Maybe you are familiar with the saying, “The sun that melts the ice and is the same sun that hardens the clay.” It speaks not only of the melting power of the sun’s heat but also of its hardening effects. This is also true with the gospel message that we bring to the world. It melts and hardens hearts.
And He said, “Go, and tell this people:
‘Keep on listening, but do not understand;
And keep on looking, but do not gain knowledge.
Make the hearts of this people insensitive,Isaiah 6:9-10
Their ears dull,
And their eyes blind,
So that they will not see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.”
We have seen that he who has experienced God’s forgiveness and cleansing is mandated to obey the urgent call of the Master. A commission that requires urgent response (last month). Now, a Commission that carries a Serious Message. This is the content of his message.
Isaiah is now commissioned and he is ready to obey the Word of His Master. Verses 9–13 contain the message Isaiah is to bring to the people in his generation (9), the duty (10) and the plan (11–13a).
These verses are quoted in the first five books of the New Testament (Matt. 13:14–15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:39–41; Acts 28:26–27), which makes them especially important to understand… to tell people not to understand (9), [and] to make sure that they will not (10). – Alec Motyer
You may ask, why is it that? Are we not to tell the people the truth of the gospel that they may be saved? To rescue them from the wrath to come? To save them from their sins?
This message is primarily to those who rejects the truth.
MESSAGE: The serious message of the gospel must be proclaimed as the only hope of salvation despite men’s rejection.
This message that was given to Isaiah and to all of God’s people is a message that hardens hearts and a message that secures judgment.
With this serious message, we cannot be silent.
A MESSAGE THAT HARDENS HEARTS
Let us first observe the deceitfulness of sin. It hardens hearts …continue (2x) …be ever hearing, keep on…
His message has a hardening effect to His own generation. Why? Because they constantly reject God. If we survey chapter 1 to 5 of Isaiah, we can see how they are described (sinful nation, evildoers 1:4, full of idols 2:8, rebels 3:8, and despisers of the Holy One 5:24).
Sin is deceitful (Heb 3:3), and men’s hearts are deceitful (Jer 17:9).
But encourage one another every day, as long as it is still called “today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?"
Spurgeon says, there is no wonder if man, like a silly dove, is taken in their net.
Isaiah referred to the ‘outer’ (hearing, seeing) and inner’ faculties (understanding, i.e. ‘discerning’, and perceiving, i.e. ‘knowing’). In effect he is saying you have invalidated the very purpose of God’s message, because you only hear and see it outwardly, you are not taking it to your heart and minds.
Secondly, let us observe the possibility of seeing but not believing.
This is quoted in Matt. 13:14–15; Mark 4:12; & Luke 8:10 to show that these words are fulfilled in them, they understood the parables (common stories that illustrate spiritual truths) but failed to understand what it really meant, they closed their eyes and rejected the truth
This is also quoted in John 12:39-40 to explain how it could be possible for the Jews to see all of Jesus’s miracles and still not believe in him.
This is one of the effects of the gospel to those who constantly rejects God. 2 Corinthians 2:16 says to the one an aroma from death to death… This is a shocking message and can be hard to accept for some who fail to understand the gospel message.
This is a clear prophetic message that can never be misunderstood. Acts 28:24 – Paul in Rome …some are persuaded but others would not believe…
God sends Isaiah to foretell the ruin of his people. Many hear the sound of God’s word, but do not feel the power of it. Many saw God’s work but do not respond in reverence and submission.
In order to change those who rejects the truth, we must be constantly telling them the truth. There’s no other way for the people to be saved but to tell them the truth—the message of the gospel, the message of hope and judgment.
There are two New testament passages with different results Acts 2:37 & Acts 7:54 both hear the message of the gospel, that Christ is LORD and resurrected from the dead. The former asked “Brothers, what shall we do.” The latter were furious and gnashed their teeth at the messenger.
How many times have you heard the gospel, but you won’t still repent? How many times have you heard that there is forgiveness in the blood of the lamb but you won’t avail of its sufficiency?
A MESSAGE THAT SECURES JUDGMENT.
Notice that this is a Preventive Command. God actively commanded him that they may not be saved. “do not understand, do not perceive. Make the minds . . . dull (NLT – harden the hearts, NIV- make them calloused); deafen their ears
Blind their eyes (seal them up). Closing the eyes is an act of punishment by Oriental monarch or a barbaric practice. These strong commands from God are designed to prevent the Israelites from seeing, hearing, understanding, turning, and being healed.
When they are hardened, they will refuse to repent and be healed of their sins.
Lastly, this is a Judicial abandonment. Alec Motyer observes that the prophet arranges them (10) into a rounded structure (heart … ears … eyes … eyes … ears … heart) thus emphasizing total inability to comprehend.
Men harden their hearts and Satan blinds (2 Cor 4:4), but God also plays a role in hardening hearts and blinding eyes.
When we expose the hearts of men by telling them the truth they are in danger of further rejecting the truth, leading to total abandonment by God. And there is no return (Heb. 6:4–8).
When God abandons a sinner by hardening his heart, he is being given over to his sin (Romans 1:24, 26, 28, 3x times Paul writes God gave them over). God gave them over to their love of sin because they are stubborn and unwilling to repent.
This is the judgment that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil”John 3:19
When we tell men the truth that should be an opportunity for them to be saved and to repent would be the cause of a greater judgment if they continue in sin.
It is troubling to people who think God always only acts to open blind eyes, soften hardened hearts, and work salvation in everyone to whom he sends a messenger. But clearly this passage teaches the opposite: sometimes God sends a messenger specifically to harden hearts and confirm the condemnation of people.
Truly the message that we carry to the world is a message that hardens and a message of judgment for the unrepentant. Let’s take heed to the Words of Albert Mohler from his book We cannot be silent: speaking truth to a culture redefining sex, marriage, and the very meaning of right and wrong, he says,
We are called to be the people of the truth, even when the truth is not popular and even when the truth is denied by the culture around us… God’s truth has not changed. The holy Scriptures have not changed. The gospel of Jesus Christ has not changed. The church’s mission has not changed. Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.Albert Mohler, We Cannot be Silent
In all of this, our confidence is in God’s mercy, we have a serious message and we must be serious in carrying it. Rom 9:18
For those who continue to reject the gospel. Take heed to this,
This little game we’re playing of, “I go to church,” and we show up completely unmoved, no real desire to submit our lives to the Lord, repeatedly hearing the gospel and doing nothing with it is literally taking steps toward the ongoing hardening of our hearts toward the things of God. It is a foolish game to play with your soul. Our God will not be mocked! He is not going to be mocked. You’re not going to play games with him. He can’t be deceived. You’re not tricking anybody.Matt Chandler Acts (Part 2) – The Church is Born
Some of you may say, “Okay, so the LORD hardens me? What use if I repent of my sin, the LORD hates me anyway.” If that is your response, let me tell you again, you have no other hope.
The gospel offer of hope and salvation is still available to anyone who would acknowledge their sinfulness and need of Christ. The good news is that Christ shed His blood on the cross that you may be forgiven and be reconciled to God. Repent and believe the gospel!
SOLI DEO GLORIA!
3 thoughts on “A Commission that Carries A Serious Message”
Good reminder the message and the Gospel is not changed. May we take this message and the transmission of this message seriously.
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Amen. May God help us all!
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