sermons of note

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Rev. E. Anderson
THE DOUBLE BLESSING OF GOD

Reading Isaiah 61

Text v7 NIV

Introduction

PROPHECY: Up to Isaiah 40 the prophet had been predicting and preaching judgment upon God’s people because of their sinful behavior. He describes them in his opening remarks, under divine illumination and inspiration as, “Ah sinful nation, a people loaded with guilt, a brood of evil doers, children given to corruption. They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel, and turned their backs on Him.” The consequence of their evil landed them in deep trouble and so they were seemingly forsaken and eventually they became a slave people in Babylon. But God was not to leave them there utterly desolated: He was to visit and raise them to be a people again. The prophet moves on into the ministry of encouragement in chapter 40 and shows that God’s people had reaped more than they had sowed. She had received “from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins” – v2.

“The chastisement which God inflicts upon his people is often long- continued. But the harvest of righteousness and peace and joy that springs from it will be so abundant, that the suffering will be forgotten in comparison with the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” that follows.” JFB

There was to be a new era that signified divine change and transformation and it would commence with a new revelation and manifestation of Jehovah – chapter 40. He was to be inspired with a new impetus and inflatus and with a fresh vision. Tremendous possibilities now lie ahead through the intervention of God. There were new things on the horizon. Through a sovereign visitation and ministration of the Lord, things would be uniquely altered. Jeremiah confirms this in 29:11. He had already formulated plans to reverse all the evil that had occurred. Plans were in hand to give an ‘end and expectation’ – margin. The Lord knows how to bring things to the best climax and conclusion and to effect new beginnings.

Illustration: Job – contrast chapters 2 & 3 with 42

PROSPECTS: They were good as far as God was concerned because He was going to cause His Spirit to be amongst them to bring dramatic and dynamic alteration – Isaiah 61. This chapter has specific reference to Messiah and His supreme and supernatural ministry in His day, but there was a part fulfillment of this earlier in Israel’s history. (What God has done once He can do it again on a grander and greater scale). Things were really bad but into this scene and situation the Lord was going to move and act. There would come the occasion and season of His double blessing. There was everything to look forward to. Listen to His prophetic word that is full of promise and prospect: “Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace (confusion) they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs” – v7 – NIV

The emphasis is upon the removal of shame and confusion (and how such is required and needed), and the great delight of receiving from the Lord’s own hand a double portion of blessing and to enter richly and fully into the inheritance of it. The blessed consequence: “everlasting joy.” The true sign and token of the people being significantly and divinely blessed is the elated, exuberant and rapturous state of being, spirit, soul and body. The Church of Jesus Christ must be the revealed seed that the Lord has doubly blessed. It is important to discover and know the immediate mind of the Lord with regard to His Church on earth today. This is made known in the Scriptures of truth and is communicated by divine revelation and insight.

1/. THE DIVINE PURPOSE

One of the major things that God has been planning and bringing into being from all eternity is to have a family and to have a family of sons – Ephesians 1: 3-6. This has been His great dream and His omniscience and omnipotence has gone and is going into it to bring it to realization and perfection. There is no way that He will be frustrated or hindered from effecting this outstanding purpose. One can say that this is what God is about through His beloved Son. Coincidence and chance does not come into the equation. The human family is but the intimation and forerunner of the divine family with unique distinctions and differences.

God is not only after ‘a family of sons’ but ‘firstborn sons.’ They are sons with a difference. One of the main hallmarks and possibilities to be recognized in relation to such is that they are marked out to be the possessors of ‘double blessing.’ So they are not birthed in an inferior role but one of superior note. They are called to be inheritors from the great Father and possessors of abundance. The latent plan that must become patent is that there is an inheritance of enormous worth and value to be laid hold of and entered into. Being birthed into the family is one thing: the vital factor that God the Father is concerned about is that the feature of life, faith and ministry should be the double-fold blessing. See 1 Peter 3:9 “knowing that you are thereunto called, that you should inherit a blessing.”

It has to be reckoned and believed on here and now, that it is not only God’s will to make us one of His firstborn sons, but equally so, to believe that in this new status we should be the partakers of double-blessing. He takes us out of shame, disgrace, dishonour and confusion to accept us as His own and then to treat us as His offspring in magnificent manner and measure. This must become faith’s position and expectation – see also Isaiah 54:1.4.

2/. THE DIVINE PRINCIPLE AND PROCEDURE

To show and prove that this is no vain ideology or false philosophy, He makes it plain in His choice and election of a people through Abraham. The nation that was to be given birth, manifestation and position through this unique character, Abraham, man of faith, and Israel was to stand out above all other nations and peoples on planet earth.

When Moses is sent to effect deliverance, he is commanded to declare to Pharaoh Israel’s status – Exodus 4:22 “And you shall say unto Pharaoh, ‘Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn’.” See also Jeremiah 31:9; James 1:18. The Lord was pleased to nominate and identify this people as being in a close and productive relationship with Himself. As the firstborn the peculiar and distinctive right of special blessing was afforded and this meant above everything else a condition of double blessedness.

“My son–my first-born; greatly beloved, and greatly favored.” – JFB

Jacob knew the value of this and so willfully, craftily and knowingly he deceived Esau into selling him the birthright of the firstborn –Genesis 25:29-34. Regrettably Esau lost out on the choicest fact of his relationship and life and so consequently missed out on what could have been his. He finished up a bitter man, resentful of his brother and what could have been his – Hebrews 12:15-17 “Looking diligently lest any man fail the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For you know how that afterward when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it with tears.”

“The birthright seems to have implied the first place or rank in the family; the privilege of offering sacrifice and conducting worship in the absence or death of the father; a double share of the inheritance; and in this instance the honour of being in the line of the patriarchs, and transmitting the promises made to Abraham and Isaac. What Esau parted with we can easily understand by reflecting on the honours which have clustered around the name of Jacob.” Barnes

Illustration: Reuben – Genesis 49: 3, 4 contrast Joseph vv22-26 – Ephraim – Mannaseh ; Also Gehazi 2 Kings 5

It was the plan of God to raise the whole status and condition of His people into a real blessed estate by bringing them into the land of Canaan and granting the blessing of the firstborn. All the other nations would have to ponder the reason for this nation’s existence and consider why she was in such a wealthy and healthy state. He gave them the conditions as they moved in to possess the land and they were compelled to think about the possible contrasting experience of curse and blessing – Deuteronomy 27 & 28; Joshua 8:30-35. None could plead ignorance and none should live in indifference to His law of curse and blessing.

3/. THE DIVINE PROMISE

In this instance, through Isaiah, He is coming with His prophetic word and assuring them it is now the time and season for the bondage to cease, the curse to be removed and a new period of double blessing to flow upon His people. He had not forsaken or forgotten them even though circumstances looked as if this was the case, but He was about to begin a fresh manifestation of His abundant favour. There was now, in the immediate, a fresh inspiration, power and purpose abroad that must be sensed, laid hold of and entered into and abound. It was imperative and urgent that this be not missed and by-passed.

Illustration: Luke 19:44 “because you knew not the time of your visitation.”

It was to be through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the prophets, Zechariah and Haggai, and the leadership of Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, and Joshua the high priest, that things would dramatically change. The spirit and mind-set of the leaders and people all had to change and there had to be a believing, expecting and a working to see the promise come to total realization. There would be no failure on the part of Jehovah and it was imperative that they did not fail to believe the promise and rise to enjoy a brand new era of blessing in an abundant style. The promise is a divine guarantee and the Lord has no intention of falling short of keeping His word. If there is one thing He loves and seeks to do, it is to stand by every assurance He has given.

Illustration: Caleb the father of Achsah promised to give springs of water – Joshua 15:16-19; Judges 1:12-15

4/. THE DIVINE PATTERN

The Scriptures provide a wonderful example of what it means to know and experience double-blessing. The OT reveals a man by the name of Elisha who could and would not settle for the norm – 2 Kings 2. He knew and sensed within his being he had been birthed for greater things and would not remain content until such was his lot. Others may live and work on a very low plain: not he. Right before and since his calling there was the conviction that much more was to be known to life. Living according to traditions and acting in line with others expectations was not enough. The past would have to be left behind because there was to be a divine investment given to him.

“If you are walking in the light, there is no harking back, the past is transfused into the present wonder of communion with God. If you get out of the light you become a sentimental Christian and live on memories, and your testimony has a hard metallic note. Beware of trying to patch up the present refusal to walk in the light by recalling a past experience when you did walk in the light. Whenever the Spirit checks, call a halt and get the thing right, or you will go on grieving Him without knowing it. – Oswald Chambers

There came the moment and opportunity when he could enter into the blessing of the firstborn. The exodus of Elijah was not to be a time of moaning, murmuring and melancholia but of expectancy, when something new and fresh could happen to his life and service. He became spiritually ambitious. Having seen what Elijah had achieved for God by His enabling presence and power, he would like to follow on with a mightier back-up action and operation and he knew how it could occur. It would be through a double anointing of the Holy Spirit.

It is known that he immediately entered into and enjoyed the dynamic of moving into a God-blessed ministry and so many benefited from the anointing on him. He was a blessing and wherever he went he was able to administer blessing in a divine and magnificent manner. So many stories could be told of how this one man doubly blessed people. Even a captive maid had been impressed by him and was sure of what this man could do for those who needed essential blessing. Even in death, his bones were doubly blessed and gave life to a corpse that was thrown in his tomb. What a testimony that man had!

5/. THE DIVINE PROCESS

Mainly and usually the route to this double state of blessing is by a process and that process involves being put under trial and pressure. Everyone would love to be doubly blessed but the route to it is not one that would be naturally chosen because it can involve a great deal of affliction, pain and suffering. But this is the way of God and it must not be shirked if one would reach a maximum condition of life, fruitfulness and abundance.

Illustration: What is one of the main ways a fruit tree produces loaded branches of fruit? Pruning – John 15

Job was blessed as chapter one reveals and the Lord was pleased with both his spiritual and material state and could highly commend him. Satan desired and designed that Job would be undone and that his faith would be destroyed and that the Lord would have no further use for him or pleasure in him. The Lord allowed his servant to go through an intense experience of suffering so that he would come out at the end with more faith than ever and into a doubly blessed condition. There did come an eventual conclusion to the ordeal and Job’s life, testimony and blessing simply abounded – Job 42:10, 12; See also Joseph. The trial became God’s ways and means of expansion and extension so that much more can be bestowed. The test reveals the quality and makes way for the quantity.

6/. THE DIVINE PROSPECT

Of all people and persons Christ is set forth as ‘the firstborn son’ and the prospect that we have is all because of Him and is to be found in Him. He is the ‘only begotten Son’ in the eternal world and ‘the first begotten Son’ in the kingdom of God and His new family. We receive our sonship and heir-ship in and through Him. We also obtain the rights and blessings of ‘firstborn sons’ in Christ. God has no grandchildren. All are His sons and firstborn sons with the entitlement of a double portion of blessing.

We are acquainted with the fact and truth that Jesus Christ knew what it was to live and act under the blessing of a double portion. The time came when He was anointed with the blessing of the Holy Spirit and than He began to believe and operate under the Holy Spirit dispensing blessing in remarkable and outstanding ways – Luke 3:21, 22; 4:1, 14, 18. He commences the Christian Church in a dynamic and dramatic way and revealed by His life and ministry that His kingdom is all about the manifestation and ministration of the ‘firstborn Son.’ By His own example He demonstrates the prospects that He has for all of Christendom.

Before He left those whom He had called and chosen, He assured them that they were about to enter into the Holy Spirit’s blessing and baptism and this would herald the beginning of the unique and unusual. The day of Pentecost witnesses the outpouring of the Spirit of God and from this experience things begin to be manifested of a supernatural order and affirmed a community of firstborn sons experiencing and enjoying the legacy of life and power. Peter is a ‘firstborn son’ that is full of divine prospect and through him the double blessing is in evidence. He appears a different person because he now knows the double blessing of God in his being and upon his ministry. So the Christian Church moved on in its prospect. The shame, confusion and depression were removed and dignity, delight and authority were in full view. It was the opposition that was reduced to disgrace, despair and gloom. To see this blessing flowing out and reaching the Gentile nations indicates the force of the double anointing.

7/. THE DIVINE PLEASURE

What is it that must give the Father the greatest joy, delight and pleasure? What affords to Him untold satisfaction and glorious emotion and fulfillment?

The Son of God, Jesus Christ, has been the means of eternal pleasure to the Father because He exhibits eternally the doubly blessed condition. There has never been a moment in eternity or in the time phase that Jesus Christ has not evidenced this great state of blessing. He has always been the Father’s joy as this has been manifested continually.

But now, the Father has increased pleasure and joy.

Why? Because He has a community of firstborn sons through His Son and now they are being doubly blessed. What is God the Father waiting to come into full view that will give Him enormous thrill? To see all of His sons with a double portion. Romans 8:19 “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.” The glory of the Father is not that we are His firstborn sons as a whole but that we are knowing and manifesting the glory of His inheritance of blessing. His sons are to be His honour and the channels through which He manifests His fullness of blessing.

CONCLUSION

Doubly blessed! What does it all mean?

Smith Wigglesworth : How many of you desire to be blessed? Put one hand up.
How many of you want to be doubly blessed? Put two hands up.

The will of God is that we should be blessed in this temporal world as well as the eternal world.

The will of God is that we should be blessed naturally as well as spiritually.

Do not allow anyone or anything to hinder you from knowing the delight of a doubly blessed life and work. It can all start NOW! TODAY!

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