Isaiah 49:8
This is what the LORD says: "In the time of favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and appoint you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land, to apportion its desolate inheritances,
Sermons
Christ in the CovenantCharles Haddon Spurgeon Isaiah 49:8
The Acceptable TimeR. Tuck Isaiah 49:8
Jehovah and His ServantE. Johnson Isaiah 49:1-13
The Kingdom of Christ: a Missionary SermonW. Clarkson Isaiah 49:8-12
Christ in the CovenantIsaiah 49:8-13
Christ the Covenant of His PeopleJ. Hill.Isaiah 49:8-13
The World Given to ChristA. Tucker.Isaiah 49:8-13
In an elevated strain, full of high hope and touched with the pure joy of anticipation, the prophet writes of Messiah's kingdom. He calls our attention to -

I. ITS MOST STRIKING CHARACTERISTICS.

1. Spiritual restoration. "To establish the earth," or rather to restore the land, and to bring about the repossession by their true owners of the "desolate heritages." In the kingdom of Christ humanity, that had "lain waste" and had produced all kinds of noxious and ugly growths, should be recultivated, bear its own true feints of peace and righteousness, and be a land restored.

2. Spiritual freedom. To the prisoners of sin, of folly, and of vice, the commanding word will be addressed, "Go forth" (ver. 9); and they will walk in the atmosphere of sacred freedom.

3. Abundance of truth. The disciples of Christ are "the children of light;" they walk in the light of his holy truth (ver. 9).

4. The sheltering and providing power of the sovereign Saviour. The present Lord shall satisfy their hungering hearts, shall slake their spirits' thirst, shall shelter them from the heats of strong temptation, shall supply them with all-sufficient grace for their recurring need (ver. 10). All its swings are in him and he is near to minister to all their wants.

II. THE OPENNESS OF THE WAY TO ITS FULL ESTABLISHMENT. (Vers. 11, 12.) In the arrangements of Divine providence, when Jesus Christ came and introduced his gospel to the world, there were ready three things that were wanted to carry it over the world.

1. A missionary people - supplied by the Jewish nation, in whom were all the elements of moral worth and religious enthusiasm.

2. A suitable language - supplied by the Greeks.

3. A highway to distant lands - supplied by Roman roads and Roman laws. And the new faith, which seemed certain to perish as soon as it was born, grew and spread on every hand. It was as if the very obstructions were "away." Difficulties disappeared; a "great door and effectual was opened." And in our time the way is being further opened. Exploration, human science, international treaties, even war itself, is levelling the separating hills and bridging the dividing gulfs; and even into the very heart of China (Sinim?) the missionary is penetrating with the truth of Christ.

III. ITS ACCEPTABLE HOUR. The era in which we live is one in which the Father of all is disposed to bless and save. It is "a day of salvation." The atoning work is wrought; the Divine Spirit is ready to regenerate and renew; the Word of truth and grace is multiplied; great is the company of the preachers.; the Churches of Christ are fast awaking to a sense of their obligation and their opportunity. It is a time to pray, to work, and to look for God's favouring presence and redeeming power. - C.







Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time.
The prophet was looking forward to the Messiah and His times. It was customary for some kings to grant to favoured ones whatever they requested (Psalm 2:8). God's kingly Son is represented as having asked, and this is the answer

I. THE PROMISED UNIVERSAL DIFFUSION OF THE GOSPEL.

1. It was commenced in the apostolic age.

2. It has been continuing through the ages to the present hour.

3. It will be fully accomplished in "the fulness of time." What reasons have we for believing this?

(1)The faithful and unerring promises of Jehovah.

(2)The adaptation of Christianity, above all other forms of religion, to be universal

(3)The present aspect of the world furnishes much reason to hope that the accomplishment of this promise is drawing nigh.

II. THE BLESSEDNESS OF THOSE WHO SHALL EMBRACE IT (vers. 9, 10). The promise includes —

1. Abundant provisions.

2. Careful protection.

3. Unerring guidance.

III. THE EXULTANT PRAISE WHICH SUCH GLORIOUS PROSPECTS SHOULD AWAKEN (ver. 13). We should raise this song —

1. Because of the glory which the fulfilment of this promise will bring to the triune Jehovah.

2. Because of the blessings the Gospel will bring to humanity. Conclusion — Has this Gospel come to you in saving power?

(A. Tucker.)

I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people.
I. WHAT THIS COVENANT TOUCHING MAN'S REDEMPTION IS. A covenant, in the general acceptation of the word, is an agreement between two parties in any thing, or end, upon certain articles or conditions, which both freely consent to. "The covenant of grace," or "of redemption," is an eternal transaction between the Father and Christ; a consultation and agreement between these two glorious Persons, how man should be saved out of the ruins of the fall, in a way becoming God (Zechariah 6:13).

II. SUCH A COVENANT HATH PASSED BETWEEN THE FATHER AND THE SON BEFORE ALL WORLDS.

1. There were terms made, or work demanded of the Mediator.

(1)That Christ should take the name of His covenant-people upon Himself, and become their representing Head.

(2)That He should become man.

(3)In this body Christ was to fulfil God's whole law.

(4)That Christ should seal all His obedience with His blood.

2. There were -promises given. Christ thus firmly and freely consenting, and binding Himself to perform these terms and conditions, the Father makes promises to Him.

(1)That He would fit Christ for His work (Isaiah 11:1, 2; John 3:34).

(2)To assist Christ in His work (Psalm 89:21, 22).

(3)To carry Christ safely and honourably through His work (Isaiah 42:1, 4; Psalm 89:26).

(4)The Father promised Christ "a seed to serve Him"; and great glory after this His work was ended (Isaiah 53:10).

3. There were mutual trusts which the glorious parties reposed in each other.

III. WHO ARE THE PEOPLE FOR WHOM CHRIST WAS GIVEN AS A COVENANT.

1. Such as are brought to seek happiness and life purely upon the footing of this covenant.

2. The messenger of the covenant is their delight (Malachi 3:1).

3. Such as have the Spirit of the covenant in their hearts. Wherever the Spirit is given, He comes as a Spirit of grace and supplication. He is a Spirit of liberty. A Spirit of holiness.

IV. WHAT ARE THE BLESSINGS REDOUNDING TO THE PEOPLE BY THIS COVENANT?

1. Their calling is secured.

2. All grace is treasured up for them.

3. Fellowship and communion with God,

4. Eternal life is given (Titus 1:2).

V. USES BY WAY OF DOCTRINE AND PRACTICE.

1. Christ and His seed are comprehended in one and the same covenant.

2. That which is a covenant of grace to us, is a covenant of works to Christ.

3. We learn the meaning of those phrases wherein God is said to make "a covenant" with man.

4. We see the ground of the salvation of Old Testament saints. They were justified and saved upon the foot of this covenant.

5. The substance of the covenant was the same, under both testaments; only the dispensation of it varies. The covenant made with Abraham, Jacob, David, &c., was a covenant, not of works, but of grace.

6. Why Christ is called the "covenant" of His people. It is because He is all in all in this covenant. Practical uses —

(1)Admire the love and grace of this covenant.

(2)Look more at Christ in every covenant-blessing.

(3)This may be improved for the believer's comfort, whatever his wants are; it is a sure covenant, an ordered covenant, a full covenant; Christ is thy covenant, therefore in all thy dangers, weaknesses, snares, thou art safe; in all thy wants thou art provided for; in all thy fears thou art prevented.

(J. Hill.)

We believe that our Saviour has very much to do with the covenant of eternal salvation. We have been accustomed to regard Him as the Mediator of the covenant, as the Surety of the covenant, and as the scope or substance of the covenant. I shall dwell on Christ as one great and glorious article of the covenant which God has given to His children.

I. Here is a GREAT POSSESSION — Jesus Christ by the covenant is the property of every believer.

1. Jesus Christ is ours in all His attributes. He has a double set of attributes, seeing that there are two natures joined in glorious union in one person. He has the attributes of very God, and He has the attributes of perfect man; and whatever these may be, they are each one of them the perpetual property of every believing child of God.

2. In all His offices. Is He a Prophet? He is thy Prophet. Is He a Priest? He is thy Priest. Is He a King? He is thy King. Is He a Redeemer? He is thy Redeemer. Is He an Advocate? He is thy Advocate. Is He a Forerunner? He is thy Forerunner. Is He a Surety of the covenant? He is thy Surety. In every name He bears, in every- crown He wears, in every vestment in which He is arrayed, He is the believer s own.

3. In every one of His works, whether they be works of suffering or of duty, they are the property of the believer. "Circumcised in Christ." "Buried with Christ in baptism unto death." I die in Christ. I am buried with Christ. We are "risen together with Christ." He hath made us "sit together in heavenly places."

4. In the person of Christ "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." "And of His fulness have we received, and grace for grace." All the fulness of Christ to restrain thee, to preserve thee; all that fulness of power, of love, of purity, which is stored up in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, is thine.

5. The very life of Christ is the property of the believer. "Because I live ye shall live also." "Ye are dead; and your life" — where is it? It is "hid with Christ in God."

6. Best of all, the person of Jesus Christ is the property of the Christian.

II. FOR WHAT PURPOSE DOES GOD PUT CHRIST IN THE COVENANT?

1. In order to comfort every coming sinner.

2. To confirm the doubting saint.

3. Because there are many things there that would be nought without Him. His great redemption is in the covenant, but we have no redemption except through His blood. His righteousness is in the covenant, but I can have no righteousness apart from that which Christ has wrought out, and which is imputed to me by God. My eternal perfection is in the covenant, but the elect are only perfect in Christ. In fact, if you take Christ out of the covenant, you have just done the same as if you should break the string of a necklace; all the jewels, or beads, or corals, drop off and separate from each other.

4. Christ is in the covenant to be used.

III. Here is A PRECEPT, and what shall the precept be? Christ is ours; then be ye Christ's. Show the world that you are His in practice. When tempted to sin, reply, "I cannot do this great wickedness, for I am one of Christ's" When wealth is before thee to be won by sin, touch it not: say that thou art Christ's. Are you exposed in the world to difficulties and dangers? Stand fast in the evil day, remembering that you are one of Christ's. Are you in a field where much is to be done, and others are sitting down idly and lazily doing nothing? Go at your work, and when the sweat stands upon your brow and you are bidden to stay, say, "No, I cannot stop; I am one of Christ's." When the syren song of pleasure would tempt thee from the path of right, reply, "Hush your strains, O temptress; I am one of Christ's." When the cause of God needs thee, give thyself to it, for thou art Christ's. And now, I must say one word to those who have never laid hold of the covenant. I sometimes hear it whispered that there are men who trust to the uncovenanted mercies of God. Let me solemnly assure you that there is now no such thing as uncovenanted mercy. Mayhap, poor, convinced sinner, thou darest not take hold of the covenant to-day. "I dare not come; I am so unworthy," you say. Hear, then: my Master bids you come, and will you be afraid after that?

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

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