At Gateway Church in Austin, we continued our series leading up to Christmas. The God You Need looks at key passages from the prophet Isaiah. This past week Kenny Green shared at the McNeil Campus on The God Who Is All That. He shared the same message at the South campus last week. You can watch or listen to the message at www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast.
Kenny shared some of the following thoughts:
“Our personal view of God and who He is and what we believe about Jesus, His Son affects everything we do and why we do those things. Our view of God influences our decision-making, our motives, and how we relate to one another and influences the way that you and I will view our personal circumstances and the world around us.
Too often we let our view of the world shape what we believe about God as opposed to our faith shaping our worldview.
There is so much misunderstanding about God and so much misinformation about Jesus, His Son that God gets some pretty bad marketing. We’re surrounded by it everyday and so many of us have formed our opinion and our image of God through secondary sources.
I want you to think about this for a moment, wouldn’t it be tragic if the information or the reasoning that has led you to walk away from God or to stop trusting Him with your life was based on misinformation? What if your decision not to allow the Creator of the universe to lead your life and to guide your life was based on misrepresentation? How tragic would that be?
What if instead, we went straight to the source together this morning? When we do, you and I will find a God of love and of hope who is completely trustworthy. In finding Him we find everything that you and I need to live lives of wisdom and freedom and peace!
My hope for this morning is that as you and I dive into scripture together, and drill into some amazing truths, we are going to find a hope that we can stake our entire lives upon.
In Isaiah 9, Isaiah’s words point forward some 700 years to the birth of the Messiah, the coming deliverer who’s arrival would fulfill the promises of God to both Abraham and to David. Isaiah says that this coming Messiah would usher in a time when there would be no gloom or darkness for those in trouble – where those walking in darkness and in shadow would see a great light. With this coming child would come joy and gladness and celebration!
Isaiah says that under the rule of this coming King instruments of warfare will be destroyed because they will no longer be needed.
Author and Pastor; Eugene Peterson puts it like this in The Message:
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants — all their whips and cudgels and curses — is gone, done away with. . .a deliverance as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian. The boots of all those invading troops, along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood, will be piled in a heap and burned, a fire that will burn for days!
And then, through Isaiah, God gives us this description of Jesus. . .the coming Messiah:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
If this is any kind of accurate description of what this Christmas child ushered in some 2000 years ago, and even more so, if Isaiah 9 is describing what Christmas could be ushering into our lives this year (the gifts of wisdom, strength, security, and peace) then perhaps for many of us, Christmas is coming right on time this year.
- For those of us wrestling with confusion and lack of direction after we tried the wisdom of this world and have come up feeling empty, we can receive His counsel/wisdom.
- For those of us paralyzed by fear and feeling utterly defenseless against temptation or some oppression or addiction, we can receive His strength/power.
- For those of us struggling with loneliness and feeling disconnected, abandoned like an orphan and uncared for and not provided for, we can receive His acceptance/care and provision.
- For those of us feeling alienated and hostile toward others or even God, we can receive His freedom/security.
Out of Bethlehem from the humblest settings, God sends us the gift of Immanuel which means “God with us.”
With this gift comes relief and comfort because this gift is the embodiment of wisdom and strength and security and peace. This gift ushers in a whole new way of understanding God and His Kingdom. This ushers in an entirely different way for us to relate to God.
This gift brings salvation and rescue to all who believe.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God gives four names that describe the coming Messiah. What I find to be so incredible is that these four names correspond directly with my needs.
This corresponds with our need for wisdom and guidance – for counsel. This child born in Bethlehem is the true source of wisdom. That’s what a counselor is – a source of wisdom. In the case of Jesus, He is the ultimate source of wisdom. The wisdom of Jesus Christ eclipses that of any philosophy or any worldview.
Jesus Christ is the true wisdom. . .he’s the counselor, but not only is he the counselor. . .his counsel is wonderful.
Jesus is not looking to be on your Board of Directors. He’s not looking to be one of your accountability partners. Jesus wants to be the source of wisdom and truth and understanding in your life.
The Apostle Paul puts it like this in his letter to the church in Corinth:
God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin. Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” 1Corinthians 1:30-31
His name is Wonderful Counselor, and this corresponds with our need for guidance, advice, and for wisdom.
This corresponds with our need for strength and power to help us endure through struggle and to protect us from evil and from forces of opposition that we all face in this world. He gives us the strength and power to be the people that God created us to be.
This word “mighty” is derived from the Hebrew: Gebor which means “Hero, Champion, a Rescuer”
I need to be rescued every day from pride. . .selfishness. . .anger. . . etc.
This is not only a power, but He’s the ultimate power. There is no power in this world that could come against you that Jesus is not 10 million times stronger then. His power corresponds with our need for strength and our need to be rescued and incredibly this hero – this champion is also your dad!
This corresponds with our need for a firm and yet gentle hand upon us – a hand of guidance and of discipline, care and provision.
He’ll never grow old or weak. He’ll never become senile or be overtaken by mental illness. You’ll never have to attend his funeral, and He will never orphan you! His name is Everlasting Father and this corresponds with our need for the security of a firm and gentle hand leading us each and every day.
Prince of Peace
This corresponds with our need to be free of worry and of sickness – to be free of anxiety and insecurities and to be free from guilt and shame from our past.
Jesus has defeated sin and defeated death on the cross, and He will eventually create a new heaven and a new earth where indwells all righteousness and justice. His life, death, and resurrection sets us free, and He will eventually eliminate all hatred, prejudice, injustice, poverty, homelessness, and violence, war, disease, and even death.
We read these words in Revelation 21:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Revelation 21:3-4
His name is Prince of Peace, and this corresponds with our need to be free. His peace is not insecure nor is it fragile like worldly peace. His is a peace that confounds earthly wisdom and it brings absolute security!
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6-7
If that seems too marvelous and extraordinary to believe. . .that’s because it is.
If that sounds like too great a power to wrap your head around. . .that’s because He is.
If that kind of peace seems to go beyond your understanding. . .that’s because it does.”