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Rend the Heavens - Isaiah 64

Taught on | Topic: Presence of God | Keywords: presence of God, rend, prayer, miracles, signs, wonders, longing, passion, invisible, manifestation, Jesus Christ, second coming, kingdom

The song "Rend the Heavens," written by our worship team, echoes words first uttered and written by the prophet Isaiah. His heartfelt cry for his people was that they would experience the presence of God in the most profound way. It is our prayer that we would all do the same. As we examine Isaiah's plea, we'll see how it has been answered and yet awaits a further and fuller answer. His prayer shows us three incentives in our relationship to God.

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7/19/2015
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Rend the Heavens
Isaiah 64
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The song "Rend the Heavens," written by our worship team, echoes words first uttered and written by the prophet Isaiah. His heartfelt cry for his people was that they would experience the presence of God in the most profound way. It is our prayer that we would all do the same. As we examine Isaiah's plea, we'll see how it has been answered and yet awaits a further and fuller answer. His prayer shows us three incentives in our relationship to God.
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War is Over, The

War is Over, The

As Battledrums releases its debut album, The War Is Over, we take a look at these songs and how they apply to our life as we live in victory over sin. Join Skip Heitzig in celebrating these songs and what they symbolize for our Christian walk. The war is over--Christ has won!

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Outline

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  1. Long for God’s Presence (Isaiah 64:1-5)

  2. Look at God’s Provision (Matthew 1:21-23)

  3. Lean towards God’s Power (Revelation 19:11-16)

Study Guide

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Connect Recap: July 20, 2015

Teaching: Rend the Heavens
Text: Isaiah 64:1-5, Matthew 1:21-23, Revelation 19:11-16
Tune: Rend the Heavens: http://www.battledrumsmusic.com/#about

Path

Using the song, Rend the Heavens, Pastor Skip walked us through Isaiah 64:1-5, with stops in Matthew and Revelation. His path through the text is as follows:

  • Long for God's presence (Isaiah 64:1-5)
  • Look at God's provision (Matthew 1:21-23)
  • Lean towards God's power (Revelation 19:11-16)

Points

Three exhortations are expounded in this teaching:

Long for God's presence

  • Isaiah's cry is for God to rend (tear open) the heavens and reveal Himself, yearning for God's presence to be among the people in a time of distress. The word presence is mentioned three times in vv. 1-3. Here we find three points:
    • Priority: This text is not Isaiah's pondering or postulating; rather, it shows his pleading, his longing for God's presence, turning God's foes into followers. Isaiah's priority is to experience God. This is a supplication---a strong, pleading prayer---for God's physical presence.
    • Problem: The fact that Isaiah was crying out shows that, while God is always at work, He is not always apparent. The invisibility of God created a problem for Israel.
    • Pattern: Isaiah gives us a pattern of how to talk with God, how to pray passionately. If you want to pray better, read the Bible more. Use the prayers recorded there and make them your own. Isaiah was praying for a cause greater than himself: do Your will, Your way, without restraint, in Your generation.

Look at God's provision
  • God answered Isaiah's prayer in Jesus Christ: the word became flesh (John 1:14). Immanuel---God with us. Infinity became finite; the supernatural became natural; invisible became visible.
  • Jesus performed signs and wonders to confirm His divinity 34 different times.
  • Jesus said, "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father" (see John 14:7-9). In response, John said, "We beheld His glory" (John 1:14).

Lean toward God's power
  • We find the future fulfillment of Isaiah's prayer in Revelation 19: the second coming of Jesus Christ. King Jesus will set up His kingdom on the earth; as Isaiah prophesied, "the government will be upon His shoulder" (Isaiah 9:6).
  • Prophets anticipated this time, as did Jesus, and as Christians have for centuries: Lord, rend the heavens and come down to us to reign.
  • C.S. Lewis said, "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."
  • Two ways to look for the coming of Christ:
    • Some look at it; they are mere spectators with intellectual curiosity.
    • Some look for it; they anticipate and act upon the reality; it motivates them.

Practice
  • Connect Up: Pastor Skip encouraged us to seek God's presence passionately. What are you passionate about? As Skip reminded us, "What you aim at, you hit." How do you, personally, long for God? What are some practical things you can do to enter God's presence on a daily or weekly basis?
  • Connect In: God sent Christ as our provision (see Matthew 1:21-23). How familiar are you with God's provision---His Word? How does knowing His word improve our ability to connect? In your Connect Group, pray for someone you know who needs God's provision and care. Ask Him to show you how you can help.
  • Connect Out: Pastor Skip reminded us of God's power and the day when He will return and make all things right (see Revelation 19). Read Titus 2:13. How does the truth of His return affect your daily life? How does it help you reach out to your family, community, and world? Do you expect God to do miraculous things ("We want to see miracles," as the song states)? If you have ever experienced the miraculous in your life, what did God teach you about His power and promises through it?

Detailed Notes

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  1. Introduction
    1. Do you ever wish God would show up and make things right?
      1. One day He will, but until then, we wait
      2. This is what Isaiah was asking the Lord to do in Isaiah 64
    2. Jonathan Edwards
      1. "The town seems to be full of the presence of God: it was never so full of love, nor of joy, and yet so full of distress, as it was then. There were remarkable tokens of God's presence in almost every house"
      2. "The assembly were in general, from time to time, in tears while the word was preached; some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors"
    3. 700 years before Christ, Isaiah lived in desperate times
      1. His nation was divided in two
      2. Sennacherib of Assyria was making his way down south
      3. On behalf of his people, Isaiah cried out
    4. Theme Isaiah wrote about: God's presence (see vv. 1-3)
      1. He wasn't thinking of the presence of God academically, philosophically, or theologically
      2. He actually wanted to experience the presence of God
    5. "We want to see miracles, the impossible; we want to see signs and wonders; we want to see You, we want to see You. We want to see the lost come home, the sick made whole; we want to see demons tremble; we want to see You, we want to see You" —Battledrums, "Rend the Heavens"
      1. Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Luke 11:29
      2. Jesus was speaking of unbelievers who display their wicked hearts because they need to see proof that Jesus is the Messiah
      3. We're followers of His; Mark 16:17-18
    6. Three incentives or exhortations to us
  2. Long for God's Presence (Isaiah 64:1-5)
    1. Oh (v. 1) is a word of exclamation
      1. It's a plea, a priority of this prophet
      2. Supplication = a strong prayer, a pleading, a crying out
      3. Isaiah was pleading with God to intervene miraculously
    2. Are you longing for God's presence?
      1. "American Christianity is drifting into historic inconsequentiality, and yet we seem to be satisfied with our condition. We feel little urgency, little longing. We're hardly aware of our own mediocrity. We've lost the vision of the prophets and the apostles. We have forgotten that to whom much is given, much shall be required" —R. Kent Hughes
      2. Maybe the Holy Spirit wants to ask you what your passion is
      3. James 4:8
      4. Hebrews 11:6
    3. What's your longing like?
      1. Moses: Exodus 33:18
      2. David: Psalm 42:2
      3. Paul the apostle: Philippians 3:10
    4. Isaiah showed us a priority but also revealed a problem
      1. God is not always apparent, though He's always at work
      2. "People were fascinated and depressed and frustrated by what they regarded as the infinite distance and the utter unknowability of God" —William Barclay
      3. Reason for the proliferation of idols throughout the Old Testament
      4. H.G. Wells, The Invisible Man
      5. Isaiah 45:15
      6. This is why we look forward to the blessed hope of the church; Titus 2:13
    5. Isaiah also gave us a pattern: how to pray
      1. He based his prayer on what he had read in the law of God: the giving of the law at Mount Sinai
      2. If you want to pray better, read your Bible more
      3. Isaiah prayed for a cause greater than himself: "Do Your will, Your way, for Your glory, without restraint, in our generation"
        1. The Lord's Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13
        2. When your comfort and well-being become your only pursuit, you're out of balance
  3. Look at God's Provision (Matthew 1:21-23)
    1. Was Isaiah 64 ever answered?
      1. Yes; God came from heaven to earth in the person of Jesus Christ
      2. John 1:14
      3. 1 Timothy 3:16
    2. Ancient peoples believed that the gods were unknowable
      1. Xenophanes: knowing God is guesswork
      2. Plato: never can God and man meet
      3. What they said was true, unless God stepped out of heaven and came to earth
      4. John 1:18
      5. Without Jesus, God would still be unknowable
    3. Jesus is the solution to Isaiah's problem of an invisible God
      1. Isaiah 9:6
      2. God's solution to the problem of invisibility is that He was made manifest in the person of Jesus Christ
    4. Imagine what it would be like to be an apostle of Jesus
      1. Eventually figured out this was God in human form
      2. The four Gospels record no less than thirty-four miraculous signs and wonders
      3. John 14:8-9
      4. John 1:14
        1. Beheld = theaomai
        2. Our word theater, where you gaze in one direction for a period of time
        3. Scientifically investigated
  4. Lean towards God's Power (Revelation 19:11-16)
    1. Will Isaiah's prayer be answered more fully? Yes
    2. Verse 15: reference to Isaiah 63
    3. The second coming of Jesus Christ
      1. The prophets ultimately looked forward to this event
        1. Isaiah: Isaiah 9:7
        2. David: 2 Samuel 7:12-13
        3. Daniel: Daniel 2:44
        4. Anticipated a future, worldwide, literal kingdom on earth
      2. Jesus anticipated it
        1. John 18:36: "My kingdom is not of this world—yet"
        2. Revelation 11:15
        3. Matthew 24:29-30
      3. Every single Christian has been looking forward to the event
        1. Hymns about the second coming
        2. Charles Wesley: out of 7,000 hymns, he wrote 5,000 about the second coming
        3. "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world" —C.S. Lewis
        4. Are you looking for the Lord to return, or are you just looking at it?
        5. With all the mud in this world, we ought to be on tiptoe, leaning toward and anticipating the return of Jesus

Figures referenced: Jonathan Edwards, Sennacherib, R. Kent Hughes, William Barclay, H.G. Wells, Xenophanes, Plato, Charles Wesley, C.S. Lewis

Greek words: theaomai

Cross references: Exodus 33:18; 2 Samuel 7:12-13; Psalm 42:2; Isaiah 9:6-7; 45:15; 63-64; Daniel 2:44; Matthew 1:21-23; 6:9-13; 12:39; 16:4; 24:29-30; Mark 16:17-18; Luke 11:29; John 1:14, 18; 14:8-9; 18:36; Philippians 3:10; 1 Timothy 3:16; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 11:6; James 4:8; Revelation 11:15; 19:11-16


Transcript

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Hello, and welcome to this message from Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque. Our new series called The War Is Over celebrates the songs from our worship team Battledrums debut album now available on iTunes, Google Play, or at Battledrumsmusic.com.

In this series, Skip looks at how these songs apply to us as we live in victory over sin. If you like to support this ministry financially, you can give online securely at calvaryabq.org/giving. The prophet Isaiah's heartfelt cry for his people was that they would experience the presence of God in the most profound way.

The song "Rend the Heavens" echoes his words. But today, we would have the same experience. We invite you to mark your bibles in Isaiah, chapter 64. But before our skit begins, check out this sneak peek of Rend the Heavens.

[MUSIC BATTLEDRUMS, "REND THE HEAVENS"]

Lord, you know what we need. You know where our focus ought to be. You also know the things that distract us from what that focus is. So Lord I pray that, graciously, you take us by the hand during this message and give us the lens of scripture. The focus, Lord, upon the things of the spirit that our life transforming, that matter most.

Lord, I especially pray for those who are suffering through some kind of an experience. A physical illness, or a friend who's going through a trial, or just financial difficulties. I just pray, Lord, that you administer to them. And then, for those who are exceptionally and extraordinarily blessed, I pray that even thoughts of that wouldn't detract from what you are trying to tell us. In Jesus name, amen.

Hey, do you ever wish that God would just appear on Earth, just show up, and just make things right? Do you ever wish for that? I do. I find myself more and more longing for that. There are certain things that happen when I read about them in the news. And I go, if he would just show up right now, that would be really cool.

Like, when you read about what ISIS is doing in the Middle East, I just wish Jesus would show up right there and then in blazing glory and take care of that. Or if there is a Supreme Court ruling, or if there's something that goes on locally, or nationally, or internationally, if God would just breakthrough and deal with it, that would be OK with me.

Now I know that one day he will, we're promised that. But until then, we wait. And I remember when I was a new believer. I think I was about two weeks old as a young Christian. And I kept hearing my friends say things like, well, you know God spoke to me. And I go, what? God what? He what? He spoke to you?

And I remember hearing that and taking it very literally. And then, feeling really depressed that he hadn't spoken to me because I expected he would speak in an audible voice. So this really happened. I took a pad of paper and a pencil and walked up to a mountain with my Bible. And I sat there.

And I had my pencil ready to take, like, dictation. I said, Lord speak. Go ahead. Yeah, go ahead. I'm waiting. And I must have set there for a few hours and walked off a little bit disappointed that he didn't really audibly speak to me. Yes, I got certain impressions that I thought were important. But I longed forgot to break through.

And that, in essence, is what Isaiah is asking the Lord to do in chapter 64. Lord, show up, and show everybody what's up and what ought to be done. Isaiah 64, verse 1. Oh, that you would rend the heavens. That you would come down. That the mountains might shake at your presence as fire burns brushwood, as fire causes water to boil, to make your name known to your adversaries that the nation's may tremble at your presence.

When you did awesome things for which we did not look, you came down. The mountain shook at your presence for, since the beginning of the world, men have not heard nor perceived by the ear nor has the eye seen any God besides you who asks for the one who waits for him.

You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, who remembers you in your ways. You are, indeed, angry. For we have sinned. In these ways we continue. And we need to be saved. In the year 1735, God visited New England. That's how Jonathan Edwards put it. He said, God has visited us here in New England.

And he, that revivalist and preacher, I don't know if you've ever read the works of Jonathan Edwards. But he spoke about some of the things happening in his own town, at the time. Edwards writes and I quote, "The town seems to be so full of the presence of God. It was never so full of love nor of joy and, yet, so full of distress as it was then. There were remarkable tokens of God's presence in almost every house."

He goes on to talk about salvation's of moms, and dads, and kids, and the joy in those homes. Then he writes this, "The assembly, in general"-- the assembly meaning the church assembly-- "the assembly was, in general, from time to time in tears while the word of God was being preached. Some with weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors."

Our worship team has skillfully written a song Lord Rend the Heavens. Come down to us. Lord, shake the mountains. Reveal yourself, echoing this cry of Isaiah the Prophet. Now allow me to give you a little of the context that Isaiah was writing in. When Isaiah pinned this passage some 700 years before Christ, he was living in desperate times.

His nation was divided. And I mean, literally, divided into two. Sort of like around the Civil War times. The north versus the south, interestingly enough. The north were the 10 tribes of Israel. The south where the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin. It was divided.

Way up north beyond the northern kingdom of Israel was a superpower called Assyria. And it's king, Sennacherib, was vicious. And he had already taken over the northern kingdom and was working his way down south. Isaiah was a prophet living in Jerusalem in Judea down south. The nation, his nation, was weakened. And he knew it.

The Assyrians had already taken captive several of the towns of Judah. And everybody knew Jerusalem could be next. So on behalf of his own people, he cries out, oh God, oh God, show up. Rend the heavens. Tear open the heavens. Come down. Fix this. Show your adversaries. Help your people.

That is the cry of Isaiah the profit in this passage. And there is a theme that he's writing about. I don't want you to miss it. You know, whenever you study the Bible, you need to look for repeated words or repeated phrases. And that gives you a clue as to what the point of the passage is all about.

And there is a certain phrase used here in the verses we just read three times. Verse one, two, and three all have it. And that is God's presence. Look at it in verse one. At the end of verse one, that the mountains might shake at your presence. Verse two, at the end of that verse, that the nation's may tremble at your presence.

And then, in verse three, looking back, most scholars think to the giving of the law at Mount Sinai the mountains shook at your presence. So now we know that one of the key themes of this passage is he is praying for the presence of God. However, when Isaiah is asking the Lord for that experience, he's asking the Lord for that experience. He's not thinking of the presence of God academically, philosophically, in a theological book where you sit over a Starbucks cup of coffee and talk about it.

He's actually wanting to feel and experience, along with his people, the presence of God. I want mountains to shake. I want nations to tremble. I want your foes to become your followers. Lord, rend the heavens, and come down.

He wants to see powerful demonstrations. See them, experience them, feel them. In the worship song that we sing highlighting this verse, there are some lyrics. It has bothered some, frankly.

The lyrics go like this. I want to see miracles. I want to see the impossible. I want to see signs and wonders. I want to see you. I want to see you.

I want to see the lost come home. The sick made whole. I want to see demons tremble. I know what's bothered some because we've gotten some emails saying, could you take out those lyrics?

And then, often, it is accompanied with quoting the verse that Jesus said, a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. And no sign shall be given it, except the sign of the prophet Jonah. May I just say simply and then we'll move on, when you pull that verse out in an email like that, it is completely out of context.

It's a classic out of context text because when Jesus said a wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, he was speaking of unbelievers who display their wicked hearts because they need to see a proof that Jesus is the Messiah. We're not looking for that proof. We know he's the Messiah. We're followers of his.

And Jesus did say this to his followers, these signs will follow those who believe. They will lay hands on the sick and they will recover. They will cast out demons in my name, et cetera. And I don't know about you, but I want to see the Lord do miracles.

[APPLAUSE]

I would like that. Am I opposed to that? No. Do I want to see sick people get better? Uh huh. Do I want to see the lost come home? Yeah. I wouldn't even mind seeing a few demons tremble.

They've done a lot of bad stuff on this earth. They've shaken things up. I'm, kind of, like happy to be a spectator watching them get theirs.

[APPLAUSE]

So with this prayer of Isaiah 64, we're looking through the lens of Isaiah. And there are three incentives. There are or three exhortations to us based on it. Long for God's presence. Second, look at God's provision. And then, third, lean toward God's power.

Let's look at the first. It's really the subject of what this prayer in Isaiah is all about. Long for God's presence. That's what he does. That's what is mentioned three times. But notice what the first word of the verse is. What's the first word?

Oh, is the first word. That's a word of exclamation. That is why the translators have correctly placed an exclamation point at the end of verse one. Oh means if only or would that God would rip open the heavens, burst forth, and come down.

It's a plea. It's not a pondering. It's not a postulating. It's of plea. It's a priority of this profit. Sorry to use so many P's. It is a priority of this profit. It is what the scripture calls a supplication. I know you've read that. If you read the Bible at all, you know it uses this word supplication. At least, in my version, the new King James version.

So it'll say something like let your prayers and supplications be made known to God. And you go, prayers I get. But what's a supplication? Supplication simply means a strong prayer. It's where you turn the prayer juice up to 10.

OK? It's a pleading. It's a crying out. If someone holds a gun to your head, it's OK for you to supplicate. That's a supplication. Please, spare my life. That's a supplication. Isaiah is pleading with God to intervene, miraculously, like he once did in the historic giving if the law on Mount Sinai that he would do it again. He's longing for God's presence.

Can I ask you a simple question? Are you? Are you longing for God's presence? As your Christian walk become so deteriorated that's just, sort of, monotonous, or humdrum, or routine? I'll, kind of, show up whenever I feel like it and if there's not a game on, or if everything's good here.

Are you a longing for the things of God? Has your life become reduced to the level that all you can do is send an email that complains about the lyrics you don't like? R. Kent Hughes wrote a tremendous commentary on the book of Isaiah. And in it, he wrote something that struck my heart.

He said, American Christianity is drifting into historic inconsequentiality. And yet, we seem to be satisfied with our condition. We feel little urgency, he writes. Little longing. We're hardly aware of our own mediocrity. We've lost the vision of the prophets and the Apostles' We have forgotten that, to whom much is given, much shall be required.

I had a counselor in a high school. A career counselor. Do you remember those guys or gals? They, kind of, help you get into what your future ought to be. And I remember they got my scores together in high school. And they said that I should go into math. A math related field.

So here was the question they asked. What's your passion? What is your passion? And I had to say, well, I'll tell you this. It's not math. So if you're thinking I'm gonna to go in that direction, it's not going to happen. That's not my passion.

That's also a question the publishers ask authors when they're writing books. I've had publishers say, so what is your passion because they usually want the author to write on the subject of his or her passion. And maybe the Holy Spirit wants to ask you what is your passion.

The Bible says draw near unto God and he will draw unto you. It's like God is saying make the first movement, and I'll meet you there. You draw near, and I'll draw near. You seek me with all your heart, and you'll find me. I'll make sure to that.

The Lord is a rewarder, the Bible says, of those who diligently seek him. What's your longing like if you were to evaluate it. What is your longing like? Moses had this longing. Moses had this passion. Moses said, Lord, show me your glory.

I remember when I first read that I go, what? Moses, you seen a sea open up. You've seen miracles in the desert. You're following a light around the desert. That's pretty miraculous. And you want more? Yup, he wants more.

David had this passion. He said my soul thirst for God for the living God. That's passion. Paul the Apostle had this passion when he said to the Philippian church that I might know him. That's his hearts cry. That I might know him. And the power of his Resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings being made conformable, even unto is death.

So Isaiah shows us a priority. But also, he reveals a problem. You see, you don't have to cry out for God to come close unless you feel like God is far. He shows the problem. And the problem is simple. God is not always apparent.

Oh, he's always at work. He's always working behind the scenes, in the scenes, through the circumstance, but he's not always apparent to us. As William Barkley once wrote, people are both fascinated and frustrated by the infinite distance between God and man.

And frankly, it's this idea that God is invisible that, in the Old Testament, was the singular reason for the proliferation of idols throughout their history. I'm not excusing what they did. I'm simply saying it's rather tricky to have a personal relationship with the person you can't see.

H.G Wells wrote a book in the 1800s called The Invisible Man. I think it's been made a movie about 3,000 times. I don't know. But it keeps getting recycled. And the idea is simple. Wouldn't it be cool if you could be invisible.

A guy in the book, in the story, found a way through science to become invisible. And at first, it was cool because he could, like, go into rooms, and people would be talking about him, and he's hear what they say, and they wouldn't even know he's there.

But eventually, this trait of invisibility became a curse because what happened is people, once they found out he could be made invisible, didn't trust them. He could be here, right now, in this room. He could be watching me. He could be listening to what we're saying.

So they found it very difficult to have a relationship with someone who is invisible. And Isaiah the Prophet in another chapter said, "Truly, you are a God who hides himself. Lord, rend the heavens and come down." That is why, folks, we look forward to what the Bible calls the blessed hope of the church, which is the glorious-- what's the word-- appearing of our great God and Savior.

We won't be satisfied until we see him. And you will. But this is longing for God's presence. So Isaiah shows us a priority. But he also reveals a problem.

But here's something else. He gives us a pattern. He's showing us how to pray. Now watch this. He saying, Lord, rend the heavens, and come down, and make it known, and make it visible, and make it experiential, and make it felt just like you did once before when you showed up and the mountains quake.

And he's referring, we believe, to Mount Sinai. The giving of the laws, I mentioned. So Isaiah's basing his prayer on what he had read in the scrolls. The law of God. Here's the principle. If you want to pray better, read your Bible more.

You will discover that some of the simplest but most profound prayers are already written by God's people in the scriptures. And you can take them and make them your own. And it can be a powerful way to communicate, even as Jesus taught us to pray. And we still use that to this day.

So Isaiah is teaching us how to pray. And notice what he's praying for. He's not really saying I want a faster camel, or a shiny new chariot, or would you give my aunt Mabel physical health. He's not saying now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

He's praying for something much deeper, much more profound. In fact, he's not even praying for himself. Here's what I want you to get. He's praying for a cause greater than himself. Listen to that again. Isaiah is praying for a cause greater than himself.

He is basically saying, God, do your will, your way, for your glory, without restraint in our generation. That's a prayer. Do your will, your way, for your glory without restraint in our generation. That's how Jesus taught us to pray.

When Jesus gave us the Lord's Prayer, we call it, well before he said tell God give us this day our daily bread, before he gave that, he said, when you pray, say our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done. Of course, he invites us to bring our requests before him.

Of course, he is concerned about all the things that concern us. Everything he wants you to bring to him. But when your comfort and your well being become your only pursuit, you're out of balance. So he is longing for God's presence. That's first.

Now here's the second exportation or incentive this prayer brings. Look at God's provision. Yes, long for God's presence. But look at God's provision. Matthew one, let's get ready there.

And as you're turning to Matthew one, let me ask you a question. Was there ever a time, that you can think of, when Isaiah's prayer-- Isaiah 64-- was answered? Did God ever come down from heaven to earth? Yes. I'm setting it all up here. He came down from heaven to earth in the person, the provision, of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The word became flesh, John chapter 1 verse 14 tells us, and dwelt among us. A simple statement. A profound statement. Hard to get your mind around this incomparable statement. As Paul put it, great is the mystery of godliness. God was manifested in the flesh.

The word became flesh. God to step into our world in the person of Jesus. That which is infinite became finite. The eternal was squeezed into time. The supernatural stepped into our natural world. You know, the ancient peoples believe that God or Gods, the Gods, were unknowable.

Some of the cultures believed in one God. They were monotheists. Many of them were polytheistic. But most ancient peoples believe, if there are Gods or there is a God, they're unknowable. 500 years before Christ, one of the great philosophers of Greece-- Xenophanes was his name-- said that knowing God was guess work.

And the philosopher Plato, not the toy Playdough for kids-- but the philosopher Plato said, never can God and man ever meet. It's guess work. They can never meet. And you know what? What they said was true, unless God stepped out of heaven and came to earth and showed himself to man in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And that is John's point. We read John one last week. I just didn't read far enough. But in John one, verse 18, he writes no one has ever seen God. But his only Son , who is himself God, is near to the father's heart. And he has told us about him.

Without Jesus, God would still be fuzzy, unclear distance, and unknowable. But God has come near. Jesus is the solution to Isaiah's problem of an invisible God up there somewhere. Jesus came to this earth. In fact, Isaiah himself predicted it in another chapter. As soon as I say it, you'll remember it.

For unto us, a child is born. And unto us, a son is given. And his name shall be called wonderful counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, and the government will be upon his shoulder.

Now let's look at Matthew one with the words of Isaiah still ringing in our hearts. Matthew one, verse 21. And she will bring forth a son, the angel says. And you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by the Lord through the profit. And the profit is the prophet Isaiah saying, behold, the virgin shall be with child and bare a son. And they shall call his name Emmanuel, which is translated God with us.

Put it all together. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down! OK, here I am. Jesus Christ on the earth. God's solution to the problem of invisibility is that God was made manifest visibly in the person of Jesus Christ.

I imagined what it would be like to be one of the apostles of Jesus. Peter, James, John. You pick one. Think of their lives before they met Christ. They're Jewish. They're raised in the synagogue. Every week they go. And every week the rabbi opens the scrolls. And every week he reads an assigned passage of what we call the Old Testament.

On one of the weeks during the year, he would read Isaiah 64. Now imagine you're one of the apostles. You're suffering under the oppression of Rome and of all the problems going on around you. And the rabbi begins to read.

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down. And you as one of the apostles are going, yes, if only he would. And then, one day after that, you meet this guy named Jesus who says follow me. And you don't even know who he is yet. You haven't even figured out who he is. He's some rabbi who says follow me.

But they watch him. They study him. They walk with him. They sleep. They eat with him. And they start to discover who he was. They start seeing things they never imagined they would see.

Water turned to wine. Blind eyes can see. Deaf ears can hear. Those who are lain can walk. And then, a Resurrection from the dead. Not one, but two, and then three, and then his own Resurrection.

And they start figuring out, I got it. This is God in a human form. They have seen the suspension of natural laws and the enacting of supernatural power with their own eyes. In fact, you want to speak about signs and wonders? The New Testament gospels, the four gospels, record no less than 34 miraculous signs and wonders that Jesus did. And those apostles saw them all.

And yet, one night they're eating dinner and Phillip, one of the apostles, said to Jesus in front of all of his buddies, Lord, show us the father, and that'll be enough. Sort of like Isaiah. Just show us God. If you just show us God the Father, we'll be happy.

And Jesus said, Phillip, haven't I been with you long enough that you haven't figured out who I am? If you've seen me, you've seen the father. I and my father, he said, are one.

No wonder, later on, John writes these words. And we beheld his glory. As of the only begotten of the father full of grace and truth. We beheld his glory. The work beheld is a word theaomai. I don't expect you to remember that pass this instant. Theaomai.

You don't know that word. But the word that's translated into English from that word you do know. Theater. Now you know what a theater is. Theater is a place you go and gaze at a screen for hours. You're gazing in one direction for a protracted period of time. That's theaomai.

We studied, gazed at, pondered, and the word even includes scientifically investigated. We checked him out for three years. And we beheld his glory. This is the only begotten Son of the Father. They looked to God's provision, God in human flesh.

I'll have you turn now to Revelation chapter 19, which brings us to the exhortation from the lens of Isaiah. And that is, lean toward God's power. Lean toward God's power. Now as you're turning to Revelation 19, before you read it, I need to ask you another question. Will there ever be a time in the future where Isaiah's prayer will be answered in much more fullness than it was even answered in the first coming of Jesus?

Oh, yes. Well there ever be a time when Isaiah's prayer for God to come and shake the heavens and shake the earth and the mountains with fire will happen? Uh huh. In fact, literally, it will happen. Revelation 19. I want you to listen to this passage in the light of the language of Isaiah 64.

This is Revelation 19, verse 11. We begin. "Now I saw have been opened. And behold, a white horse. And he who sat on him was called faithful and true. And in righteousness, he judges and makes war. His eyes were a flame of fire. And on his head were many crowns. And he had a name written that no one knew, except himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood.

And his name is called the Word of God. And the armies of heaven clothed in fine linen, wide in claim, followed him on white horses. Now out of his mouth goes a sharp sword. That with it, he should strike the nations. And he, himself, will rule them with the rod of iron. He himself treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."

A reference Isaiah 63, actually. "And he has on his robe and on his thigh a name written. King of kings, and Lord of Lords." That's what Isaiah wanted all along. He was looking for God to step out of heaven to the earth and hang a sign over the earth that would read under new management.

And that will happen at the second coming of Jesus Christ. The second coming. Now you know, I hope you know, that all the profits were looking forward to this event. The profits, when they looked forward, they were looking forward, ultimately, to the time when God would send a king out of heaven and actually establish his kingdom here on this earth.

You see, when Isaiah said, for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, we just love to use that at Christmas. But listen to the rest of the passage. Unto us, a son is given. Unto us, a child is born. And the government will be on his shoulders. Upon the throne of David to order it and to establish it from that time forth even forevermore, the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall perform this.

He was anticipating a takeover. A worldwide kingdom that would come. Then, when David got that promise from God of a son and a dynasty that would follow, God said this to him-- second Samuel, 17-- I will set up your seed after you and will establish his kingdom. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

It's what Daniel anticipated and predicted. In fact, a guy named Nebuchadnezzar who is a pagan king, saw the vision. But he didn't know what it meant. Daniel told him what it meant. Remember the story? Remember that wild dream that Nebuchadnezzar had of that big metal statue of gold and silver, and bronze and iron, and iron and clay?

And he sees this thing. And then, he sees a rock come out of heaven, strike its feet, disintegrate the image, and it grows into a large mountain that covers the whole Earth. And he brings all of his wise guys in, his wise men, and he goes, what did that mean? And they go, we don't know what it means. And he goes, OK, well then I'll kill all of you.

He was the king of Babylon. Daniel steps in and goes, don't do that. I'll tell you what it means. So the King leaned in as Daniel said these words to him. The God of heaven will set up a kingdom, which will never be destroyed. And it will break in pieces and consume all of the other kingdoms. But it will stand forever.

All of them, all of those prophets, anticipated a future worldwide, literal kingdom on this earth. And they spoke about it. Jesus anticipated it. He said, before Pontius Pilate and he said, my kingdom is not of this world. Now we know the rest of this story. We know what the prophet said. And we know what the rest of the New Testament says. So whenever I read that, I put a little parenthetical statement at the end.

My kingdom is not of this world, yet. Yet. It will be one day. Revelation 11, for the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ. And he will reign forever. And Jesus even gave detail to that. Matthew 24, he talks about the end of days. Listen to the words of Jesus.

Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Isn't that what Isaiah was asking for? And then, the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and with great or awesome glory.

So the profits all anticipated it. Jesus predicted it. And let me add something else. Every single Christian, for the last 2,000 years, has been looking forward to the event. We have been.

I was online yesterday. And I just decided to type in Google what hymns of the Church have as its theme the second coming. Something like that. I wanted to find out how many songs. Well I got one page of many pages. And they gave me 100 hits on one page.

And then, several pages followed. Song after song after song about the second coming. Here's a snippet. Here's a few. How Great Thou Art. Battle Hymn Of The Republic. Joy To The World. Not about Christmas but the second coming.

I'll Fly Away. When The Role Is Called Up Yonder. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. O, Come O Come, Emmanuel. Again, about the second coming rather than the first. We Shall Behold Him. Christ Returnith. And now we can add to the list, Lord Rend the Heavens, and come down.

[APPLAUSE]

You've heard of Charles Wesley. John Wesley and Charles Wesley were preachers, revivalists. Charles was a songwriter. And he wrote 7,000 hymns. I don't even know 7,000 songs. He wrote 7,000 hymns.

Guess how many of the 7,000 had as the subject the second coming of Jesus Christ? 5,000 of the 7,000 had that as the theme. You think it was on Charles' mind a lot? You think he was leaning toward that future power, that powerful coming of Christ, the second time? Yes.

C.S Lewis put it so well. He said, if I find within myself a desire, which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. I want to ask you a question. Are you looking for the Lord to return? Or are you just looking at?

You know, there's two ways to enjoy an event. You can look at it as a spectator, or you can look for it. The other day, on Friday, I was at a wedding. And I was invited to the wedding. I didn't do the wedding. I was invited to it.

And I sat about 12 rows back right over on this side. I was looking at the wedding. Ah, but the girl standing up here, the bride, and a guy standing right here, the groom. They weren't looking at it. They had been looking for it, and planning for it, and anticipating it for a long time. And I meet Christians who will consider this second coming of Christ in one of those two ways. Some just look at it. It's very intellectually stimulating to think about these things. I like the charts.

That's about as far as it goes. There's no real motivation or leaning toward. Ah, but then there's those people who are looking for it to come. It motivates them, like it did the profits and like Jesus anticipated, and like the apostles mentioned, and like the hymn writers.

There's a town in southern England. Down at the southern part of England is an area called Hampshire. And there's an interesting little town. Listen to the name of this town. Tiptoe, England. Tiptoe.

Yes, I live in Tiptoe. That's the name of the town. Look it up on Google. Tiptoe, England. Now Tiptoe, England was a name given to the town way before roads were paved. And in Tiptoe England, they called it Tiptoe because, before the roads were paved, to get through town because of the muddy roads, people stood up on their tiptoes because they wanted to avoid the mucky, muddy roads.

But I thought of that. And I thought, how cool is this. Tiptoe Christian Fellowship. No don't worry. I'm not going to change our name. But we ought to be living in this world. The mud, and the muck, and the mire that goes on in this world, we out to be standing on her tiptoes. Leaning toward, anticipating that return of Jesus Christ.

So when we sing, Lord, rend the heavens and come down, we're thinking of Isaiah's prayer. We're thinking of the provision in Jesus first coming. But we're looking forward to his second coming in power and awesome glory. Heavenly Father, yes, Lord. Thank you, Lord.

[APPLAUSE]

Father, we want to live with that kind of expectation. It's not easy because we all have responsibilities, decisions, issues, people in our lives, demands, and so with all of those things, it's quite easy to get our focus looking down just to the immediate. Just to the responsibilities around us.

And sure, that's part of mature living. But help us, while we're walking, to get up on our tiptoes a bit and to raise our head higher to the horizon, and to think about our lives in the grand scheme of the eternal and the heart cry of a prophet who wanted you to show your presence more clearly in his own generation. Not knowing, at that time, that that prayer would be answered as God came from heaven to earth in the person of the Lord Jesus.

But then, that it will be answered, even from our vantage point, at a yet determined date in the future when Jesus will come back to this earth and put that sign out, so to speak, under new management. You're going to take over the creation that you made and that has gone astray. And these words will be fully and finally realized.

Until that day, Lord, until that day, keep us longing for you and looking in the scriptures at what you have done and provided, and leaning toward that future glorious, powerful event. In Jesus' name, Amen.

It would be enough if God only saved us from our sins. But he also allows us to experience his present in relationship with him. If this message brought you closer to Jesus, tell us. Email us at mystory@calvaryabq.org. And just a reminder, you can fine Battledrums album, "The War Is Over," on iTunes, Google Play, or at battledrumsmusic.com. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque.

Additional Messages in this Series

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7/12/2015
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The Light Has Come
John 1:1-9
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Music is an integral part of the human experience and expresses our deepest feelings, fears, and hopes. Worship music in particular conveys our dependence on God and celebration of Him. Our worship team has written fresh expressions of praise in their brand-new project, The War Is Over. This summer, we will consider the biblical themes from which these songs are drawn. "The Light Has Come" is a song that celebrates one of the great themes of John’s gospel—God’s life that enlightens us has come in the person of Jesus Christ.
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7/26/2015
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Our God Will Fight for Us
Nehemiah 4
Skip Heitzig
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Nothing is more comforting in war than knowing you’re on the winning side. When you face a hostile enemy with the knowledge that your cause is just, your resources are many, and your companions are brave, you’re ready for anything. And when you have a Commanding Officer who has never lost a battle, your confidence level is at an all-time high. Our worship team wrote the song “Our God Will Fight for Us” with these thoughts in mind. Let’s consider a fourfold strategy for facing the battles in our lives.
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8/2/2015
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Now I Live
Romans 5-6
Skip Heitzig
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Our worship team has managed to put the most salient truths of the Christian experience into this single song. Every step detailed in this section of Paul’s letter to the Romans is expressed in condensed form in this new anthem of praise. Today we will walk through the four essential steps of spiritual growth and examine where we are in relationship to them. Some may still be on the first step, while others have camped on the second and third. The challenge from Paul’s message is to press forward to that fourth step of triumph.
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8/9/2015
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The Valley
Psalm 23
Skip Heitzig
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Everyone knows pain and suffering to some degree. It’s guaranteed for all. As Job said, "Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). He meant that hardship is as predictable as flames and flickers rising when a fire is lit. King David poetically referred to such adversity as walking down into a valley. Though everyone suffers, not all suffer well. Today we rediscover why the valleys are necessary and how they can even be rewarding.
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8/23/2015
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Let His Love In
1 John 3:1-3
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
The heart is like a strong fortress that doesn’t easily admit outside forces in, even if God Himself is the One who is knocking at the door. I’ve found that even Christians can have a difficult time believing that God really loves them, and few experience that love regularly. Our Battledrums worship team has composed a song with this in mind, inviting you to let His love in. Our text in 1 John is a survey of this incomparable love of God, and will help you open your heart to it.
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8/30/2015
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All to You
Matthew 11:1-11
Nate Heitzig
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Message Summary
In times of difficulty, we tend to ask God, "Why am I going through this? Is this really Your will for my life?" We expect God to solve all our problems, when really He wants to use the problems to work on us. In this message, Nate Heitzig explains that though external difficulties can lead to internal doubts, God refocuses us by giving us eternal direction.
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9/6/2015
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By Your Stripes
Isaiah 53:4-6
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Today I bring you "Christianity 101." These verses in Isaiah not only capture the heart of our worship team’s song, but they present the very heart of the gospel itself. These three monumental truths are the cornerstones of the Christian faith and show our need for Jesus Christ. Though the passage itself highlights many profound aspects of the person and work of Christ, I want to keep it simple and confine it to three. Let’s discover the love of God afresh.
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9/13/2015
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Great and Awesome
Daniel 9:1-19
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Have you ever been shaken to the core, disillusioned, and disheartened? When such times occur and fear rises up inside of you, what assurance do you have that life will get better and you’ll be able to even go on? This song penned by our Battledrums worship team speaks to this, and Daniel the prophet instructs us with his prayer. Daniel held onto three assurances that God’s work in us and through us isn’t over but will keep marching on.
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9/20/2015
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Victory (The War Is Over)
1 Corinthians 15:50-58
Skip Heitzig
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Message Summary
Victory is a decidedly Christian term. It is used in our spiritual vocabulary almost without effort or thought. We frequently celebrate that Jesus went to the cross and volunteered His life to be the payment for sin in order to justify us before God. But this is more than a simple concept. In this final message explaining the scriptural foundations of our new worship project, we now turn to the future when we will become winners over the last enemy of life—death itself.
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There are 9 additional messages in this series.
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