As we start our adventure through Isaiah 40-55, Pastor Matt brings us the BIG IDEA that The Holy One is Coming. How should we live in light of this encouraging fact?
1. Be comforted (vv. 1-2)
2. Be ready (vv. 3-5)
3. Be bold (vv.9-11).


The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction Commentary by Alec Motyer

Isaiah: God Saves Sinners (Preach the Word Commentary) by Ray Ortlund

ESV Study Bible

Sermon Transcript

Have you ever felt not at home in your own home? I remember feeling that way my first semester at Penn State. The gray weather and the fast pace were so different from California. But it wasn’t just the weather and the pace that made me feel not at home in my home. Late in high school, after I became a Christian, I had a strong group of Christian friends at school, but in my Penn State philosophy classes I felt all alone with my Christian worldview and I didn’t fit. I didn’t feel at home in my home. But the most challenging part that first semester was with my gymnastics teammates. I would go to parties with them most weekends, but because I was trying to follow Jesus and didn’t drink, I was always on the outside socially, often pressured and belittled. And I lived with these guys, trained with them, ate with them, and traveled with them. The experience of being an outsider was all encompassing. I wasn’t at home in my home. I can remember going for a walk one night, feeling at a breaking point, wanting to go back to California, but knowing that wasn’t possible. It was one of my more hopeless experiences. I was stuck not feeling at home in my home. Have you ever felt that way?

If you have ever felt not at home in your home, then you know a little bit about what the people that Isaiah wrote Isaiah 40-55 to were experiencing. Let me explain. In Isaiah 1-39 we learn that God’s old covenant people – Israel – were living in wide scale faithlessness and rebellion against God in the eighth century BC. As a result of their rebellion against God, God promised – through Isaiah – that his people would be conquered by the Babylonian empire and the survivors would be hauled off to Babylon to live as slaves and exiles in Babylon (see Isaiah 38-39). Under divine judgment and merciless human force, they were going to Babylon and exiles. My spiritual hero and Isaiah scholar Ray Ortlund rightly describes Babylon – “In the Bible, Babylon is more than an ancient culture; it represents everything in this world that is humanly impressive but opposed to God.” Can you imagine the questions that God’s people must have wrestled with in exile? “Is God great enough to rescue us from these Babylonians?” “Is God gracious enough to forgive our sins?” “Is there any hope for exiles?” Isaiah wrote Isaiah 40-55 in the eighth century but he wrote ahead in time – by divine inspiration – to teach the Babylonian exiles in the sixth century to hope in the Holy One – to hope in the Holy One whose answer to their questions is an emphatic “yes”!

Now, you may be wondering, “what does all this have to do with us?” Citylight Church – we are exiles too. We are not at home in our home in this present world. The Bible teaches that when you receive and rest in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, you receive a citizenship transfer. You belong to Christ’s heavenly kingdom – his kingdom is your true home. That’s why you never quite feel at home at work, at school, where you hobby, and even at times in your own family. Listen to how the Apostle Peter describes Christians in the New Testament. 1 Peter 1:1 – “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles…”Let’s face it – it can be exhausting, disorienting, and downright discouraging to not feel at home in your home – to live as elect exiles. And we have questions too. How can we live holy, happy, and boldly as sojourners, strangers, and exiles in this world? Well, the Apostle Peter tells us. 1 Peter 1:13 – “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Like God’s people in Babylon, to live holy and happy, we too need to learn to hope in the Holy One – to Hope in the Holy One. So, what has the Holy One promised us exiles that we can set our hope in? Isaiah 40:5 – And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” What has the Holy One promised us exiles that we can set our hope in? The answer is the big idea of our passage: The Holy One is coming. The Holy One is coming. What should we do in light of that promise? 1. Be comforted (vv. 1-2) 2. Be ready (vv. 3-5) 3. Be bold (vv.9-11).


How do you tend to respond when you experience the uncomfortable truth that this world is not your home? How do you respond when your plans fall through, your purposes fail, setbacks come crashing down, and life just isn’t the way you hoped it would be? How do you respond when following Jesus and living publicly as a Christian looks frightening or costly? Does your heart get anxious? Do you indulge sinking discouragement? Do you grumble, complain, or get angry? Do you try to shift and shirk your way out of the discomfort by lying, cheating, fantasizing, lusting, or otherwise disobeying the Lord? Do you grab for power or take on the identity of a victim to gain a sense of control?

The Lord has something so much better for us. Instead of a false-fix, he offers us exiles comfort. The Holy One is coming – be comforted! Isaiah 40:1 – Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. What will he do when he comes that is so comforting? Isaiah 40:2 – Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. Remember the questions that were ringing in the ears of those suffering under the Babylonian exile? Is God great enough to rescue us from these Babylonians? Is God gracious enough to forgive our sins? God’s people were in a hopeless mess of their own making, but God is coming and he is great enough to rescue them from Babylon and gracious enough to give them forgiveness that is double than their sins. That’s the kind of comfort that can calm your heart rate. Citylight Church – the Holy One – the Lord Jesus Christ is coming for us. He will end our exile in this world and bring us home to a new heaven and a new earth forever where he will finally and completely put our sins away forever. The Holy One is coming – be comforted.

So, let me ask you again: How do you tend to respond when you experience the affliction of not feeling at home in your own home? Do you get discouraged, angry, grumbling, or seek to sin your way out of it? You have something far greater. You have the promise that the sins and sufferings of this present exile are light and momentary compared to what it will be like when the Holy One comes for you. So, instead of fretting or trying to escape this present exile, seek his comfort, ask Him to give you a quiet heart that is calmed by the hope that the Holy One is coming for you and soon exile will be no more. The Holy One is coming – be comforted. That’s the first thing we do with the hopeful promise that the Holy One is coming. The second is…


The promise that the Holy One is coming isn’t only a comfort. It’s also a warning. You can feel the comfort and the warning of it. Isaiah 40:5 – And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” The Holy One is surely coming – be ready for it. We see the significance of being ready for it in the way that this promise is fulfilled.

How is Isaiah’s promise that the promise that the Holy One is coming fulfilled? Perhaps an illustration will help. Think about a mountain range. Have you ever seen a beautiful mountain range before, maybe in the American west or up in New England? If you have, then you know that when you see a mountain range far off in the distance, it looks like all the mountains are right next to one another, one right after another and that you’ll approach them all at once. However, once you get close to the mountain range you realize that there is distance, sometimes a massive distance from one mountain to another, even though from far off they looked like they were right next to one another. The promise that the Holy One is coming is like that. It’s fulfilled in stages.

The first stage of fulfillment – the first mountain – was when God sent Cyrus King of Persia to conquer Babylon and release God’s people to return to the Promised Land – the Holy One came!

The second stage of fulfillment was the first coming of the Holy One – the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, John the Baptist quoted our passage in Isaiah to warn – there is that theme of warning – to warn people to be ready for him. Matthew 3:1-3, 6 – In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, [2] “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [3] For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”…[6] and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord Jesus Christ by saying, “the Holy One is coming – repent of your sins so that you are ready! The Holy One is surely coming and John the Baptists warns everyone to be ready by repenting of their sins. The Holy One is coming – be ready.

The final stage of fulfillment is still in the future. The Holy One – the Lord Jesus Christ will come again. As the Apostles Creed says, “he will come to judge the living and the dead.” His glory that was veiled at his first coming will be unveiled for all to see. And for all who repent of their sins and believe in him – for all who by receiving and resting in Christ alone for salvation in this life – are ready, it will be the most glorious and comforting fulfillment. He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, death and sadness will be no more, we will see his face, and we will reign with him forever. However, for those who are not ready – for those who do not receive and rest in Jesus alone for salvation – this final fulfillment of the promise that the Holy One is coming will bring just and everlasting judgment for all disobeying and ignoring God in the world he created. The Bible says in Revelation – the last book of the Bible – that all who are not ready, whose names are not written in Jesus’ book of life will be thrown into judgment forever. Our God is coming – be ready!

Isaiah 40:3-5 Tells us how to be ready – 3 A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. When Isaiah writes about valleys being lifted up and every mountain made low, he’s not talking literally topography. Uneven ground becoming level and rough places plain is an illustration for preparing for God’s arrival by repenting of our sin. The Holy One is coming. Repent – turn from your sins and embrace the Lord Jesus as your only hope in life and in death – be ready.

My dad is eighty years old, he has dementia, and he’s dying. I don’t know how quickly, but it’s inevitable. I love my dad. My dad doesn’t follow Jesus. In December I wrote him a letter. He doesn’t remember reading it, but he did. In the letter I told him that he will meet God soon and he’s not ready. God is good and holy and just. My dad has spent his whole life disobeying and ignoring God. My dad is not ready for the Holy One to come. If he does he will be lost forever. That’s why I sent my dad the letter and pleaded with him to repent and believe. He’s not ready. My friend, you may not be eighty or have dementia, but you’re going to meet God too. The Holy One is coming. Are you ready? Have you repented and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins? If so, then you’re ready. Be comforted. If not, don’t waste any time. The Holy One is coming – be comforted, be ready, and finally…


If you’re comforted and ready, then be bold. Isaiah 40:9 – Go on up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good news; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good news; lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Citylight Church – the Holy One is coming! Be bold about the good news. Save your voice when it comes to other things. But when it comes to the good news, lift up your voices. Don’t be afraid. Instead boldly pray for your friends, co-workers, and classmates to believe the good news. Boldly love them in the name of Christ. Boldly invite them into your church. And boldly speak the good news to them so that they too can repent, believe in Christ, and be ready for the Holy One to come. The Holy One is coming – be bold. Your friends, loved ones, co-workers, and classmates may not look like my dad, but if they don’t know the Lord Jesus then they aren’t ready. Because you love them – be bold.

What is the message that you’re heralding with all your bold strength? Isaiah 40:10-11 – Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. 11 He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. The message is that the Holy One is coming as a King and a Shepherd. A king coming with his sleeves rolled up and his arms strong and the reward of his victory – his rescued people – will be with him. A shepherd coming with gentleness to gather his lambs and bring us safely home forever. Who is this coming conquering King and gentle Shepherd? He is the Lord Jesus Christ. In John 10, the Lord Jesus Christ says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd…My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:11, 16, 27-28). And this Shepherd who laid down his life for us on the cross, he rose again and is coming again to reign as king forever. Revelation 5:12, 13 – Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” …“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” The Holy One – the Lord Jesus Christ – who is the King-Shepherd has come and he is coming again! Be comforted, be ready, and be bold!


Citylight Church – you can be sure that the Holy One is coming. Be comforted, you must be ready, and you can be bold because the Holy One has given you his word. And unlike everything in this world, his word stands forever. Isaiah 40:6-8 – A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Be comforted, be ready, and be bold because the Holy One is certainly coming.