The Real Answer to the Real Problem
THE REAL ANSWER TO THE REAL PROBLEM
Here is an excerpt from the sermon "Behold The Everlasting Light! An Exposition of Isaiah 8:20–9:7":
“Being greatly distressed and hungry” is indicative of oppression and poverty. Such oppression and hunger could be felt in physical and political terms, as when one nation loses a war and is now subjugated to the victorious power, or when a tribal warlord gathers all power and wealth to himself and leaves the masses to suffer. Such oppression and hunger could also be felt in financial and social terms, as when an economy falters and jobs are lost, or when the societal fabric is so torn that it becomes violent and unsafe. Ultimately, however, we must understand the spiritual component of oppression and hunger that befalls an ungodly people. The very people that Jesus ministered to “were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38). To be a sinner is not only to be under the sway of Satan, but also to be under the sway of sin: sin is master, and the sinner is slave to it (John 8:34, Romans 6:15-23). When Jesus said that the Holy Spirit was empowering Him to bring the gospel to “the poor” and “the captives” and “the blind” and “the oppressed” (Luke 4:18), He wasn’t introducing an ‘economic prosperity for all’ program. It is true, of course, that there is economic fruit that grows on the tree of godly wisdom: learning to be wise stewards of what we have, sharing what we have with others, caring for widows and orphans, equipping others to stand on their own two feet, and so on. But we do not want to be like the pseudo-reformers who heal the disease of the people lightly by attempting to medicate the symptoms. What people actually need is to be convicted of their sin and then to behold “the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6) shining down on them from a blood-stained cross (1 Peter 2:24). Get rooted there, in Christ, and beautiful fruit will grow on the tree. But outside of Christ, the only fruit you will get is rotten, while the distresses and hungers multiply.
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