Isaiah 41:8-13 Notes
Title: A Mountain of Comfort - In the midst of many idols of Universalism & Unitarianism in our pagan age
Invocation & Opening Prayer
Three modern idols that totter before the Lord:
Unitarianism is an open-minded and welcoming approach to faith that encourages individual freedom, equality for all and rational thought. There is no list of things that Unitarians must believe: instead we think everyone has the right to reach their own conclusions. We see different opinions and lifestyles as valuable and enriching, and don’t discriminate on grounds of gender age, race, religion or sexual orientation. Although Unitarianism has its roots in Jewish and Christian traditions it is open to insights from all faiths, science, the arts, the natural world and everyday living. Unitarians characteristically: base beliefs on rational enquiry rather than external authority; accept beliefs can change in the light of new understanding and insight; form principles from conscience, thinking and life experiences; hold reverence for the earth and the whole natural system of which we are part. We welcome anyone with an open mind who shares our tolerant and inclusive views, who embraces the freedom of being in a faith community that doesn’t impose creeds or specific beliefs, and who bases their approach not on dogma but on reason. ie. Lodges.
Universalism is a theological and philosophical concept that all religions lead to the same god. Universalist doctrines consider all people in their formation. In Christianity, universalism refers to Christian Universalism which is focused around the idea of universal reconciliation, also known as universal salvation — the doctrine that every human soul will ultimately be reconciled to God because of divine love and mercy. ie. all religions lead to the same god.
Enthusiasm This is anyone in Christianity who separates the work of the Holy Spirit from the text of the Holy Scripture. ie. Romanism, Anabaptist, Calvinist/Reformed/Evangelical, and within Lutheranism - Pietists. All Lutheran groups have this in common - they had their origins in Pietism. Major pietistic influences might be Missions, Youth Work and Church/Cell Group Worship rather than Divine Service. The emphasis is on church growth.
Neopaganism is a movement by modern people to revive nature-revering/living, pre-Christian religions or other nature-based spiritual paths, frequently also incorporating contemporary liberal values at odds with ancient paganism. This definition may include groups such as Wicca and Neo-Druidism.
8 “But you, Israel, are My servant (child), Jacob whom I have chosen (elected),
As if to say, “Let your enemies have their triumph. Let them claim their victory as loudly as they want.” The Lord appears to be weak but these enemies cannot harm Him. You conscience must be confident that you are His child. The world will say differently.
The descendants (seed) of Abraham My friend (the one I continue to love).
9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, And called from its farthest regions,
How is one called by God? Small Catechism “I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him, BUT the Holy Spirit has called me by the _____Gospel______________.
And said to you, ‘You are My servant (child), I have chosen (elected) you and have not cast you away:
10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
This is the comfort. And more comfort
I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
And more And more And more comfort.
Verse 10 is a great verse to memorize.
11 “Behold, all those who were incensed against you Shall be ashamed and disgraced;
They shall be as nothing, And those who strive with you shall perish.
12 You shall seek them and not find them—Those who contended with you.
Those who war against you Shall be as nothing, As a nonexistent thing.
Verses 11-12 are promises which can be prayed as imprecatory (with sin upon another) prayers. It is actually, ask for the Lord’s judgment upon another according to the Lord’s Word and Will. For example, the Lord’s Prayer has similar petitions - Hallowed be Thy name (not my name or anyone else’s name), Thy kingdom come (which excludes unbelievers), Thy will be done (not me or my unbelieving neighbor)
13 For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand (right hand of grace so more comfort),
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ (Amen. Come quickly Lord Jesus)
Foreknowledge - God is all knowing. But this is not how He elects or chooses His children.
Election - God promises to choose His children through His means of grace. Word and Sacrament. This Word is “living and active” and when it is added to water, bread, and wine they become “living and active” also. They are “living and active” because the Holy Spirit is always in partnership with Holy Scripture. The means will cause you to believe or be hardened. The ‘cross of theology’ is to answer how this can be. I am saved so God gets all credit. If I’m damned I get all the credit.