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Salvation in Isaiah 43 (2)

Please read Hebrews 8

We began a fortnight ago to think about the ‘I am’ statements in Isaiah 43.

1. Verse 3 – The I AM of His Person.

3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:

God is holy and He is His people’s God and He is their saviour!

2. Verse 5 – The I AM of His personal Presence.

Fear not: for I am with thee:

The believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has in Him such a friend.

5 Fear not: for I am with thee:

Water and fire is to come – but I will be with thee. Temptations will come – but

Fear not: for I am with thee:

3. Then in Verse 10 – The I AM of spiritual Perception

Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

The people of Israel are in the finest position, says Isaiah, to distinguish the power of Jehovah and the powerlessness of idols. They have felt the difference. Jehovah has done marvellous things for them down the centuries. The idols have brought them nothing but grief! So – they will understand that I AM HE! In other words that Jehovah is recognised as the ONLY GOD.

Only God, the ‘I am’ of Spiritual Perception can make any difference.

4. Verse 11 – The I AM of His Protection

I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

The Prophet doubles this statement by Jehovah the sovereign Lord God – doubling in Hebrew poetry indicates a confirmation. And this is a confirmation of God’s being – that He is who He says He is – the only God.

and beside me there is no saviour.

Tonight we find four more ‘I am’ statements in Isaiah 43.

5. V 12 – The I AM of our Profession

therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

6. V 13 – The I AM of His Pre-existence.

Yea, before the day was I am he;

7. V 15 – The I AM of His Perfection

I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.

8. V 25 – The I AM of His Pardon

I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. The I AM of His Protection

Beginning then with

5. V 12 – The I AM of our Profession

therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

We can imagine this evening a courtroom scene. The Lord God is being challenged in court by those who deny His existence, His power, His creative acts and His saving love. We do not have to stretch our imaginations too far to realise that this scene is exactly what is going on in our society today. I was handed an article from last Friday’s newspaper. Sir Peter Vardy is funding yet another Christian Secondary school in the North of England which will ensure that the pupils attending will receive high class general education with a Christian ethos including the teaching of six day creation 4000 years before Christ alongside the theory of evolution. Other such schools have achieved excellent results in GCSE’s and received glowing Offsted reports. But Richard Dawkins the Oxford University professor who has absolute faith in Darwinian atheism has called for the plans to be scrapped. He said “I am not in favour of censorship in the classroom but teaching creationism is educational debauchery.”

Here are two witnesses. One speaks for his own atheistic belief and religion which denies Jehovah God.

The other witness speaks in court of his firm conviction that God in Jesus Christ is the only God. There is no god of atheism – there is only a man made religion of atheism – which God hates along with every other false belief.

A witness is a person who professes to know! The word witness comes from the Old English WITAN to know. What a witness knows that must the witness tell.

In verse 9 of chapter 43 God sends out a challenge to those who do not believe in Him –

9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.

Bring your witnesses saith the Lord! If you bring the truth you will be justified. If you can prove the value of your idols you may be vindicated. If your idols can do what I can do then your testimony shall stand. If you can bring evidence that your gods predicted certain things – and then they came to pass – then bring it!

However if the nations cannot meet the challenge then let them hear what God the Lord says.

I AM GOD! This is what God says. All Richard Dawkins can say is that he believes that there is no god.

But the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is a man or woman who can testify that he or she Knows God; that God knows him or her.

V 12 therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.

Quite often we come across a sign by the side of the road put there by the Police. It will say something like Can you help? Did you see? Witnesses wanted! Some accident has happened and witnesses are needed. The Police are looking for people who saw something or who know something about the accident.

God says to us, “You are my witnesses. You are witnesses that my grace has saved you, my love has filled you and my life has changed your life.

To His disciples just before He ascended to heaven the Lord Jesus said this –

7 It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

When we witness for the Lord Jesus Christ we are telling what we know. What do we know my friends? Do we know Him personally? Do we know Him as God the Almighty the great unchangeable I am? You are my witnesses that I am – I exist – I rule – I reign – I am God! The ‘I am’ of our profession that we know Jesus Christ as God!

John Cennick wrote these words –

“Now will I tell to sinners round,
What a dear saviour I have found!
I’ll point to His redeeming blood,
And say Behold the way to God!“

6. V 13 – The I AM of His Pre-existence.

Yea, before the day was I am he;

One of the mysteries of the gospel is that Jesus Christ the Man – God the man – the only begotten Son of God the man – the child conceived in and born of the virgin Mary – EXISTED BEFORE THESE THINGS HAPPENED.

How different is Christ the man from any of us human beings. Unlike you and me who received our souls at conception – the Lord Jesus Christ already existed.

Read John 1 v 1 – 4 and 14.

But it is not only this passage that teaches the pre-existence of Christ –

before the day was I am He.

Micah 5 v 2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

“Far before time, beyond creations dawn,
Before the sun and moon and stars were born,
Salvation’s way for sinners lost, undone,
Was counselled forth by God the Three in One.

A store of grace unlimited was laid
In Jesus Christ before the seas were made;
And precious cov’nant mercies did abound
In floods of blessing all the world around.”

Psalm 2 v 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Proverbs 8 v 22 – 31 read.

The Lord Jesus Christ is unique and the only person with the Father and the Holy Spirit who truly can be said to be eternal. If we are believers this evening there is a touch of eternity about us – for ewe will live forever with Christ in heaven.

But we do not have an eternal history going back. We are finite – we began. There was a time when we did not exist – until the sovereign creator made us in secret – in the lower parts of the earth – or in our mother’s wombs which is what that means in Psalm 139.

Jesus is God – and as God is the only true God.

He is wisdom; He is glorious; He is the Word made flesh.

This I am of His pre-existence is crucial to His qualification as our saviour from sin – any other being would not do to pay the price of sin. He is holy and pure – the only acceptable sacrifice on the behalf of sinners.

Do you believe these things my friend?

7. V 15 The I AM of His Perfection

I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.

Not only is He eternal He is also perfect. He is holy. The word Holy appears 544 times in the Bible. That is a lot of appearances. 169 times in the New Testament. From the middle book of the Bible we take two verses –

Psalm 145 v 17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. 21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

When we look for the term HOLY ONE which is here in the text we find it occurs 51 times in the Bible – 29 of them in Isaiah – over half of the occurrences.

God the Father refers to God the Son as His Holy One. In that memorable text in Psalm 16 v 10

For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption,

God tells us that though His Holy Son would die He would not stay in the grave. This verse is a resurrection verse! The Holy One of God could not remain in death – rather He was raised for us. Praise His Name.

Once again the sacrifice for sins had to be a perfect sacrifice. Great attention was given to the quality of the Old Testament animal sacrifices – a lamb without blemish and without spot – perfect – acceptable.

Leviticus 22 v 20 But whatsoever hath a blemish, that shall ye not offer: for it shall not be acceptable for you.

But what about the Lord Jesus Christ the Lamb of God as he is called – Peter tells us –

1 Peter 1 v 18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

Jesus Christ is our perfect ‘I am’ saviour.

15 I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.

Finally

8. V 25 The I AM of His Pardon

I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

There is a remarkable contrast now in this series of I am’s. Whereas for God’s ancient people regular sacrifices were necessary to make peace with God, to obtain forgiveness and pardon – done with great cost to the one making the offering – God now predicts through Isaiah that something else would be done – that someone else would be provided as a substitute for all these sacrifices.

V 25 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

In the sacrificial system there was a sense that access to God was available through offerings – until the next time that the Israelite sinned. In one sense there was no need for the offerer to repent and turn from sin – because he knew that he could always bring another offering that would atone for his sin.

Now all that was to change. God announces that He would show His grace. No merit of any sinner was acceptable. Forgiveness now would come through faith in Him not through any ceremonial sacrifices performed as formalities. God says that he will blot out transgressions for His own sake. What does He mean by this?

He means that He might demonstrate the proper combination of divine mercy and justice, expressed in love, judgment and grace. When they are blotted out sins are remembered no more!

God pardons sinners now by His grace. They do nothing to contribute to their forgiveness. It is all of grace! It is confirmed in Psalm 103

8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

Can you believe this my friend this evening? God has made arrangements to remove our transgressions. He is justified in paying us richly for our sins – breaking His laws – ignoring Him – worshipping other gods of materialism – refusing His calls to repent. We deserve to die for our sins condemn us.

But God is so gracious. He has promised to remember our sins no more. He has promised to blot our sins out of is book. And when we believe Him then He writes our names in His book and they will never be blotted out!

And He did it by coming Himself. The great I am – the pre-existent God, the perfect Holy God, offered Himself on the cross as the sacrifice so that your sins and mine might be blotted out and not counted against us!

Oh my friend – can you hear this good news tonight? Will you trust God’s word that He clearly speaks in the Gospel tonight?

I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

Can you dismiss such an offer?


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