Sermon Outlines

ISAIAH 52:13 - 53:12  13 See, my servant q  will act wisely 109 ; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. r  14 Just as there were many who were appalled s  at him 110 his appearance was so disfigured t  beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness u  15 so will he sprinkle v  many nations, 111 and kings w  will shut their mouths x  because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. y  1 Who has believed our message z  and to whom has the arm a  of the LORD been revealed? b  2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, c  and like a root d  out of dry ground.  He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance e  that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, f  and familiar with suffering. g  Like one from whom men hide h  their faces he was despised, i  and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, j  yet we considered him stricken by God, k   smitten by him, and afflicted. l  5 But he was pierced m  for our transgressions, n  he was crushed o  for our iniquities; the punishment p  that brought us peace q  was upon him, and by his wounds r  we are healed. s  6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, t  each of us has turned to his own way; u  and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity v  of us all. 7 He was oppressed w  and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; x  he was led like a lamb y  to the slaughter, z  and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression 112 and judgment a  he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; b  for the transgression c  of my people he was stricken. 113 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, d  and with the rich e  in his death,  though he had done no violence, f  nor was any deceit in his mouth. g  10 Yet it was the LORD'S will h  to crush i  him and cause him to suffer, j  and though the LORD makes 114 his life a guilt offering, k  he will see his offspring l  and prolong his days,  and the will of the LORD will prosper m  in his hand. 11 After the suffering n  of his soul, he will see the light o   of life  115 and be satisfied 116 ; by his knowledge 117 my righteous servant p  will justify q  many, and he will bear their iniquities. r   12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, 118 s   and he will divide the spoils t  with the strong, 119 because he poured out his life unto death, u  and was numbered with the transgressors. v  For he bore w  the sin of many, x  and made intercession y  for the transgressors.

 THE FOURTH SERVANT SONG Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12 contains what is known as the Fourth Servant Song. Isaiah contains four special poems or songs about a special servant who will come into the world to deal with our sins.

These poems were written hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus yet describe his life, ministry and death exactly. Therefore Christians see these poems to be fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The fourth poem introduces us to the tragic experience of the Servant Jesus, yet at the same time as it reveals to us his tragedy, it also reveals to us his triumph. The servant will be triumphant says the poem because he's going to be loyal to God, faithful to God, obedient to God.

In a world which wants to ignore God, this Servant lives for God and in his life reconciles sinful men to a holy God.

How does he reconcile men to God? The answer is that he suffers and is humiliated. The Jews understood this, and so do we, that when we sin suffering and humiliation come into our lives.

Yet the startling message of this song is that the Servant doesn't suffer because of his own sin, but because of ours. V.5 says "he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him." The servant Jesus took upon himself the fate that we deserved for our sin, so Jesus was not just a messenger, a prophet, a teacher, a good example, he was the very means by which God reconciled himself to men.

\1. GOD'S MESSAGE TO THE WORLD (52:13 - 15).

God's message is direct - you will reject my servant, but I will exalt him. The special mission of Jesus will apparently be a failure, but in reality it will be a complete success. 52:13 says "he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted." This is a picture of the cross. Jesus was raised and lifted up on to that cross to die. That did not look like exaltation, but it was the greatest moment in human history. Peter told the crowds in Acts 2:36 "This Jesus whom you crucified God made both Lord and Christ." The world in its sin killed Jesus and buried him, but God raised him from the dead and exalted him to his right hand side in heaven.

V.14 tells us what happened to Jesus on that cross - he was disfigured, marred beyond human likeness. His body flogged, hanging there, the skin torn off, bleeding, dying. That is what our sins did to Jesus. Yet that very blood which spilled from the cross is the sacrifice which cleanses us from our sin - 1 John 1:7 says "the blood of Jesus, Gods son, purifies us from every sin."

This tells us that God can take our worst and turn it all around, if we will turn to the cross and to Christ. Perhaps this has been a bad year for us, perhaps we have done things of which we are deeply ashamed, perhaps we have failed to do something which God has asked of us, if that is the case then God says to us "come to the cross and let me turn it around. Your failures can be my successes." This is God's message to the world - let me turn you around.

\2. THE WORLD'S MESSAGE TO GOD (53:1 - 9).\

The world's message to God is initially that of disbelief. The world wonders why it must be if it wants to return to God that it must first of all turn to Jesus who has been despised and rejected. The world looked and looks at Jesus and sees nothing on the outside to attract them to him - in fact his disfigurement and death might even repel them.

Yet what makes Jesus significant is not what he looked like on the outside - but who he was on the inside. He was God himself, born into human flesh. It was what Jesus did on the outside that saved the world - his whole life of obedience that took him to the cross.

The theme today is "The life of Jesus." We are remembering today that Jesus is special not just because of his birth, or his death, but also what happened between his birth and death - his sinless life of obedience. What did this sinless life lead him into - it led him to be rejected, humbled and hurt. People thought that it was God who was doing this to him, but the real cause of it was our sin. The servant suffers - but we are healed, the servant dies but we are offered life.

Vv 7 - 9 we have a prophecy foretelling the last days of Jesus. He will be unjustly accused, put to death and placed in a criminal's grave. He will be totally abandoned by men. As they closed over the stone over the tomb men in their sin thought that they had achieved what they wanted - they had got rid of God and sealed him in a box.

Is this what we have tried to do this year? Having heard a call to salvation, to baptism, to service in some way we have shoved it aside and in so doing have shoved Jesus aside as these people shoved Jesus into the tomb. Is this what God remembers 2020 for in your life - that this was the year in which you turned him down? That this was the year that you tried to deny that Jesus was the living Lord by keeping Jesus dead and buried?

You can change that - the decision is in your hands. God has done His bit, he looks for a response from you, from me. Will we now do what God wants - or will we brush Jesus aside once more?

\3. GOD'S MESSAGE TO THE WORLD AGAIN (53:10 - 13).\

The song closes with the affirmation that all that Jesus endured took place in the will of God. That Christ came to this world in the full knowledge that men would make him suffer and put him to death. As Jesus grew up he knew that he would be sacrificed, and having been sacrificed by the hands of sinful men God raises him up and gives him the place of royal honour and authority.

What does Jesus do now that God has exalted him? Does he try and get his revenge on us for the hurt and pain that we have caused him? No, v.12 tells us that he loves us so much that he spends his time praying for us, praying that we will obey his call and give our lives to him.

The message today is that the life of Christ, and the living Christ today, reflects a total commitment towards us.

The call today for us us is that we should think about totally committing ourselves to the life of Christ. We should surrender our failures and inadequacies to God and ask him to turn us around as surely as he turned around what we did to Jesus.

Today let's put the past behind us and go forward in our faith. Perhaps in a first time commitment to Christ, or to a personal rededication, or by offering ourselves for baptism, for fellowship for service.

Let us pray: as we enter into taking part in the Lords Table together as His Body.