few people go, I'm good. I don't need Jesus. I don't need any savior. I'm going to work my way, I'm going to take my chances. Not a good plan. Not a good plan.

It's funny, I've done funerals and I've been in a lot of funerals, hundreds of them over the years. And I've been to some funerals where I know the person who died, didn't want anything to do with God or very, very loosely something, just God's kind of out there. And then suddenly they die and it's like they're holy all of a sudden. It's like they'll find some preacher that'll push him into heaven.

Well, he's in heaven now playing golf in that great fairway in the sky. I go, heaven? He couldn't have cared less about heaven while he was here. Not all are justified. Many are, but many are not because not all will let the servant be their substitute. Listen, God has a big eraser but you've got to admit you've got some smudges before those smudges get erased. I may be able to bail you out of a traffic ticket. And if that's my claim to fame, OK. But I cannot bail you out of an eternal citation. But I do know somebody who can. I know somebody who came. I know somebody who gave his perfect sinless life for us, and that's why we enjoy salvation, and that's why we are so happy. Because we realized I didn't earn it. I don't deserve it. But it's a gift, and I've received it.

Our Father in heaven, we thank you for Jesus, the perfect servant of Yahweh, the servant of the Lord, accomplishing what nobody else could accomplish, offering himself freely in death to take the place of transgressors, those who are sick spiritually, those who have committed sand and iniquity, which we all have, everybody has. We are all imperfect, we all need you, we all need your saving blood, all need your atoning grace. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you that many will be justified, and I pray that more would even today.

This morning as we close this service, I just want you to think about you for a moment, just about your life, your decision. You're sort of like Pontius Pilate now. What will you do with Jesus who is called Christ? What do you say about Him? Will you let Him be your substitute? Will you let the servant take your place? Have you ever done that? Have you ever cognizantly, decidedly said yes to Him as your savior? I'm not asking you if you're a churchgoer, if you're a religious person, or if your grandmother and parents took you to church, and believed in God, and you have a belief in God. I'm asking, have you ever personally turned your life over to Christ and asked him to be your savior?

If you haven't, do so this morning. Just a simple act of faith. If you're willing to do that, if you want to do that, I want to make it easy for you. I just want you to raise your hand. Our heads are bowed, our eyes are closed, I'm keeping mine open so I can see your hands. Raise your hand up in the air. And you're saying, now's the time today. Skip, pray for me, I'm going to give my life, I'm going to give a simple act of faith to Him.

God bless you to my left. Anybody else? Right here in the front. In the middle. Who else that I didn't see? Right over there to my right. In the family room, God bless you.

Father, for all these, thank you and just thank you, Lord, that you break through to different ones at different times. You break into our hearts, and you present yourself, and there's that acknowledgment like we see here. Thank you for that here. Thank you for these who raised their hand. Lord, thank you that we are so valuable to you, so important to you that you went through this for us. We're humbled, and some are deeply touched and are giving their lives to you. Help them, Lord, make a stand in Jesus' name, Amen.

Let's all stand. And as we do, as we sing this final song, if you raised your hand I'm going to now call you forward. Not to embarrass you, you're going to see. We're going to encourage you, as you come forward. We're going to hoot it up, and holler, and shout, and have a shindig, and have fun. So as you raised your hand, I'm going to ask you to find the nearest aisle, come stand here where in a moment I'm going to pray with you to receive Christ as your Savior. It'll take just a moment. Come on down stand right here.

If you're in the family room, come on through. If you're outside, a pastor will walk you here. If you're on the balcony, in the back, in the front, just stand right up here in the front.

You know why we're clapping for you? Because you're worth it. You're worth it. If you were worth it to Him to come and die for you, if he loves you that much, you're worth it when you make a decision to follow Him for us to encourage you this way. That's how much God loves you. We're just so honored that you have come forward. Anybody else want to come and join these who have walked forward so boldly? Anybody else? All right, so those of you who are forward or up front, I'm going to lead you now in a prayer. I'm going actually to say these words out loud after me. Say these words from your heart, mean them, say them to God. You're just asking, prayer's just talking to God, so let's pray. Say:

Lord, I give you my life. I admit I'm a sinner. Please forgive me. I believe in Jesus. I believe that he came to this Earth, that he died on a cross, that he did it for me, that he rose again. I turn from my sin, I turn to Jesus as my Savior. I want to live for Him as my Lord. I need your help, Amen.

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