Good evening to you all! It's good to be back with you in the Iron Hall again - the prodigal comes home once more! It's a real delight to renew fellowship with you, and I've been looking forward to these four weeks, in the will of the Lord, as we share together in this wonderful verse of Scripture that we're going to look at tonight, Isaiah chapter 9 and verse 6. There is a great deal in this little verse, and that's all we're going to look at for the next four studies. I don't know exactly how it will all split up, but we'll work it out as we go along and trust the Lord for that - but there is so much within this little verse, as we take the title for the whole series 'The Wonder of His Name'. Tonight, if you wish to have a title, it would be: 'A Child Born And A Son Given'.
So let's just read this verse together, Isaiah 9 verse 6: "For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace". Amen.
Perhaps we could come in prayer just for a moment. I know that our brother has already prayed, but there's something I want us to do - perhaps we could do it just now. Turn to Malachi chapter 3. Keep your finger or a marker in Isaiah 9, but turn over to Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, chapter 3. I received a very encouraging text - I'll not embarrass the man who sent it to me this morning - from someone who's here tonight. He was just encouraging me for the meetings for the next four weeks, and he quoted this little verse that, frankly, I had forgotten all about, but that I want us to claim tonight and indeed the next three Monday nights as we come to study. I really don't want you going out - you'll probably not go out with more knowledge in your head anyway, listening to me! - but I don't want you to just go out having received something cerebral upstairs in your head, I want you to go out having learnt a bit more, experientially, about our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This is a wonderful verse that you ought to claim tonight, verse 16 in Malachi 3: 'Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name'.
Will you come with me and pray, and ask the Lord that He might bless you and speak to your heart, but that He might write your name in His book. We don't know what the book is, we don't need to know what it is, but it says here that there is a book and that God takes note of those who meditate on His name and talk about Him. Let's claim that together in prayer, and ask the Lord that He might speak to all our hearts this evening. Let us pray: Father, we thank You for sending Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into this world because You so loved us. Lord, we let those words roll off our tongues, we are so familiar with them - many of us here have known them since childhood - yet, Father, we want to move beyond mere intellectual knowledge, we want to move beyond sentiment. Lord, we want to move beyond Christmas festivity, we want to move right into Your heart, Father, in what it meant for You to send Your only begotten Son to be our Saviour. So, Father, we pray for the Holy Spirit to come and to minister Christ - not only to our minds, but to our hearts, to our souls, to our spirits, that we might be richer in the knowledge of Him. O God, we ask that He would manifest His presence in this place tonight by the power of His Holy Spirit through the preaching of the word. Oh Lord, those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name. O God, we don't deserve it, but in Christ's name be pleased to bless us tonight, for His glory alone, Amen.
So, back to Isaiah 9, please, and verse 6. Now, names mean a great deal to us today in our world. All you have to observe is a young couple deliberating over the name of a newborn, and the thought, and hopefully the prayer as well, that goes into such a decision - because our names are important. But though we value our names, it's nothing in comparison to what name meant in Hebrew culture, particularly in the Old Testament but also in the New; because, enshrined within any name, was meaning. When you gave a child a name, it meant something - and it even could mean something regarding revelation. We might say it could mean something 'prophetically'. It could actually be a blessing upon a child's life or, for that matter, a curse. We see that within Scripture. So names have inherent meaning in the word of God.
Take the very first man, Adam. God created him from the dust of the ground, He breathed into him and he became a living soul - and God called him 'Adam'. 'Adam', of course, in Hebrew means 'earth', speaking of how he came about, and reminding us all that in the beginning God created. If you go to the patriarch Abram, and we see that God changed his name 'Abram', which means 'exalted' or 'high father', to 'Abraham' - and that little addition meant 'father of many'. Of course, it is laughable when you consider that he was, along with Sarah, childless - and yet this was prophetic, this was an act of faith, God giving him this name to show that this is what he would become. You and I, as Gentiles, are children of Abraham by faith; and the Jews, of course, are natural children of Abraham by their lineage. When Abraham and Sarah were told by God that in old age they would have a son, they did laugh - not just about his name, but the promise. Of course, the son that would be born was called 'Isaac', which means 'laughter' - meaning in his name.
Now, the converse is also true: names can have negative connotations. There are several examples we could give, but one that stands out to me is - you remember during the wicked days of Eli the high priest, the Ark of the Covenant was stolen by the Philistines. Hophni and Phinehas, Eli's two sons, were killed in the battle - judgement against them, because they had made themselves wicked in the eyes of God. You remember when Eli heard the news of the death of his sons, and the stealing of the Ark, he fell and he died. The story goes that Eli's daughter-in-law, Phinehas' wife, was with child. Not long after that she gave birth, and we read in 1 Samuel 4 that: 'She named the child Ichabod, saying, 'The glory has departed from Israel!' because the ark of God had been captured and because of her father-in-law and her husband'. 'Ichabod', the glory has departed - such meaning and revelation concerning a nation, who were estranged from their covenant God.
Now, when it comes to divine names this principle of meaning and revelation, well, it applies all the more because the names of God have great instruction for us and, indeed, I would say that there is a dual revelation in most of the names of God. First of all, there is a revelation concerning the character of God Himself. When we find a name of God, He is telling us something about His personality and His nature - but that's not where it ends. There is also a revelation, not only about God Himself, but about His provision for us and His relation toward us in the covenant that we have with Him. So there is something to learn for us in God's name. There's a little line, I think it's in a chorus, that goes: 'Every name that He bears is a blessing He shares'. I want you to remember that as we go through this series.
Now let's start going way back to the book of Exodus to show this revelation that is often in God's name. Turn with me to Exodus chapter 6 verse 2: 'And God spoke to Moses and said to him: 'I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD'' - capital L-O-R-D, which signifies 'Jehovah' in the original Hebrew language - ''by My name LORD'', or 'Yahweh', 'Jehovah', ''I was not known to them''. Now, that's significant. In chapter 3, if you turn back to the burning bush incident in verse 14, perhaps verse 13 to get the idea of where verse 14 comes in: 'Moses said to God, 'Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?'. And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM'. And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'''. Now, that name 'I AM WHO I AM' is a statement about the character and nature of God. God was saying to Moses: 'I am incomprehensible, and I am self-sufficient'. You see that statement, 'I AM WHO I AM', it's like a full circle without a break: God is God - and that's something hard for us to appreciate. Incomprehensible, because He is self-sufficient - but when we turn to chapter 6 and verse 3, there is obviously something being revealed here that is significant. There is something new, there is something precious, there is a fresh revelation of God's person-hood that has been given to Moses that hadn't been given to any of the other patriarchs. So the question is: what is it?
Well, it's obviously a revelation about Himself - that He is self-sufficient, 'I AM' - but, when you think about it, even in our English language, 'I AM' is an unfinished sentence, isn't it? 'I AM' has no object. 'I AM' what? Simply 'I AM'. So the revelation that comes to us about God's character is: He is self-sufficient, He is incomprehensible - but when it comes to us, there is a dual revelation, there is something that it is saying to us. It's saying this: 'I AM whatever my people need' - that's what God was revealing to Moses! Moses, who was being commissioned to go to the nation of Egypt who had God's people in bondage and slavery, and he, as this coward soul, was going to go and deliver them - and he needed to know that God was able for the task. He didn't think he was able, he knew that, 40 years in the desert had knocked all self-sufficiency out of Moses. Of course, when he was a younger man, he was going to deliver Israel by his own arm of flesh, and he slew the Egyptian that had smote a Hebrew - he was going to do it himself! But through 40 years in the desert God knocked all self-sufficiency out of him, and then he starts making excuses - and then God reveals to him: 'I AM whatever you need, Moses'.
So the dual revelation here, particularly for us, is the Lord's provision. He, in Himself, is self-sufficient - that's hard for us to appreciate, isn't it? But what He is saying is: 'The moment human need arises, your need arises, I become just what you need' - now that's something we can appreciate! Some over-pious souls will say: 'It's selfish to always see your need in God, to always be looking for what He will do for you. You should just appreciate God for who He is'. Well, I suppose it is selfish if all that we're interested in is getting our needs met without any appreciation of God's person, but you've got to understand: God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in our need. How dare any of us contradict the means by which He chooses to reveal Himself. You see, God knows the way we are, for God made us; and He knows how we have become through our fallenness. He knows that we need dependency, we need provision, we need help! He is well aware that the context in which we can truly appreciate God is the context of our human need.
'I AM' is effectively a blank cheque, isn't it? 'I AM' what? Well, you fill in the cheque, what do you need? God says: 'I AM whatever you need'. It is faith that fills in that blank cheque. When the need arises in our lives, God is saying: 'I AM, I AM able for your need, whatever it is'. So the principle here is: where there is need, there is God. Sometimes in the Old Testament this blank cheque is filled in for us. Some examples are the nine compound names of Jehovah. For instance, in Genesis 22 you have 'Jehovah-Jireh', which means 'God will provide'. You remember Abraham went up to the Mount with Isaac to sacrifice him, and he thought he was going to have to kill his only son, and God stopped him, and God provided a ram in the thicket. The Bible says that he called that place 'Jehovah-Jireh', 'God provides', He provided the lamb. The second is 'Jehovah-Nissi', 'The Lord my banner'. You find it in Exodus chapter 17, and as the children of Israel were coming out of Egypt, their first battle and subsequent victory was against the fierce Amalekites. God having given them the victory, Moses built an altar, and he called it 'Jehovah-Nissi', 'The Lord my banner', God defends us in our battles.
A third compound name is 'Jehovah-Shalom', 'The Lord my peace'. We have to go into the book of Judges for this, and the character of Gideon - who, if you know anything about him, was filled with fear, one of the most cowardly characters in the Bible, and yet God came to him and said: 'You mighty man of valour', because God had something He wanted him to do. Gideon was so afraid that he pulled down the idol in his father's backyard in the dead of night, and yet God came to this man, and God gave this man His peace in the midst of crippling fear and anxiety to do His purpose. We read in Judges that Gideon built an altar unto the Lord after defeating the Midianites, and he called it 'Jehovah-Shalom', 'The Lord my peace'.
The fourth is 'Jehovah-Sabaoth', 'The Lord of hosts', and we find this in Isaiah chapter 6, where Isaiah, in the year that King Uzziah died, saw the Lord high and lifted up, His train filling the Temple. The Seraphim and the Cherubim cried: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God of hosts', 'The Lord God of angels', the Captain of heaven's armies - this is 'Jehovah-Sabaoth'. The fifth is found in Exodus 31 verse 13, 'Jehovah-Mekaddishkem', which simply means 'The Lord your Sanctifier'. There God was instructing the people, through Moses, that the sign of God's covenant with them was the Sabbath rest. He told them: 'If you keep My sign, My sabbath, I will be the LORD who will sanctify you, I will set you apart as a special people'.
The sixth is 'Jehovah-Rohi' - you all know this, whether you realise it or not. In Psalm 23 verse 1: 'The Lord is my Shepherd' - 'Jehovah-Rohi'. The seventh is 'Jehovah-Tsidkenu', we sometimes sing about it in Murray M'Cheyne's great hymn, 'The Lord our Righteousness', we find that in Jeremiah 23. Then there is another in Ezekiel, 'Jehovah-Shammah', which means 'The Lord, He is there', He is present. It speaks of Jerusalem in a day that is yet to be in the future, when the Lord's presence, His Shekinah glory, will again dwell there. It did leave in Ezekiel's day, but it will return again in the future. The ninth is 'Jehovah-Rapha', which is 'The Lord our Healer'. We find in Exodus 15 that, as the children of Israel were travelling through the wilderness, God warned them that if they were obedient to His laws and commands none of the diseases that came upon the Egyptians would come upon them, for the Lord would be their Healer, 'Jehovah-Rapha'.
But do you know what is the supreme compound name of Jehovah in the whole of Scripture? We've got to go to the New Testament, and it is the name 'Je-sus', Jesus. It simply means 'Jesus saves', and it is in effect a contraction of 'Jehovah' and 'sus', simply meaning 'I AM your salvation', and of course it's the same as the Old Testament 'Joshua', 'Yeshua'. The point is this, putting all of this together: if we have laid down a principle as 'God reveals Himself in His name, wherever there is need, there is God', one of these days God, in the whole history of mankind, is going to have to meet the greatest need, He's going to have to deal with our sin. Not only 'Where there is need, there is God', but 'Where there is sin, there is Jesus'. Now this is profound, because need is not always blameworthy - do you understand what I mean when I say that? I mean, if you see a hungry child and it asks, like Oliver, 'Please Sir, can I have more?', you don't blame that child - but sin is blameworthy. Yet the magnificent grace of our God is this: He sees us in our fallen state, and it's our own fault, and He comes to us in His marvellous mercy and provides what we need.
So we have 'Je-sus', 'Jehovah-Saves', and therefore it is no coincidence that when we come into John's Gospel we have the seven 'I ams' of Christ. 'I am the bread of life to feed the hungry soul', 'I am the light of the world to dispel all darkness', 'I am the Good Shepherd to lead My sheep out of one fold into My fold', 'I am the door to lead them out and to lead them in, and to find pasture', 'I am the resurrection and the life, so that where there is death I can bring life here and now', 'I am the way to direct you, not only in life but in eternity, to the Father', 'I am the true vine, so that before you even enter heaven you can have a relationship with Me if you abide in Me, and My word abide in you'. Seven times 'I am', and then we go to the end of the New Testament - and what do we find there? What's the last book in the Bible? We call it 'Revelation', but it's actually 'The Revelation of Jesus Christ' - and there, right away in chapter 1, we hear Him say: 'I am He that liveth, that liveth and was dead', I am He! 'And behold, I am alive forevermore, and have the keys of Hades and of Death'. There is a little chorus, and I don't think it's sung anywhere as far as I know - it's bound to be sung somewhere, but I have never heard it sung. It was sung years ago, and it goes like this:
'Jesus Christ is made to me
All I need, all I need'.
Does anybody know it?
'He alone is all my need;
He is all I need.
Wisdom righteousness and power,
Holiness this very hour,
My redemption full and sure,
He is all I need'.
700 years before Jesus was born Isaiah the prophet prophesied in chapter 9 and verse 6 the uniqueness of Messiah in relation to our need. So there is a dual revelation: something about God is being revealed, but something of our need that can be found in God alone and in His Christ. So we read, and this is what we're looking at tonight: 'A Child is born, and a Son is given'. Now many point out that this is a literary repetition. I don't want to blind you with science - I couldn't do it anyway - but there is in Hebrew writing what is called 'Hebrew parallelisms', and you often find it in the Psalms, where a thing is repeated. If you read the Psalms you'll find this, an idea is repeated but in different language. Sometimes you can read too much into the second part, the repetition, because it often only means what the first was saying. It's a mechanism in Hebrew poetry - but here, though there might be literary repetition when Isaiah says 'a child is born, a son is given', we believe in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit; which means that the Holy Spirit is moving this man in his exact wording, to say 'a child is born, a son is given' - and there's a difference here.
What the Holy Spirit is pointing out is: the dual nature of the Lord Jesus Christ, that He would be both God and man. As a child, He would be born; but as the Divine Son, He would be given. You see the difference. I want you to understand, primarily, not the theology of this, but how this great gift, unspeakable, indescribable gift of the Father, how it meets our need - that's what I want you to grasp! A child is born and a Son is given - but let's think about a few hypothetical questions. First of all: could Messiah not have been an angel? Why did a child have to be born and a Son given? Could some great archangel, or cherubim, or seraphim not come - or a new creation of God, angelically speaking, a celestial being come and deliver us? Or, for that matter, could God not just come without clothing Himself in humanity? Well, the answer is 'No' on both scores - because, in order to meet our need, the Saviour had to be a man to make atonement for us, to bleed and to die for us, to make a sacrifice on the behalf of humankind. Also, and sometimes we often miss this point, He had to be a man in order to be our Great High Priest.
Let me show you this from the book of Hebrews, chapter 2 beginning to read at verse 14, do turn with me to it. Hebrews 2:14: 'Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels', He's not coming to be the Saviour of celestial beings, 'but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted'.
He must be born, in order to be flesh and blood, to die. Only flesh and blood can die, and He had to bleed and die. He had to be flesh and blood to be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, to be our Great High Priest. You see, the ministry of salvation is not over, He's still engaging in it at the right hand of the Father on high for us. He must be born. Then another hypothetical question arises: could He not have come as a fully grown man? Why did He have to be born? I mean, Adam was created with apparent age, we don't know what that age was - but, just like the tree in the Garden of Eden, if you had cut it, I believe you would have seen rings; so Adam was given age, he was a fully grown man. Could the Lord Jesus not have come as such? Well, I suppose He could have, but that would not have met our need. For Jesus to fully identify with humanity, He must pass through the human experience.
The Lord Jesus Christ had to pass through conception, granted it was the conception of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, but it was conception nonetheless, though supernatural. The Creator had to become a foetus. Then the Lord Jesus Christ had to go through what we call 'gestation', the Creator of time, the Originator of time had to wait nine months to be born. He had to then endure birth - now, as a man, I'm not going to even attempt to explain what that is like - but the Creator of the universe, who created the reproductive system, He had to pass through a human birth canal; and be born not into a clean, clinical maternity ward, but into a stable. He then had to pass through babyhood - and the Infinite, the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him, the Infinite, well, He becomes an infant of several inches long.
Someone said: 'What a contrast with the Greek gods. They descended to earth fully grown with supernatural powers, but the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the God of gods, He comes as a babe'. What condescension! Is it any wonder Paul said to Timothy: 'Great is the mystery of godliness'? It brings an all-new understanding to that statement in Philippians chapter 2, listen: 'He made Himself of no reputation, but took upon Himself the form of a servant'. There's nothing more helpless or more dependent than a child, yet He became a child - because that's what we needed. Can I tell you something: it's more than just condescension, it's more than just His humility - that's not the only reason why He became a child - it is as much about appreciation as condescension. What do I mean? I mean simply: He had to understand the human process, He had to know what it was like to pass through childhood. Luke testifies for us: 'The child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him'.
Now don't ask me to try and explain it, or enter into the minutiae of it - I cannot do that! But all I know is: in this great mystery of incarnation, He was a child, and He grew, and He learned. I can't explain how, but I can explain why. Here's the first reason: why did He do it? Why was the Child born? Very simply: for children. I think this is beautiful: to be able to say to little boys and girls, 'The Lord of Glory was a child'. For me to come to my daughter, Lydia, and say: 'Lydia, Jesus knows what it's like to be nine years old', 'Noah, Jesus knows what it's like to be five years old' - and I probably need to put in there 'apart from sin' with him! But isn't that precious? Isn't it? Not only did our Lord - and we often take solace from this - He took the children on His knee and He blessed them, but He was a child!
Not only did He become a child for children, but He became a child for adults who were children. I know that's a long way back for some of you, you maybe can't remember it. Many of us have very happy memories as children, but most in this world - believe it or not - don't. They have scarred childhoods, but isn't it wonderful that to such children we can say: 'You have a Saviour who was a child, who passed through childhood'. So many children in our world are being bullied and abused, maybe you were a bullied child, or abused? I'm encountering in these days a lot of people who have been abused, mentally, emotionally, sexually, physically. Do you know that the Lord Jesus Christ, they said of Him that He was illegitimate? Did you know that they said His mother was loose? Many are growing up today with absent parents, a father or a mother who has deserted them. Effectively the Lord Jesus, through death most likely, the death of His guardian, Joseph, grew up in a one parent family. The Lord Jesus knows what it was like to grow up in such a home. Maybe you have grown up, and you look back on your childhood and you resent the responsibility that you felt was above your years that was foisted upon you. Maybe, for one reason or another, you feel that you've lost your childhood? The Lord Jesus was an elder brother in a home, most likely, with several siblings, with all the stresses in a small home with lots of sinful children around - and He was the breadwinner in the carpenter's shop.
Now, of course, the Lord Jesus was never a parent - but don't you think for one moment that He does not understand the pressures of bringing up children. The Child had to be born for children, for adults, for all of us - not just to be a man, but to be a child. We'll sing it in a couple of weeks:
'For He is our childhood's pattern;
Day by day, like us, He grew;
He was little, weak, and helpless,
Tears and smiles, like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness'.
Another question relates to not only the Child being born, but the Son given. Hypothetically we might ask: could He not have been a perfect man like Adam, why did He have to be God? But it says here 'a Son is given' - the Child born, that's His humanity; but the Son given is His deity. Now please note, this is important: He wasn't born to become 'Son', He was born to become a Child, a human - but He was given because He already was 'Son'; that's what we call the 'the eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ'. He didn't become the Son of God when He entered into humanity, He was given as the Son of God. There was a time when He wasn't man, but there was never a time when He wasn't the Son. But why did the Son have to be given? Well, we needed a perfect, an infinite being, to offer a perfect and infinitely satisfying atonement on our behalf for our sins - that's why He had to be both God and man. He had to be man to die for men, but He had to be God to make an eternal sacrifice for sins forever that would be perfect to satisfy God the Father.
That's why in chapter 7 He's called Immanuel, verse 14, 'God with us'. This Child born - we just get used to all these things, don't we, at Christmas? 'He came down to earth from heaven' - this Child born was the second Person of the triune Godhead, given by the Father for your need. Think of it! Think of it like this: the Godhead had taken humanity into itself - never before! Not only has the God had taken upon itself humanity, but it will forever own humanity, because Jesus will eternally remain a man. Believer, there is a man on the throne of God in heaven now! If Jesus were not fully man, He could not stand in the place of sinful men, He could not be a substitute for the punishment man deserves - but if He were not fully God His sacrifice would be insufficient. If He were not fully God and fully man, you and I would be lost in our sins - but He is! For a Child was born, and a Son was given.
But there's something else we want to cover tonight, and it's this statement: 'And the government will be upon His shoulder'. Now I have no doubt in my mind that this is referring prophetically to a day that is yet to be, when Christ will reign in His kingdom upon the earth for 1000 years - you can read about it in the book of Revelation - and He will reign over all the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. There is, of course, further reference to that in verse 7 of chapter 9: 'Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this'. When the Lord Jesus came to earth, though He was the promised Son of David, and He was the King of the Jews and still is the King of the Jews, He did not take up the throne of His father, David, as King. He will do in a day that is yet to be, and we read many wonderful descriptions - some of them in Isaiah's prophecy - about that great day.
But do you know something? Before taking the government of the world upon His shoulder, He would have to take a cross, He would have to die upon it bearing in His body the sins of the world. Before He could wear a diadem of glory, He would have to wear a crown of thorns, He would have to give His life as the sacrifice for this world. This kingly Lion of Judah first had to come as the lowly Lamb of God, for until the debt of sin had been paid, God's righteous government could not be established.
Now, I would love to take time tonight in thinking what Earth will be like when Jesus reigns. All you have to do is sort of look around you, and read the paper, and watch the news, and think of the exact opposite to infinity of what that is now presently as a reality. But do you know something? I don't think that we have to wait until the future to know the government of Jesus Christ personally. I believe there is a spiritual application to this truth, because we as believers are meant to give the government of our lives over to the Lord now. We're meant to pray: 'His kingdom come, His will be done in our lives on earth, as it is in heaven'. You don't have to wait to the millennium! You know, when you give Jesus the government of your life, everything that is expressed in His names becomes real to you - every name that He bears becomes a blessing that He shares, but you've got to have His government in your life.
Warren Weirsbe describes it like this, and we'll be going through it these weeks, he says: 'When it describes the Lord Jesus as 'Wonderful' here, that deals with the dullness of life. He is Wonderful, no dullness where Jesus is! When it says He is the 'Counsellor', that deals with the decisions of life. You have the Lord, you have His guidance, His eye is upon you. You hear a voice behind you saying: 'This is the way, walk in it. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me'. He is the 'Mighty God', that takes care of the demands of life. He's not just a man, but He's God, and He is able for whatever demands, upon us. 'Everlasting Father', or 'Father of Eternity', that deals with the dimensions of our Saviour. There's nothing going on at this present time in the universe that He is ignorant of' - and that means there's nothing going on in your life, my friend, that He does not know. 'Prince of Peace', that speaks for itself, and takes care of the disturbances of our lives, that are so many, and of this world. When your mind, your body, your will and your heart have given over to the government of Jesus, and He reigns in your life, the government is upon His shoulder. It's beautiful, what a great Saviour we have! What a Great High Priest!
Note please, not only does He know what you're going through because He was flesh and blood, sin apart, because He was man, but because He is God He is able to do something about it! Hallelujah! He doesn't even need to take the weight of the world upon His shoulders, plural, He only needs to use one shoulder, singular! Do you see it? One of the most favourite passages of Scripture I'm sure to many is Matthew chapter 11, you might want to turn to it. Matthew chapter 11, and I want to get very personal with you now with these truths. I highlight my Bible, I have a little colour code, and I highlight all promises in orange. I highlight particularly evangelistic verses, gospel verses, in yellow. You don't have to do it that way, by the way, but that's the way I do it! I have these verses, verses 28, 29, and 30 in orange - they are promises, and they are in brackets in yellow, so that means simply to me that there is a gospel application - but this is primarily a promise to me and every child of God. If you're honest, most of these three verses are preached in the context of evangelism and the gospel, but they are to us: 'Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light'.
The Lord Jesus is saying to a great crowd. Most of them, I have to say, were being weighed down by religious burdens. The Pharisees were laying extra burdens upon them and, as Jesus said, 'You lay heavy burdens on men, but you will not relieve them with one of your fingers'. They just burdened people, they didn't liberate them - the Lord Jesus came to liberate burdens, to take them away. He said: 'Come to Me with your burden, and I will give you rest'. He also said: 'Take My yoke upon you, and learn of me'. Now the Lord Jesus didn't just know what He was talking about because He's God, but He knew what He was talking about when He spoke about a yoke - because He had made them with His own hands as a carpenter. Many a time he would make easy yolks, do you know what an easy yoke is? A yoke that fits well on the oxen, a yoke that will not rub against them, cause blisters, and chafe, a yoke that is well fitting. This is what the farmer would do: he would yoke an old beast, old ox, with a younger ox, so that the younger could learn from the older. In effect what would happen is: the older ox would take the majority of the weight. What the Lord Jesus was saying was: 'Take My yoke, My yoke will not chafe, My yoke will not be painful. I will take the burden and the load on My shoulder, but you must take My yoke and learn of me'.
Do you know what we do? Many of us as believers, we answer this verse in salvation, and we say: 'Lord, I'm coming to You with my burdens, here they are, and I'll take Your yoke' - but we struggle against the yoke. We wrestle against the yoke, and we cause for ourselves discomfort and pain. Sometimes we don't take Christ's yoke, do you know what often we do? We come and answer the request of the Lord, and we give Him all the burdens that we have had before we were converted, and then somebody comes along and he gives us a whole load more burdens and we take those on. The only burdens we ought to take are the burdens that Christ gives us - that's His yoke, and He takes the weight when we give the government to Him.
The Internet is a wonderful thing, I googled a question: 'How many types of government are there in the world?'. You know there are at least 50 types of manmade governments in our society and in human history, but there's only one that works: the government that is upon His shoulders. One day, I believe soon, this world is going to see it - but do you see it? Is the governing of your life given over to Him? Is there someone here tonight that needs to give the government of their life over to Him? Is it any wonder He is called 'Wonderful'? We'll spend time looking at that next week, but the glory of who He is, the glory of what He has done for us - it ought to fill us with wonder! You see, you cannot really look at Jesus, and really know Him, and not wonder. Listen: you can't spend time, as we read from Malachi 3:16, meditating upon Him and His names, and be bored! Do you see if we're bored - sometimes we're bored in church, I've been bored in church! Sometimes I'm bored when I read my Bible, and sometimes I'm bored when I'm praying - but I'm not seeing Jesus when I'm bored, for you will never see Jesus, truly see Jesus, and not wonder! Your mind, your heart, your soul, and your spirit will be filled with amazement: 'Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called' - say it with me - 'Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace'. Amen.
Father, we thank You for the Lord Jesus Christ, Your unspeakable, indescribable gift. Lord, how can we ever attempt to extol Him, or to praise Him as we ought? A thousand tongues would not be able to sing His great praise. Yet, Lord, from these weak, beggarly bodies and souls, we would seek to honour Him, we would seek to express to You - the only way we can - that we love Him, and we appreciate Him, that He was a Child born, but He was Your Son given. Lord, may we freely tonight, all of us, relinquish the government of our lives to Him, that we might know the peace and the rest of His sufficient saving and keeping, as our Saviour and High Priest. O, we bless Your name for the Lord Jesus Christ, we offer up His praise in His name, Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at the Iron Hall Evangelical Church in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the first recording in his 'The Wonder Of His Name' series, entitled "A Child Born And A Son Given" - Transcribed by Preach The Word.
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