2008-03-26 / Religion

The Gospel Truth

Servants of the Lord cannot fail
Dr. Charles F. DeVane Jr. First Baptist Church

Old Testament Israel ultimately failed. The Jewish messiah/Christian savior perfectly succeeded. The New Testament church, the new covenant Israel of God, cannot fail and must ultimately succeed. This text tells us why. Read Isaiah 49:1-7.

The servants of the old

covenant failed

Look at this text in the light of Old Testament Israel. After all, that is who Isaiah was originally addressing.

In verse one we see the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In verse two we see the prophets. In verse three we see kings David and Solomon and the pinnacle of old Israel's glory. In verses four and five we see the cycle of defeat and victory, scattering and regathering, tearing down and building up that occurred from the days of Abraham to the days of Messiah. And in verses six and seven we see the mandate to persevere, the mission to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth and everlasting life in the kingdom of "the holy one of Israel."

God revealed himself to Israel, the Old Testament Jews. He tried them and tested them over and over. There were many times when the Old Testament people of God fought the good fight and kept the faith and proved to be true Israel, servants of the Lord. But at the end of the day, they failed. God came and revealed himself to Israel in the person and work of the ideal Israelite, God's son, Jesus Christ. Jesus tried them and tested them with signs and wonders, miracles and messages, and rode right into their midst with palm branches waving in the air. But instead of giving him a glorious crown, they sent him to an agonizing cross.

And so, since the day of the cross, Old Testament Israelites are servants of the lord no more. But where the servants of the old covenant failed, the servant of the old rugged cross succeeded.

The servant of the

cross succeeded

It was another Old Testament prophet who pegged the Jews and the Jewish messiah as one. Hosea said, "Out of Egypt I called my son." The Old Testament people gave birth to a messiah, and both of them escaped out of Egypt. Therefore it is historically and biblically correct to refer to Jesus Christ as "My Servant, Israel."

Jesus came from a mother's womb, offered words as sharp as any two-edged sword, radiated the glory of God, struggled with the weight of his suffering servanthood, sacrificed his life for the salvation of Jews and Gentiles, and will one day be worshiped by the living and the dead, the redeemed and the condemned.

Combine Isaiah's prophecy with any New Testament survey and you will see that God sent perfect Israel, his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, into this world and sorely tried and tested him. Jesus fought the good fight and kept the faith. Christ died for our sins and rose again the third day. To this day he offers eternal life to all who believe. The Lord Jesus Christ is the servant of the Lord!

Those who believe in the servant of the Lord are servants of the Lord. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are Christians. And the Christian church is now the true "Israel of God." The servants of the new

covenant must prevail

Has God revealed himself to you? Has God granted you the repentance and faith that lead to forgiveness and everlasting life? Has your faith been tried and tested? Can your faith be trusted?

A servant of the Lord experiences a certain birth. It is the new birth Jesus himself preached about. As surely as you must be born to live, you must be born again to live for Christ. And to live for Christ is not to be a habitual sinner, nor a complacent sitter, but a determined servant.

A servant is not ashamed to speak about their master. A Christian treasures the word of God, because the word of God is one thing that cannot fail. A true servant proves his or her true Christianity by studying and sharing, listening and speaking the word of God.

A servant is clothed with the glory of the king. A servant Christian matches faith with works, works which display the glory of the heavenly father. Servant Christianity is not a mere profession of faith, it is a practice of faithful obedience.

A servant will get discouraged but not quit, because the reward is too great. It is easy to be a member of the church in America, but it is hard to be a genuine Christian. There is a true cost to true Christian service, and the cost can sometimes make us wince. But our master's love and loving promises will keep our eyes on the prize.

A servant will be put down and persecuted, but the servants of the Lord will one day rule and reign with the servant of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ. Read the book of Revelation. Old covenant Israel failed, but the new covenant savior did not. And because he did not, we cannot.

Since you cannot fail if you are a genuine Christian, do not be a coward, do not be complacent, do not miss out on a great reward. Start saturating yourself with the infallible word of God. Start serving one another with sacrificial love. Start sharing your faith and inviting the unchurched to Christ. Be a true servant of the Lord, for your master is with you, and with the servant of the Lord the servants of the Lord cannot fail!

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