Text: Isaiah 26:3-4; Proverbs 3:5-6
New sermon series this November with the Theme: “Traits of a True Disciple” based on the passage:
Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart (1-Trsut) and lean not on your own understanding (2-Dependence); in all your ways submit to him (3-Submission), and he will make your paths straight (4-Listening).”
Week 1: WHOLEHEARTED TRUST
Introduction: We have a lot of Trust Issues. In today’s sermon, the Prophet Isaiah is challenging the people of God to Trust in God Wholeheartedly—without any hint of doubt or hesitation. The Power of Looking Up Before You Look In
Text: Isaiah 26:3-4, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”
Background: When the kingdom of Judah started not listening to God and trusting on their own, God called Isaiah to prophesy the impending destruction of their kingdom from the hands of Assyrians (modern-day Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey). Still, because of God’s grace, God promised that he will secure those who will wholeheartedly trust in Him.
Illustration: What does it mean to trust Jesus wholeheartedly? I will be using an illustration that will serve as our guide to understand Isaiah’s challenge to Trust God. – The week before I arrived in the US to start my studies in Kentucky, my seminary classmates asked me to join them to hike Mount Pulag (the second highest mountain in the entire islands of the Philippines). Being young, proud, and foolish, I immediately said okay, even without any prior preparation. That started this tragic story of trusting myself. No one told me that it would take at least two (2) days just to reach the highest peak and another day (1) to go. You can do it in one and a half days if you’re a professional hiker.
Main Idea: This might be different from how Prophet Isaiah was telling the kingdom of Judah, but this was the prelude to my journey called “Never Trusting Myself Again.” Indeed, it was an excruciating reality for me. Months after arriving in Kentucky, COVID happened and forced me to be isolated while finishing my second master’s degree. No work, no support, no food, but just fully trusting God. I thought to myself, maybe I was wrong to come here to the States. But fully entrusting God.
- Constant Trusting – the keyword in Isaiah’s words is steadfast or whose mind is stayed on you. It presents the same character of God’s love—hesed and emet. It means unwavering, unchanging, committed, uncompromising, and loyal. It is a continual process of trusting God.
- Illustration: one major thing that made me survive the hike to the summit of Mount Pulag is when the local guide told me to “just keep walking”—it does not matter how big your steps are or how small it is, as long as you keep walking, there is progress.
- Applying that principle, being steadfast in our trust in God is to be constantly trusting God. Unwavering—he was likened to a Rock eternal—never moving, unchanging. Small steps are still steps and produce progress in our lives. Remember, in Matthew 17:20, when the disciples failed to trust God, Jesus said, “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Even when we are going through trials, trust God.
- Contrite Heart – another characteristic of having a steadfast attitude is to have a contrite heart. To have a contrite heart means to be broken, repentant, and ashamed of being proud. Simply saying, being humbled. A humble heart is a requirement for trusting God wholeheartedly. No proud person would trust someone except himself.
- Illustration: Do you know when I realized that I could not finish the hike to the summit of Mount Pulag? From the very beginning of the hike. Before entering the trail, you need to climb to the visitor center for the final orientation at the foot of the mountain. That 15-minute climb already proved that I could not do the hike. It was a heartbreaking moment because we had traveled far already, and at the same time, it was embarrassing because the natives there were looking at me and laughing. Only a broken, contrite heart can fully trust God.
- Having a contrite heart is a requirement. It is also true during the time when Moses, David, and other prophets asked their people to perform sacrificial rites (compare David to King Saul).
- Communal Trusting – this might be my own words, but I realized when Isaiah wrote this passage that it is not only limited to one person who is trusting God. But it is also in the context of community. At first, in verse 1, it tells us about a strong city (community). In the second verse, it tells us about the righteous nation (community). Up at the very end, Isaiah is prophesying that there will be a community of believers of God who will be forever secured. What community is this? The church.
- The book of Isaiah is prophetic. It is all pointing to Christ. The virgin birth of Christ, the Suffering Servant, and the covenant of redemption. All of these are in the book of Isaiah and point to Jesus Christ. Specifically, in our passage, the call is to trust God communally. Not just by one person but together. (last week’s togetherness)
- Illustration: I do believe that I cannot survive the hike to the summit of Mount Pulag alone. I needed my friends, the local guide, and even those hikers whom you’ll encounter during that 3-day hike. (though the picture is the Mount Ulap hike)
- We need to trust God and Jesus together. Not only me as the pastor. But all of us. The enemy, the devil, enters through a hole of unfaithfulness and doubt to penetrate and destroy the community of believers—the church.
- That is why, I want you to be serious with your small groups, bible studies, prayer groups, and fellowships, because it is there that you cultivate your heart, mind, and life in trusting God—a Wholehearted Trust!
Conclusion: A wholehearted trust consists of constant trusting, contrite heart, and communal trusting. Let us take the challenge of Isaiah to trust God wholeheartedly—that is a trait of a true disciple.
Pastor John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
November 5, 2023