[SW356] 12/08/2018 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018
“Prepare the Way for His Coming”
Text: Isaiah 40:1-5, etc.
Jesus Christ has a word for you who believe in Him — “Prepare the way, and I will come into you.” If He must say, “Prepare the way,” then you have not yet prepared it. So, I will speak of how to prepare the way, the outcome in you, and God’s purpose in it.
How to Prepare the Way
What is the first step for the preparation He requires? The Lord showed Isaiah —
Verse 1 —
Comfort (repent, comfort), O comfort (repent, comfort) My people, says your God. Ah! The LORD speaks this to His people, including you!
He intends us to use both meanings for “comfort.” The first step is to repent for your sin, your rebellion against Him, Then He will indeed give you comfort! He will give you the Comforter, the Holy Spirit —
John 14:16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter), that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.”
Verse 2 —
The LORD tells Isaiah, speak kindly to (speak to the heart of) Jerusalem. Speak to the heart of even you! I have disciplined and punished and exiled you. Now, I speak once again to your heart, O believer, so you turn away from your sin and turn back to Me! Heed My words!
And call out to her (even you)! Tell her that her warfare (hardship) has ended, that her iniquity (moral perversity) has been pardoned. Tell her that she has received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.
Just as it was with me, before I repented and turned to Him, the LORD has disciplined you for your rebellion. He has allowed hardship and ruin to overwhelm you. But now, listen! He offers peace to you!
Verse 3 —
But what must you do, in order to have peace with Him? It is a heart work, beloved, because it is from hardened hearts that rebellion comes!
Isaiah repeats the first step — repent! A voice is calling, the LORD’s voice, through Isaiah! A voice has since called, the LORD’s voice, through John the Baptist. John also called God’s people to repent, with the same words the LORD gave Isaiah, saying —
Matthew 3:2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” 3 For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, “THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’”
Repent! Turn back to the LORD! Confess your rebellion to Him!
Why? The kingdom of heaven is at hand. A day of judgment is coming. Humble yourself and make Jesus Christ your King!
Ruling yourself has led you into hardship and ruin! Make Him your King, once and for all, and you will not fear in the day of judgment. When He fills you with His Spirit, He will purify your heart and fill it with His holiness and His love (see 1John 4:17-18)! He will be your King!
Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness. Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God – yours and mine. Because of your rebellion, your heart has been like a wilderness, like a desert. I know, because my heart used to be that way.
Prepare the way in your heart! Make a straight way, with no crookedness in it. Make a highway in your heart, and you will be prepared for His coming!
Verse 4 —
But how do you make a way, a straight way, a highway in your heart, after you have repented? How can you straighten its crookedness, so it will be ready for the Lord to come in?
Every valley shall be lifted up. A valley is low. To make yourself a valley, you must humble yourself, and your heart must become contrite, crouched down —
Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Such a heart He will not despise (Psalm 51:17)! Such a heart He will lift up, such a heart He will exalt, by coming in and fully dwelling in it!
After you have repented, you must further humble yourself before the Lord! Confess your rebellion before Him. Confess that you have no power to change your heart.
He loves a heart that is desperate to be changed, one that sees its brokenness! I know, because I was desperate to know Him intimately, so desperate that for two months, I cried out to Him, stretched out, face-down, on the living room floor.
But what will happen, then, to every mountain and hill, to those who do not have broken and contrite spirits? They are proud and lofty, and think they know better than God. They refuse to repent. They refuse to listen. They believe God has treated them unfairly by exiling them from His presence. They complain against Him for their hard labor.
All mountains and hills will be made low, they will be bowed down and humiliated because they have refused to bow their hearts to Him. He will not come in to such a heart!
And what of the rugged terrain, the rough ground in your heart, which is like the terrain of a mountain and its foothills? That rough ground must be made a plain — a wide, level valley.
When you humble yourself before the Lord, you become like a valley, a smooth place, a straight highway. Do not be deceived, beloved. He will not come into a heart that has not been softened and smoothed and straightened by repentance.
The Outcome, in You
Verse 5 —
When you repent, when you humble yourself, when you crouch down before Him, oh my! Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together.
His glory will seen by all, in the end time. But even now, His glory will be seen in you, for He will put His glory in those who crouch down and humble themselves. He will put His glory into all who ask Him to fill them with His Spirit! Then, everyone will see His glory shining out from inside of such ones!
Is it really possible for His presence to fill you? The mouth of the LORD has spoken it. If He has spoken, He will do it, if you prepare the way!
God’s Purpose In It
The purpose for preparing the way is that you be filled with His Holy Spirit, thereby becoming a partaker of the divine nature. Every believer who prepares the way will be filled with His divine nature, and their sin nature, the source of their rebellion, will be crucified (Galatians 5:24)!
The purpose for preparing the way is that the world will know that the Father sent His Son. When you are filled with His divine nature, they will know the gospel is true, for you will bear His fruit (Galatians 5:22-23)!
Jesus Christ prayed to His Father, the night before He was crucified, speaking of the glory of His presence, His Holy Spirit, in all who would prepare the way for their own personal Pentecost —
John 17:20-21 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
And what is the Source of this unity that will make the world believe that the Father sent His Son?
John 17:22 “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
The Source is the glory, the Holy Spirit, Who fills you when you have your own personal Pentecost. Then you have the same unity as the Father and the Son, unity of nature.
The purpose of preparing the way is, “I in them and You in me.” He and His Father will come into you and permanently, fully dwell in you (John 14:23)!
John 17:26 “And I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
The purpose for preparing the way is so that you are filled with, “The love with which You loved Me.” The purpose is that you be filled with the divine love of the Father, the same love He has for His Son (Romans 5:5)! The purpose is “And I in them,” Christ in you, fully possessing you!
The purpose for preparing the way is that the world will see the glory, the light, the love, the entire nature of God, shining from you. Then and only then will you be Jesus Christ’s witnesses, wherever you go, even to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)!
O believer, He is calling you to prepare the way. He calls you because you have not yet prepared the way for Him.
Repent and humble yourself before Him. Turn away from your sin and back to Him. Confess to Him your crookedness and rebellion, confess to Him the rough places and mountains that are in your heart. Then the Lord will come into you and fill you! His glory will be revealed in you!
When His glory comes in, it will be just as the LORD spoke through Isaiah, in Isaiah 60:1-3 —
1Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen (is radiating from) you.
2 For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you (radiate from you) and His glory will appear upon (be seen from) you.
3 Nations (all peoples) will come to your light (luminescence) , and kings to the brightness (brilliant shining) of your rising (light like the rising of the sun).
Prepare the way in the wilderness of your heart! Make a smooth highway for our God — yours and mine, O believer!
Repent while it is still today, beloved, for He is coming yet again on the day of judgment. Who will be judged first? All who believe into Jesus —
1Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Beloved, if He did not love you, He would not discipline you. If He says, “Prepare the way,” then you have not yet prepared the way. This is the day to prepare it by humbling yourself and repenting! Prepare the way in your heart, and He surely will come in! Amen!