The Church in Ephesus was a Church that was in declension in regards to love. They had departed from that they once knew in glowing fervour and had grown cold in that most vital of areas. The heat of the battle had done something to them. All that contention against the false had jaded their glow of love. Simply put, their love had grown cold in Jesus because they had lost that vital love relation with Him!! Oh, Brethren, if this can happen in a marriage, it can happen with the Lord. We grow estranged. Other things come in, we stop spending devotional time with Him and before we know it, we’re going through the religious motions. What effect do you think it will have on other relationships? Cold here...cold everywhere!!!! Brethren, it is our God-given responsibility to love others, but we can’t love as we ought without the Lord!!
Imagine being seated around the table on the night of the Last Supper with the twelve. As you’re enjoying some last and final moments together with the Lord, Jesus suddenly turns and interjects these words, “...Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me”. You try to compose yourself — who’s He talking to? Has an unwanted guest snuck in among us? Looking around, you realise, no, it’s only us—the twelve. We who have been His companions for the last 3½ years. We ate together, drank together, and slept together under the same canopy of night. We seldom ever left his side, how could it be that one of us should now betray him?
Having no idea or suspicion as to who the Lord could possibly be pointing to, they began each of them to point the finger at themselves! Oh, Brethren, we have a great need in this deceitful and perilous hour, to put the spotlight on ourselves and to ask the Lord this question in earnest. “Lord, is it I?”
1 Thessalonians 5:25
Some of the most profound and sublime truths in life are not found in the abundance of paragraphs, but in the trimmed leanness of a single sentence. Take for instance the sentence, “I love you” — it’s not rocket science, you don’t need a degree to understand its meaning, and yet it speaks a thousand words. How about, “I’m sorry” — two words strung together in three syllables, taking a single second to say, and yet how much irreversible damage could have been prevented if someone would only have stood up to say these elementary words, “I’m sorry”. How many wars could have been averted? How many innocent lives could have been saved from premature death?
In this sermon, we take just four words at the close of Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians as the subject matter for consideration. Four words, don’t seem like a lot, but as we shall see, the strength and power of these words are life-changing!
Isaiah is the most quoted prophet in the New Testament Scriptures, and one of the most quoted books, second only to that of Psalms. It has been referred to by scholars as a miniature Bible. There are 66 Books in the Bible, and there are 66 chapters in the Book of Isaiah. There are two divisions in the Bible, and there are two divisions in the Book of Isaiah. The first part of the Bible (OT) is comprised of 39 Books, and the second (NT) is comprised of 27 Books. The Book of Isaiah? Ditto...39 chapters in the first division (1-39), 27 chapters in the second (40-66).
It is my heart to walk you through just one chapter — the first of the second great division, Isaiah chapter 40. As we walk together through this chapter, you will see that the central theme so prevalent in the second half of this Book —hope, the future restoration of Israel, salvation through her Messiah, is here found in this single opening chapter. It is my hope that we might fix our eyes on God so as to be encouraged.