Now that we’ve planned the sermon on Isaiah 9:1-7, we can begin writing it.
1. Gather supportive material for each point or move of the outline.
I. The Child’s Identity
A. He is human.
Explanation: The child who is born, the son who is given is clearly a human being.
Quotation: Commentator John Oswalt writes: “Isaiah indicates frequently that God was powerful enough to destroy his enemies in an instant, yet again and again, when the prophet comes to the heart of the means of deliverance, a childlike face peers out at us. God is strong enough to overcome his enemies by becoming vulnerable, transparent and humble….”
Explanation: And was a child like this born in ancient Israel? Some point to Hezekiah. But we Christians know this is a prophecy of the birth of Jesus Christ. Isaiah says: “For to us a child is born….” And in Luke 2 the angel says, “A Savior has been born to you….” Jesus’ humanity was necessary so he could live our life and die in our place.
B. He is a king.
Explanation: In the Old Testament David was the ideal king of God’s people. The prophets promised that a descendant of David would come to save his people. This is one of these prophecies.
Explanation: In the New Testament Jesus is linked to King David again and again. Luke 1:31-33; 68-69. Jesus is a child who was born to be king. He didn’t look like a king. He wouldn’t let the people make him a king. To Pilate he said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” But after his crucifixion and resurrection, he was exalted to God’s right hand and he rules, having all authority in heaven and on earth. “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”
II. The Child’s Names
A. Wonderful Counselor (or “Wonder of a Counselor”)
Illustration and explanation: Old Testament kings had advisors or counselors, much as President ________ has [name the advisor] today. The counselor advises the leader on the best course of action. This child will not only be a ruler. He’ll also be a counselor, a “Wonder of a Counselor” because of his incredible wisdom.
Explanation: Jesus fulfilled this name during his earthly ministry. He taught people with great wisdom, calling them to faith. Before he died, he promised his disciples “another counselor to be with you forever-the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17). Now through the Holy Spirit Jesus is a “Wonderful Counselor” for us.
B. Mighty God (or “Warrior God”)
Explanation: God is often depicted as a warrior in the Old Testament. But how can a human child be called, “God the Warrior”? This puzzle isn’t solved until we get to the New Testament. Jesus is called “Immanuel, God with us.” During his earthly ministry, he battles the powers of evil. When he’s crucified, Satan is cast out (John 12:31). Revelation 19: Christ returns as a warrior, with a sharp sword coming out of his mouth with which to strike down the nations.
C. Everlasting Father
Illustration: Think of how a good father provides for his children and seeks to protect them from anyone who would harm them.
Explanation Ancient kings were seen as fathers, who cared for their people. As the Everlasting Father, this king’s care will last forever.
Explanation: Jesus showed fatherly care and compassion for people. Matthew 9:36-37. As the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep, and no one can snatch them from his hand (John 10). Now in heaven Jesus is merciful and sympathetic, and always lives to pray for us (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14-16; 7:25).
D. Prince of Peace
Explanation: Hebrew “shalom” = peace, abundance of health and prosperity. Micah 4:4. As the “Prince of Peace,” that’s the kind of peace this child will bring.
Explanation. Jesus once said he did not come to bring peace (Matthew 10:34). He knew he’d cause division between those who accepted him and those who didn’t. But through his death, Jesus has reconciled us to God and given us peace with God (Romans 5:1) and peace with one another (Ephesians 2:14). And when he comes again, he’ll bring the fullness of shalom. As the angels sang at his birth, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
III. The Child’s Reign
A. It will be everlasting. (vs. 7)
Explanation: Some Old Testament descendants of David had short reigns, some had long reigns. Unlike these kings, Jesus will rule forever. “His kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:33). See also Hebrews 1:8.
B. It will bring blessings.
1. Joy (vs. 3)
Illustration: Tens of thousands without power because of severe ice storms. What great joy when they again have power, heat and light. And in the same way, people rejoice when delivered from spiritual darkness. The angel who announced the birth of Christ said it was “good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
2. Freedom (vs. 4)
Explanation: “The day of Midian’s defeat,” refer to Judges 7, Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites. Isaiah says likewise God will use this child to break the yoke and rod that bind his people.
Explanation: Jesus liberated people: healed the sick, cast out demons, forgave sins. Through his cross and faith in him, the yoke of sin can be smashed, the bar of death broken, the rod of our oppressor, Satan, shattered.
Illustration: From American folk song sung by freed slaves: “No more auction block for me, no more, no more, no more auction block for me, many thousand gone. No more driver’s lash for me, no more, no more, no more drivers’ lash for me, many thousand gone. No more slavery chains for me, no more, no more, no more slavery chains for me, many thousand gone.”
3. Peace (vss. 5 and 7)
Explanation: Christ has brought peace, but plenty of blood-spattered uniforms and army boots remain in our world. They still need to be burned. But the shed blood of Jesus removes your guilt and gives you peace with God. And the fruit of the Spirit is peace. A far greater shalom is still to come at the end of time.
Illustration: The contrast between Christ’s victory on the cross and the peace of the new creation is like the contrast between the Normandy invasion on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and the final victory in Europe and unconditional surrender of the Nazis on VE-Day, May 8, 1945.
2. Write the sermon introduction.
The history of celebrating Christmas on December 25. The Romans celebrated the birth of the unconquered sun (S-U-N) on this day. It was also just a few days after the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. So it seemed like an appropriate time to celebrate the coming of the light.
The physical darkness of this time of year is a powerful symbol of the spiritual darkness of our world, caused by our rebellion against God. Because of that, sin enslaves us and we’re worthy of eternal death.
Examples of people in darkness: A woman with negative thoughts both about herself and others. She’s deeply critical of her boss and coworkers, but is also very insecure herself. She doesn’t pray, isn’t sure God exists. A man addicted to alcohol, about to lose his job and his marriage. Both desperately need spiritual light.
Refer to verses 1 and 2 of Isaiah 9. What is the source of this light? Verse 6 a child who has been born. This child brings light into our spiritually dark world.
How does he do that? Let’s answer that question by looking at what Isaiah says.
3. Write the body of the sermon.
The body of the sermon can be written using the supportive materials above, or others that fit the circumstances in which your congregation members are living.
4. Write the sermon conclusion.
Illustration: H. G. Wells story, “The Country of the Blind.” An explorer named Nunez discovered a valley in which everyone was born blind. When he tried to tell these people about the sense of sight, they dismissed what he said as a fable and thought he was mentally deranged.
Non-Christians like those mentioned in the introduction are like people in the country of the blind. They’re in spiritual darkness, but don’t realize it. Darkness seems normal, because they’ve never seen the light. They’ve never met the child that brings light.
Have you met him? Has he brought you light? If you’re in darkness, come to Christ, and step into the light. Submit yourself to his wise and loving rule. He is a Wonderful Counselor. He is God the Warrior, who can break the power of sin. He is the Everlasting Father, whose love will never let you go. He is the Prince of Peace, who will bless you with shalom. “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. … The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”
If you have trusted in Christ, tell others about the light. They may scoff or ridicule. But God’s Spirit can open blind eyes and show them the child who gives light.
Oswalt, John N. The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. 245. ↑