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Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx
Grace Bible Church - Gatesville, Tx

Episode · 11 months ago

That You May Believe

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

That You May Believe

John 2:1-11

Dax Bryant - preaching

How many of you love going to weddings? Listen now, if you are a Christian, you should love going to weddings. If you're if you're going to witness two believers getting married and you understand what that means, what does that as an illustration of of the relationship between Christ and his church, you should love going to weddings. So shame on you if you don't start loving him. For those of you who do love weddings, I want you to picture going out to I don't know, hopefully somewhere better than Walmart, but somewhere, to buy a wedding gift, and you bring it home and you wrap it up all pretty and then you get dressed up in your fancy clothes and you drive out to the venue where the weddings going to take place. You sign the little guest book when you come in, you sit down and you witness the whole weddings ceremony. You Clap when they get to kiss. Later on, you get to party at the reception and then you go home and a friend asks what did you do today and you say well, I went to a wedding. They say, oh, really, who got married? And you say I have no idea. That's kind of what reading this passage is like. Aren't you curious whose wedding this was in John Chapter Two? I mean, think about the amount of time and energy and money that most people spend and on making sure that their wedding day is just perfect. But here in this wedding story, there's no mention about the color of the bridesmaid's dresses or the floral arrangements or the design of the cake. We don't even get the names of this couple who are married. And that actually serves John's purposes quite well, doesn't it? Because this story is not about a wedding, not really. The telling of this story and the placement of this story, just like every other story that we're going to see in John's Gospel, is completely wrapped up in John's overarching agenda for his whole Gospel. Do you remember what that is? It's been a while since we've been in the book of John, five weeks or so, but but the purpose statement for John's Whole Gospel is found in Chapter Twenty, verse Thirty One. We're John says that these things are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name. That's what the stories about. The setting for this particular story is a wedding, but the focus of this story is Jesus Christ. Now, if you can remember back to when we were working our way through the first chapter of John's Gospel, you'll remember, hopefully, that we got introduced to several key themes in that first chapter. Even in those first eighteen verses several key themes were introduced. But as you start moving through the end of chapter one there is one theme that starts to rise to the top. You could sum up the thrust of Chapter One of John's Gospel with with the simple word witness. Witness versus one through eighteen are the apostle John's witness to the identity of Jesus Christ. Versus nineteen through thirty six, well, that's about the witness of John the Baptist to Jesus. And then verses thirty seven through the end of Chapter One tells the story of the expanding witness as new disciples come to follow Jesus and bear witness to who he is. But now here in chapter two the focus turns from witness two works and from this point forward, at least for the next ten or so chapters, the focus really becomes the Public Ministry of Jesus Christ what he does. In fact, we get...

...a clue if you look in the last verse of our passages, morning, verse eleven, where John Writes there this the first of his signs. That word signs is a significant word for John. In fact, this this part of the Gospel of John, from Chapter Two all the way through chapter twelve. The basically the first half of the book is often called the book of signs because in that first half of John's Gospel John Highlights seven miraculous signs through which Jesus reveals his glory. And right here in chapter two is the very first one, and it happened at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. But before we get into the particulars of this passage, I want us to stay sort of zoomed out for a minute here. When you're reading your Bible you need really two sets of lenses. You need a microscope so that you can get up close to the nitty gritty details of what's being said, but then you also need a wide angle lens. You need to be able to zoom out so that you can see how those nitty gritty details fit into the context of that sentence, that paragraph, that chapter, that book and eventually even the whole story line of Scripture. And so, using this kind of Wide Angle Lens, we see that not only does chapter two begin this book of signs that goes all the way to the end of chapter twelve, but it also begins a shorter section that stretches to the end of chapter four. If you if you flip to the end of chapter four in your Bible, you'll see that the very last story there in chapter four is another sign that's performed by Jesus. It's the healing of an official son. But notice where that sign takes place. See it there in chapter four, Verse Forty Six. So he came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. So see how John Brings that full circle from chapter two to the end of Chapter Four. We call that an INCLUSIO, just a couple of book inds set on either side of what is contained in the middle, where the author wants to draw our attention to and what? What then, is contained in the middle? What is the theme, the focus of chapters two, three and four, we might put it this way. Out with the old, in with the new. Just like that we stumbled into a new year's sermon series, totally unintentionally. Out with the old, end with the new. What do I mean? The old temple must give way to the new, Risen Temple of the Lord. Chapter two, Verse Nineteen. The new birth is required in place of the first birth. Chapter three, verse three. John the Baptist must decrease, while Christ must increase. Chapter three, verse thirty. Out with the old water of Jacobs well and in with the new living water that only Christ can provide. Chapter Four, versus thirteen and fourteen. Out With the worship offered on Mount Zion and Mount Garazeem and in with the new worship that is offered in spirit and truth. Chapter Four Verses Twenty One through twenty four, and we'll see all of that in the weeks ahead. Out with the old, in with the new. What about this story? What about this wedding story? How does this story accomplish John's Greater Agenda of proving that Jesus Christ is the son of God? Here's how.

By revealing that that Jesus has the exclusive power to make things new. He has the exclusive power to make things new, and as we move through this story I'm going to point out for hallmarks of that power, the power that Jesus alone has to make things new. So let's let's dig in here. Chapter two, verse one, on the third day. Stop. Now it's been a while since we've been in John's gosp bold, but do you remember, looking back there in chapter one, how John started keeping track of the sequence of days for us? Remember that, and I think this is significant because John doesn't really do this anywhere else in his gospel. So let me remind you here. Let's walk back through that. Day One happens in chapter one, versus nineteen through twenty eight. That's the day when the delegation comes from Jerusalem down to the Jordan River to interrogate John the Baptist to find out what he's doing, who he's claiming to be, what authority is he acting under? And then day two happens in Verse Twenty Nine, where John the Baptist declares that Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Day three, verse Thirty Five. Two of John's disciples follow Jesus and we're told in verse thirty nine, that they stay with him the rest of that third day, which means that Andrew brings his brother Simon Peter to Jesus on the fourth day. And then in verse forty three is day five, where Philip and Nathaniel follow Jesus, which brings us then to chapter two, verse one, which takes place on the third day. From then five, six seven. To the Jewish mind, the third day includes day five. We get that right. Jesus was buried on a Friday, but he rose on the third day, which was a Sunday. Friday, Saturday, Sunday. It's included in the count. So all of that to say, this sign that's performed by Jesus at this wedding in Kana takes place on the seventh day since John started counting the days for us. So what's the big deal with that? Well, honestly, a lot of commentators don't really think that it is a big deal at all, but I don't think I'm wasting your time and pointing that out. I think it seems to me anyway, that John has gone out of his way to carefully record these days for us, which means we should pay attention to what he's trying to say, which is what? Well, do you recall the opening words of this Gospel, Chapter One, verse one, in the beginning? And and we talked about how the book of Genesis opens the very same way in the beginning and in fact we pointed out how there are a lot of creation references genesis one and two, kind of stuff that are in those first eighteen verses of John's Gospel. So so why bring that up? Because in Genesis, what did the Creator do on the seventh day? He rested, he wrested from the work of creation. But here, on this seventh day, the Lord of creation and the Lord of the Sabba US performs a new work of creation. He's going to make new wine, just like he's going to talk about building a new temple and the need for a new birth, about a new way of worshiping. Out with the old, in with the new. And...

...so this is the first and most fundamental hallmark of Jesus's power to make things new. He brings about new creation. Jesus brings about new creation. That is what you are longing for, by the way, whether you know it or not, the new creation. The world groans in the pains of childbirth, Paul writes in Romans. Your your aging body, feels that every day with all of your aches and scars and groans. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, you just have to live a little longer and you will. What are all of US waiting for? The new creation, the new heavens and the new earth and and the miraculous signs of Jesus during his time on earth are a little taste of the new creation, like a like a flash of lightning that starts all the way over here at the end of the age and strikes down for a moment for us to see in our present age. And the very first time that that happens, that the glory of Jesus is revealed, is when the son of God, the the Creator and author of the new creation, attends this wedding in Cana. Now, of course, he's not the only one there, right and and the next hallmark of Jesus's power to make things new has to do with the next person mentioned in the story, Mary. But did you notice actually Mary isn't named here, even though she's referred to three times in the first five verses. Actually, she's never mentioned by name in this Gospel. She simply called either the mother of Jesus or his mother, and that's that's a good reminder as to where our focus should be directed. Right not to marry, but to Jesus. So Jesus is at this wedding, his mother is at this wedding, and verse two tells us so are all of his newly gathered disciples who, by the way, are all Galileans themselves. Nathaniel actually is from Cana. And now that the the actors are in place, the action begins verse three. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him they have no wine. Now, not only is this a major social faux PAS, not only is this a huge embarrassment to the groom and his family, who are footing the bill for this part of the wedding, but there's evidence that he could actually be subject to legal action by the bride's family if they were dissatisfied, if they felt like he wasn't providing the kind of celebration that their daughter deserved, they could sue. So this is a big deal. I mean, reputations are at stake here. This is not good. So Mary, I don't know if she's the wedding planner or the caterer or what she's got going here. But she is concerned and you can imagine her calling Jesus over and anxiously whispering the bad news to him. They have no wine. And now the question is, what does his mother expect him to do about this problem? Because I think it's clear she expects him to do something. That's implied in the instructions that she gives to the servants there in verse five. She's expecting something. But is she expecting a miracle? I don't...

...think so, because verse eleven states that this is the first of Jesus's miracles. I think that the reason she comes to Jesus is is much more simple. She had come to rely upon the help of her oldest son. It's quite likely, possible, more likely, I think, that she is a widow at this point right. The last time we read about Jesus's earthly father, Joseph, is from that scene in the temple when Jesus was aged twelve and Jesus was known not only as the carpenter son, but in Mark Chapter six, he's called the carpenter, the son of Mary, which would be an unusual way to refer to him if Joseph was still alive. So if Jesus had indeed become the family provider, then is it really any surprise that his widowed mother would come to him for his help in this situation, or really any situation? Not at all. And so if this is true, and I believe that there's a good case for it, then obviously this, this relationship between mother and son, was very special and close, which makes Jesus's response to his mother's request for help kind of unsettling for us. It's kind of jarring to our ears when we when we read it. There in verse four and Jesus said to her, woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come. I don't know about you, but I could not get away with calling my mom woman. But actually this isn't quite what it sounds like to us. It's not as soft as dear woman, which some translations put it that way, and it's not as hard as lady, like Da Carson points out, makes Jesus sound like a New York City cab driver. Carson actually says suggests here that the expression ma'am, like you hear around these parts, probably gets the closest to this, even though I think around here it's not uncommon to refer to your mother as ma'am, maybe especially when you're in trouble. So it's still doesn't quite hit the mark. But but the point is Jesus is not disrespecting his mother when he speaks to her and addresses her this way, but he is changing something, and that's what we need to see. Ma'am, let's just go with that. It's not as intimate and familiar as as mother or Mama. It's more formal it it creates some distance. What is he doing? He's he's creating, establishing a new relationship, and that comes through and what he says next. What does this have to do with me? Now, if you don't have an ESV and English Standard version in front of you, chances are that that verse is translated slightly differently, and that kind of gets at some of the challenge in trying to understand these words literally. That reads what to me and you? What to me and you, which is actually a rather common expression in scripture, but it always is used to create some distance between the two parties. In fact, most of the time when you see that phrase used in the New Testament. It is used by demons addressing Jesus. What to me and you? It's not exactly a rude tone, but it is abrupt. The sense is something like what do you and I have...

...in common concerning this matter? Now it may be formal and polite, courteous even, but I don't want to sugarcoat it too much. It is also a bit of a measured rebuke, and the reason for this mild rebuke, for creating this distance, is given in his following statement. My hour has not yet come. It's a drange response, isn't it? His mom says they have no wine. Help woman. What does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come. How is that an answer to marry? And what are we supposed to make of that strange response? Well, let me answer the second question first. What are what are we supposed to make of this? Of course we know the rest of the story, but right here John is introducing something that he's going to continue to develop in his gospel. In other words, when Jesus says this, it's meant to capture your interests. You're meant to ask yourself our what's he talking about? Our? What does he mean our did he mention an hour earlier? What's this hour? That's that's going to come. It's meant to spark your curiosity. And then, as you keep reading, you notice that he's constantly referring to this hour and he's in he always says it's not yet, it's not yet, until you get to chapter twelve, after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. That begins the last week of his life on Earth, where Jesus says that his hour has finally arrived. And so I think it's very interesting to note that his entire ministry, even from the moment of his first miracle here in Cana, was carried out in the hour of the shadow of the cross. He knows. But back to the first question. How is what Jesus says here an answer to Mary? She wants Jesus to help with this wine shortage problem, and he replies in kind of cryptic terms that the hour of his death and glorification has not yet come, which is which is just like Jesus, isn't it? Someone speaks kind of an ordinary statement or or asks the question and he responds with words that are weighted with more symbolism and meaning and significance than the speaker could ever even conceive of. Mary wants the wedding to finish without embarrassments. Jesus thinks of the prophets describing the the messianic age as a time when wine would flow generously, and so he's right to say that that that hour of sweet aged wine, the great hour of his glorification, has not yet come. But what's also happening right here at the beginning of his ministry, in this gentle rebuke of his mother, is that Jesus is declaring his complete freedom from any human advice or agenda or manipulation. He is distancing himself from his family bonds. He is not just Mary's son, he is the son, he is the seed of the woman, he is the promised son of Abraham. He is the son of David, who will rule forever. And with the weight of those rolls converging on him, he must now be about his father's business. He knows what's coming, he knows what he must do, and everything and everyone, even his own mother, is secondary to that divine agenda. From this moment forward, the central focus of Jesus's life is accomplishing his father's plan. Carried out in his father's timing.

Now, maybe especially you mother's in this room, can you imagine what this might have been like for Mary? Think about your own experience with a with a child. Think about what she had experienced with Jesus, the announcement from the angel, the fear and uncertainty of of sharing that news with Joseph, feeling the first kicks in her womb, then the birth of this promised son, and everything that happened on that night, from the very ordinary things like cradling him in her arms and nursing him at her breast, watching him learn to walk and talk, eventually later in life, coming to rely upon him as the sole provider for the family. And now that relationship is changed, she can't view him in the same way that other mothers view their sons. In fact, when you read the Gospel, you'll notice that everywhere Mary appears during the course of Jesus's ministry, he continues to establish distance between them. Not In a callous way, not in an unloving way. I mean, after all, he even while he's on the cross, he plans for her future care. The point is Mary, now, just like every other human being, must come to him in his identity as the promised Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. There's no inside track, there's no special treatment, not even for her, and that was probably a hard lesson, but one that I think she learned very well, and we see that in verse five in her response. His mother said to the servants, do whatever he tells you. Now, I've said before I think I'm not a big fan of life versus, but but it's a new year and if you're the sort of person who's looking for a life verse for the For the New Year, this is a good one. Do Whatever he tells you. You can even put that on a t shirt if you want. It won't hurt my feelings. It's hard to go wrong with that. Do Whatever he tells you. Jesus gently brushes off, I'm sorry, Jesus's mother gently brushes off his rebuke and instead she she demonstrates what we might call a form of faith. Initially she's kind of chastised for for presuming upon her relationship with Jesus, and now she displays an attitude that is perfectly content to leave the matter in his hands to do with what he will what's just happened. There is a new relationship has been established, and that's the second hallmark of Jesus's power to make things new. He is the one who establishes new relationships. In verse three, Mary Approaches Jesus as his mother and is rebuked. In Verse Five, she responds with trusting submission to him, and her faith is honored. She got the message. Now she still doesn't know what he's going to do about the problem, if you'll do anything, but she has committed the matter to him and she's going to trust him with the outcome. So the focus remains on Jesus, not on Mary, and on the faith of the disciples, including Mary. Now, much more quickly, here to the miracle itself. The the third hallmark of Jesus's power to make things new begins with the reference to the water jars. Notice how they're described...

...their in verse six. Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification. These are these are big vessels. They hold twenty to thirty gallons each. They made out of stone. Why Stone? Because stone is less permeable than clay, and so it was more suited to use for ceremonial cleansing and purification and those kinds of things. And at a wedding like this, where the the celebration could go on for seven days, there would be lots of ritual, ritual washing of utensils and hands and and all that sort of thing. Why six jars? Probably just because there were six jars. Some people, some commentators, look at this and they see some some symbolism here that that might foreshadow this, this third hallmark of Jesus power to make things new, and that we know the biblical number, the the Jewish number for completeness is seven, and here there are only six. So maybe it refers to some sort of incompleteness. A little bit of a problem with that, because the miracle isn't creating a seventh jar, it's turning the water into wine. But you don't even need to go there to get the point, and the point is these stone jars are clearly part of the ritual and ceremony of the law, the law that was an expression of God's grace to us, but it was incomplete in that it could never save us because it was not designed to. With me not now watch here in verse seven and following Jesus said to the servants, fill the jars with water, and they filled them up to the brim, and he said to them, now draw some and take it to the master of the Feast. So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine and did not know where it came from, though the servants who had drawn the water new. The master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine, but you have kept the good wine until now. You see what Jesus is doing here. He takes the water that's in the jars, these jars that represent the old order of the Jewish law, with all of its customs and and rituals, things that had to be performed over and over and over again, and he replaces that was something new, something better, and it fits perfectly with what John The apostle has already told us back in chapter one, verse Seventeen, that the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. In other words, the time for ceremonial purification is fulfilled. That's why these jars are filled up to the brim. The time for a new order, the messianic age, symbolized by the wine. That time is now at hand. The jars are no longer instruments to be used for man to try to relate to God. They now contain God's blessing to man. The thing that the water jars were meant to accomplish cleansing, purification. Now those things are only found in the blood of our redeemer. And this is the third hallmark of Jesus's power to make things new. He ushers in the dawn of a new age. He ushers in the dawn of a new age. Aren't you glad that you live in this age, that you don't live in the days of shadows and types and pictures and symbols, that you live in an age when all of those things have been...

...fulfilled in Jesus Christ and have been made plain for you to see? Now I want, I want to point out just a couple of things before we move to the final hallmark of Jesus's power to make things new. First of all, notice how this sign, how this miracle is carried out. As you read there. Who is doing all of the actions here. Yeah, it's not Jesus, it's the servants at his command. Right. Jesus does nothing to draw attention to himself. He doesn't cause a scene, he doesn't put on a showy performance, without any spotlight at all. Jesus simply turns the water into wine. And this is kind of pedantic, but you need to think about this so so it's not lost on you. How do you make wine? First you need soil so that you can plant a seed that eventually will grow into a vine if you don't kill it, and with enough water and sunlight and care, eventually that vine will produce grapes, and then those grapes must be crushed. The liquid has to be separated out and allowed to ferment, and then it must be bottled and aged for at least months, ideally years, for it to mature in flavor. In other words, it's a process that takes a significant amount of time. But here Jesus immediately and silently wills this water into wine. No soil, no seed, no vine, no grapes, no fermentation process, no aging required, out of nothing but water. He brings forth wine in an instant, and not just any wine, the good wine, the master of the feast calls it the best wine, up to a hundred eighty gallons of it. Now, Christians have varied convictions about drinking alcohol and we can respect those differences in convictions, but I do think that one would be hard pressed, pardon the pun, to claim that this was merely grape juice or this was a half water, half wine, sort of diluted formula, because the word that's used here is wine, wine that, if too much was consumed, could inebriate a person. That's what the word behind drunk freely. There methusco means in verse ten. Now, of course, notice the Master of the feast is just referring to maybe what usually happens right. He's not saying that that's what happened at this wedding necessarily. And of course this is not any sort of endorsement or Jesus just giving a little wink at drunkenness. Drunkenness was and is sinful. That is very clear throughout all of God's word. The point being made here is that the wine that Jesus provides is superior. It is the best, it is the very best, and were meant to not just get hung up on wine, but to understand that everything that Jesus provides us with is the very best we find. We find beauty in many things that God provides, but none of it compares to the beauty of Jesus Christ himself, and that is where our focus should be. When we think about the beauty of salvation, the beauty of his cross, the beauty of his righteousness, the beauty of spending eternity with him. It's beautiful, but it pales in comparison to him. Everything that Jesus does, everything that he provides for us, is...

...the very best, and it has to be, because he is the very best and he saves the best for last. And it's not just the quality of the wine. The sheer abundance of the wine that Jesus creates at this wedding party is completely over the top. And again that is meant to remind us that God is lavish and extravagant and breath takingly generous with his people. He goes above and beyond, providing you not with what you need only, but also what he delights to give you out of the love of his heart. To have your sins forgiven, to have union with Jesus Christ, to have peace with God, to be a child of God, to belong to God's kingdom. All of that is a taste of the extravagant, magnanimous provision of Jesus Christ for you in the new messianic age that he introduces. Right here he ushers in this new age. And then, finally, the fourth hallmark of Jesus's power to make things new is is there in verse eleven, which reads this the first of his signs. Jesus did at Cana in Galilee and manifest at his glory, and his disciples believed in him. So John is a pretty good writer. He wraps this up nicely. He he clearly identifies this as the first sign that Jesus performed. He reminds us again of where it took place, at Cana and Galilee, and then he gives us two results of this sign, because this wasn't just some little cheap parlor trick designed to impress his friends, and neither was it a blinding display of his glory and in power. But this was done with a purpose. Two results of this sign. Result number one, Jesus manifested his glory, as as Chapter One, Verse Fourteen, tells US Glory as of the only son from the father full of grace and truth. He manifest his glory. Keep in mind again, this is his first sign. He hadn't done any miracles previous to this, if we take John at his word here, despite maybe what you might have read or or seen from sources that are outside of the Bible, he lives as an ordinary man with an ordinary identity. Remember, his own family didn't even believe in him. And then he chooses Cana, this this little town in the middle of nowhere, with just family and friends around, to first manifest his glory, to reveal himself as the Messiah, not not speaking attention with this massive outward show of force and might, but instead humbly displaying his identity to some notice. His glory here wasn't visible to all who experienced the miracle, the servants who drew the wine out of the jar, they knew what happened, but we're not told that they saw his glory, that they believed, unlike his decipe pulls, who, by faith, saw the sign and perceived the glory behind the sign. That's result number two. His disciples believed in him, and that's really the fourth hallmark of Jesus's power to make things new that we see in this story. He brings into existence new belief. He brings into existence new belief. He manifest his glory, but it's only perceptible to those who have eyes to see and ears to...

...hear. And that was true all throughout his ministry, even when you think about the final, ultimate manifestation of his glory, where he hung on a wooden cross between two criminals, without any appearance of majesty, except for a mocking sign and a crown of thorns. But even there, where his glory was most fully revealed, when his hour had it finally come, most people didn't see it. The crowds mocked him, most of his disciples deserted him and again his glory was revealed in a way not that exalted him, but in a way that honored the father and redeemed those whom he came to safe. So why is John Put this wedding story up front in his Gospel, so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in his name? How does this story do that? By revealing Jesus as the one who brings about new creation, by revealing Jesus as the one who establishes new relationships, by revealing Jesus as the one who ushers in a new age and by revealing Jesus as the one who brings into existence new belief. The question is, is that enough for you? John's goal is to convince you to believe. Is this enough for you to believe that Jesus is the son of God? Is this enough for you to repent of your sin and place your trust in him for this life and the life to come? Is this enough? Don't don't you wish you could have seen it with your own eyes? Maybe that you could have been one of the servants drawing the water? Often wish I could have seen these things, but we have remember what what Jesus said to Thomas when he repaired, when he appeared to him, that after he rose from the dead. Remember that. Have you believed because you have seen? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. And for us, God's Word is how the glory of Jesus is manifested, and nothing can be the same now that he has come, now that he has revealed his glory out with the old in with the new, and right here in his first sign, Jesus gives us a sample, a small taste, of what that will be like. It's a day that was promised by God through his prophets. You can read about it in places like Joel three, Amos nine, but perhaps most beautifully, I think, it's described in Isaiah twenty five, verses six through nine. Let me read this and then we'll be close to being done. Isaiah twenty five, verse six, Isaiah speaking of the coming day of the Lord, the final day. On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will make for all people's a feast of rich food, a feast of well aged wine, well refined and he will swallow up, on this mountain the covering that is cast over all people's the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces and the reproach of his people. He will take away from the Earth, for the Lord has spoken, it will be said. On that day, behold, this is our God. We have...

...waited for him that he might save us. This is the Lord, we have waited for him. Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. This is what Jesus has come to do, and that work has been inaugurated. It has begun, but it is not yet finished in its entirety, which means there's still time for you to join the party. Let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. Isaiah says, Jesus is first sign. Takes place at a party, at a wedding, no less a wedding in many ways. I assume that's like a lot of weddings that you and I have been to, and that it's filled with sights and sounds of great joy, but the kind of joy that will eventually pass. You understand the the celebration of earthly pleasures and delights are just temporary, but there is a coming wedding where Jesus, the bridegroom, will come for his bride the church and celebrate with her forever. He is making all things new. When he saves you, you are now a new creation. He grants you new belief in him as Lord and Savior. He gives you a new relationship with God, no longer an enemy but now a son, and he ushers you into the age of the new covenant, and he calls you to drink deeply from his inexhaustible fountain of Joy, all so that you can join your voice to the everlasting chorus that this same author John Heard in his vision in revelation nineteen. And stay with all the saints. Hallelujah for the Lord God Almighty rains. Let us rejoice and Exalt and give him the glory, for the marriage of the lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready. Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the lamb. These are the true words of God. Let's pray, father, in a new year where so often traditionally, we are thinking of perhaps new goals, new places we might visit, new things we might do, new disciplines we would like to have. Those are good things to do. But, father, in the midst of those things, remind us that the most important sense of newness that we can have is found in the new heart that you give us by your spirit, that we are indeed new creations in Christ Jesus. Thank you that the new has come. Father, help us to put the old man to death in his sinful flesh and to cultivate the new man. By the help of Your Spirit, God, I pray to that you would put in our hearts a sense of overwhelming joy at these things, that this would not just be interesting facts for us to talk about later, but that this would stir our hearts to praise and worship and gratitude, and that that would flow out of our hearts into the way we live our lives. For you, help us...

...to be people of joy, carrying the message of joy for all whom you ordained, and we will give you all of the glory and praise forever. Amen.

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