May 9, 2005

I Cor. 16:9   For a wide door for effective work has opened to me,and there are many adversaries

.——The following was submitted by David Lau of Eau Claire, WI., USA. He is a teacher for our C.L.C. College and Seminary in Eau Claire.

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah lived about 700 years before Christ.   The Holy Spirit gave him the words of many prophecies of the Messiah.   There were prophecies of His birth. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given” (Is. 9:6).   There were prophecies of His suffering and death.   “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Is. 53:7).   There were prophecies of His ultimate victory.   “I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong” (Is. 53:12). But Isaiah described not only the future actions of the Messiah but also the future Messianic age.   The Messianic era, according to the prophet Isaiah, would be a time when all nations of the earth will learn to know their gracious Savior-God (the Suffering Servant) and rejoice in His salvation.   Let us take a look at a few of the many references. Already in the second chapter we hear the prophet proclaim: “Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths” (Is. 2:3).   Christianity is by no means confined to the tiny land of Israel.   Many Non-Jews or Gentiles have learned the ways of the Jewish Messiah and are walking in His paths.In Isaiah 11 the Messiah is called “a Rod from the stem of Jesse” (Is. 11:1). and “a Root of Jesse” (Is. 11:10). Jesse was the father of King David, from whose family the Messiah was to come.   Did the prophet say the Messiah would be honored only by the physical descendants of Abraham or David?   Not at all! “For the Gentiles shall seek Him, and His resting place shall be glorious” (Is.11:10). In Isaiah 42 we hear God foretelling the future work of the Messiah. “He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles. He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands shall wait for His law” (Is. 42:1,4).   The Messiah’s justice is His perfect righteousness that He wants to give to everyone in the whole world.   In this New Testament age, “the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe”(Rom. 3:21).   The “Law” that the coastlands are waiting for is the good news of Jesus Christ, who by His perfect obedience has won a perfect righteousness for us all, to be received by faith. The Gentiles, of course, have had their own deities and their own forms of worship.   But those deities are powerless idols, not really having any existence.   The God of Jacob, on the other hand, says “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth!   For I am God, and there is no other” (Is. 45:22). Surely God wanted His own people to rejoice in the coming of their Messiah.   He wanted all the Israelites to receive His Son with joy. But He also wanted the good news of His coming to get out into the Gentile world.   “The LORD has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Is. 52:10)  It is particularly in Isaiah 60 that the prophet describes the Messiah of the Jews as a worldwide Savior, praised by all the nations.   “The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Is. 60:3).   “All those from Sheba shall come; they shall bring gold and incense, and they shall proclaim the praises of the LORD” (Is. 60:6).When the Wise Men (the Magi) from the East came to worship the Child Jesus, they became the first of many Gentiles to hear of Him and to worship Him and to bring Him their treasures.   When Jesus was 40 days old, Simeon discovered Him in the Temple and declared Him to be the fulfillment of Isaiah’s visions.   The words he spoke make it plain that Jesus is the One of whom Isaiah was speaking,and it becomes clear also that Jesus is the Savior of all human beings: Jews, Gentiles, barbarians.  For this is what the prophet Isaiah said concerning the Servant of the LORD, the Messiah: “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth” (Is. 49:6).   And this is what Simeon said in the Temple, while He held the Infant Jesus in his arms:   “My eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel” (Lk. 2:30-32).As New Testament Christians wanting to proclaim the good news of Jesus, we have here a guideline that tells us there are no peoples whom God does not want to save; there are no individuals for whom Jesus did not die and rise again.   The apostle Paul recognized this on his first mission journey when his message was rejected by the Jews of the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia.   Boldly he stepped forward and said: “Behold, we turn to the Gentiles.   For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth'” (Acts 13:46-47).So let us encourage each other to keep on striving to get the Good News of Jesus out into all the corners of the world: in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where I live; in Fairbanks, Alaska; in North Port, Florida; in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada; in Efa, Nigeria; in Himo, Tanz.; in Etago, Kenya; in Nidubrolu, Andhra Pradesh, India; in Madras, India; in the Congo; in Lome, Togo; in Ghana, among the Muslims in northern Nigeria; among the Masai in Africa, among the Hindus in India; among the heathen in the United States; among those misled by false teachers throughout the world.For we believe and we know, as did the Samaritans from the village of Sychar: “This is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (Jn.4:42).

–David Lau, Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA


IT IS NOT DEATH TO DIE IN THE LORD. In the Vanyambadi District of the BELC Pastor Gideon has been transferred to the kingdom above.   His soul went from his body due to a road misshap.   At the age of 35 one does not generally expect a transfer so soon, but God wills.   He has left a wife and three children here on this earth to await the reunion.   Pastor Gideon served in the village of Nachayarkuppam.   When we were there for a service last October 28th there were 31 at least who attended.   This village has over 500 people, yet the congregation is only 22 members.   Pastor Gideon had worked there for some time.   Let us pray that the Lord sends another pastor to replace him to preach the wonderful news of a living Savior.   The service we held was right out in the open with the opportunity for any to come and hear.   Gideon had had music playing on a loudspeaker that day for some time before we arrived to get people’s attention.   He was faithful to his Lord and His Lord was faithful to him in calling him home.

In Christ, Pastor D. Koenig