[SW026] 11/20/2011 Message notes from KJV by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2011
We’re in a new scene from Handel’s Messiah today, and there are four scriptures that are sung in Scene 5, which Handel entitled “The Beginnings of Gospel Preaching.” (NOTE: All scripture is from the NAS Bible today.)
I don’t know about you, but my natural feet are not beautiful at all. They’re really kind of ugly. But they are shod with the gospel of peace! As a believer in Jesus Christ, I have on those shoes, and they bring good news. Therefore, they are made beautiful!
Let’s look at those four Scriptures in Part II, Scene 5 of Handel’s Messiah:
Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES,
AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
You see, when Christ ascended on high, when He went up into heaven 40 days after He rose from the dead, He led many captives to freedom. He led heavenward those to whom He preached by the Spirit while His body was in the tomb (1 Peter 3:19), and He also does the same for you and me! We were captives of our sins and our sin nature, but when we believe in Jesus Christ, He leads us into freedom! We are given His nature and become one with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Sin no longer controls us, and we have an intimate relationship with the living God.
And Jesus gave gifts to men. These gifts could not be given until He ascended and poured out the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the gift, and He works all the other gifts in us! Paul refers to the recipients of gifts of proclamation that were given after the Lord poured out His Spirit: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers Ephesians 4:11). These are the ones with beautiful feet. O believer, know that this means you! God has given you beautiful feet, shod with the gospel of peace, just like me. You don’t need a degree to go out and speak about Christ. When you first meet Him, you can’t help but tell others about Him, and they can’t help but see the change in you. You are an evangelist for Christ from the moment you believe!
Psalms 68:11 The Lord gives the command;
The women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host:
Even women can’t contain themselves when they hear the good news! They spread it, too. Do that in whatever way the Lord shows you, women. You are part of the army of proclaimers of the good news!
Psalms 19:4 Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world . . .
This gospel goes forth, even beyond our words. We cannot reach every tiny nook of the earth, but when the Word of God goes forth, it does what God designed it to do and it does not come back without accomplishing it. Perhaps a Muslim will see a vision of Jesus in the night, and come to hear the Good News. It happens all the time! We try to reach into every corner, but we must know that the gospel of Jesus Christ spreads beyond our geographical ability.
Now we get to the heart of the message the Lord gave me — Beautiful Feet!
Isaiah 52:7 How lovely on the mountains
Are the feet of him who brings good news,
Who announces peace
And brings good news of happiness,
Who announces salvation,
And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
It is a word of PEACE! There’s Someone coming, and He bears good news. He leaps over mountains, as in Song of Songs 2:8. He leaps over every obstacle in your life. Watchmen (v. 8) see Him coming. Oppression, depression, captivity, ruin — all these things were experienced by the watchman and the people. He’s on the wall of the city, in a tower. He’s been looking for a long time for deliverance, for salvation. Now he looks sees Someone with beautiful feet. Why are His feet beautiful? Because He brings good news. A long time had passed since any good news was heard in the city. Has it been that way with you? Good news is here! I see Him coming into your life! I see Jesus Christ!
You who know Jesus also have beautiful feet. You proclaim the good news in words and deeds, and in the very fact that Christ dwells in your heart. You rent some space, but He owns the place! You are a bearer of good news to a world in which very little news is good.
What is this good news? It is news of peace, of shalom, of wholeness, of completeness, of welfare, of healing. It is healing of our relationship with God through the blood of Christ, through His sacrifice on your behalf. It is news of completeness. You are made complete and become a part of God’s family: Father, Son and Spirit. You are made whole! What great news to those who are in ruins, who are oppressed and depressed, who haven’t heard anything good in a long, long time!
Isaiah 52:8 Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices,
They shout joyfully together;
For they will see 1with their own eyes
When the LORD restores Zion.
It is a word of RESTORATION! The watchmen cry out for joy! They shout! This is a great shout, like the one that made the walls of Jericho fall. They see this One leaping over all obstacles, coming to deliver this good news! You will see with your own eyes when the Lord restores you! This prophecy from Isaiah is for Israel, but it is also for you! Restoration! A return! It is a return to Him, it is a turning away from your sin and your grief and a turning toward Christ. If you will do this, He will return you to the Father, and you will become His child. You will be forgiven. And you will have eternal life! You will be God’s possession. Only you yourself can sever that relationship by turning back to sin.
Isaiah 52:9 Break forth, shout joyfully together,
You waste places of Jerusalem;
For the LORD has comforted His people,
He has redeemed Jerusalem.
It is a word of REDEMPTION! My life was a waste place: first drug addiction, then extreme illness. I was in ruins. I hated God and Christ. Yet even to me, He offers a word of redemption, of buying back without money and without cost to me. Why? Christ paid the cost for all of us. When we come to Him, we pay nothing. But we are bought with a price, His precious blood. Therefore, we are not our own. We rejoice in this, because He has freed us, He has given us peace, He has restored us! We want to give our lives to Him fully because of the great cost He paid.
Isaiah 52:10 The LORD has bared His holy arm
In the sight of all the nations,
That all the ends of the earth may see
The salvation of our God.
It is a message of SALVATION! Remember Isaiah 53:1? Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? This is the message! It took me a couple of years in the Word of God to discover that the word “salvation” in the original Hebrew is “Yeshua.” That’s how a Jewish person would pronounce the name “Jesus.” Now, in this passage, the nations are all those who oppressed you, just as it was for Israel in this prophecy. In the sight of all their enemies (and of the Enemy of your soul, Satan and his demons), you are saved! You are delivered! You are no longer under God’s wrath, but you are His child! All of the ends of the earth will see it when they look at you. You are the result of Jesus’ sacrifice. Yeshua died for you so that you may become a child of God!
Isaiah 52:11 ¶ Depart, depart, go out from there,
Touch nothing unclean;
Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves,
You who carry the vessels of the LORD.
It is a word of PURIFICATION! Now we have rejoiced over this message of peace, of restoration, of redemption, and of salvation. But that comes because we have turned from sin. We have departed quickly from it. When God repeats something like “Depart, depart,” it means soon or quickly. Without delay we have turned from sin. Without delay the remnant of Israel in Babylon turned back to their God and to their homes in Israel. Without delay! Babylon is a type of sin; it is a representation, having an equivalent meaning. We touch nothing unclean (the opposite of pure). We have heard the good news. We no longer want the things that made us prisoners. We want all that holds us back from God to be gone. And so as we leave sin, we don’t bring any of it along with us, or touch it along the way. The Holy Spirit has a role in our purification, but we have a responsibility, too. By turning away from sin, by not bringing any of it with us or picking up any more along the way to Him, we are purifying ourselves. And when we do that, the Holy Spirit will come in and purify our hearts fully.
Isaiah 52:12 But you will not go out in haste,
Nor will you go as fugitives;
For the LORD will go before you,
And the God of Israel will be your rear guard.
It is a word of PROTECTION! For those who have turned from sin, who have purified themselves, the good news is that we don’t have to go out as if we are frightened of something, or as if we are criminals. The Lord goes before us and is our rear guard, just as the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire protected Israel in the desert. Our protection is permanent, as long as we continue in our journey with Christ and do not turn back to sin.
Romans 10:16 ¶ However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “LORD, WHO HAS BELIEVED OUR REPORT?”
Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word 1of Christ.
Romans 10:18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have;
“THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH,
AND THEIR WORDS TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD.”
I’m going back to the “word of purification” again, because I am compelled by the Lord to do so. Why do some not heed the good news? Why don’t they believe? Is it because, as in Jesus’ day, they don’t want to lose their position and their power? I believe the Word of God teaches that it is because they are offended at what He says. Jesus tells the world that they need something they don’t have.
Even today, people are offended at me and other bearers of the good news when we speak as Jesus did. Why? Like the Jews, maybe they think they are right with God. Maybe they think they are good people and don’t need a Savior. But none of us is good in ourselves. Only through faith in Christ whom God sent can we be made good in God’s eyes. How can we say we are good if we reject His Son whom He sent and sacrificed on our behalf? So some trust in their own righteousness, like the Jewish leaders at the time of Christ. And some think they have all they need. The Jewish leaders thought that way. They had the Law, they had Moses. Who was this Jesus, coming to tell them that they had only a form of religion while denying its power to deliver them from their sins and even over the power of sin? They were offended. And so are people today, in many denominations. The Lord always has a remnant in all denominations who are on fire for Him, who love Him and who serve Him only. But there are many who go through the motions of church but do what they want Monday through Saturday. They have a form of Christianity but they do not know Christ, or they would be set free from their sin.
How does this good news come to you? By way of beautiful feet, by preachers and evangelists (Romans 10:14) and Christians who love you enough to tell you that you need Christ. These are those who have beautiful feet!
I tell you, people who were not seeking a Messiah, Someone to rescue them from their natural captivity under Roman rule, will find Jesus. People who see that He has good news of peace with God will see Him. He’ll reveal Himself to those who didn’t ask for Him to come (v. 20). I didn’t ask for Him — I hated Him. But then I was brought low, and I sought Him by looking into the Word of God, by obeying Him and stopping my stubbornness against Him. I sought Him and He revealed Himself to me. He will not be found and will not reveal Himself to those who remain the disobedient and obstinate (v. 21) when they have been presented with the good news.
What about you? If you see that you need something that you don’t have, then you are blessed! Come to Jesus Christ, you who attend church and go through the motions! Come to Him, you who do not know Him! He and I bring good news to you — news of peace and restoration, redemption and salvation, purification and protection by God Himself! Turn from your sin and receive what Christ has done!