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Dec 22, 2019

Tidings of Comfort

Tidings of Comfort

Passage: Isaiah 40:1

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Isaiah: The Story Beneath the Story

Christmas means many things--among them is a word and work of comfort that in turn renews strength for life.

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text: John 1:14
Advent Reading & Lighting of the Candle: Luke 1:46-55
Sermon Title: Tidings of Comfort
Central Text: Isaiah 40:1-11, 27-31
Benediction: Ephesians 3:20-21
Post-Service Text: Isaiah 40:31

12.22.19 Sermon Notes

Readings & Scripture

Pre-Service Text: John 1:14
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the
only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Advent Reading

The fourth candle of the Advent wreath is the Love Candle

Luke 1:46-55
It is Mary’s hymn of praise to the Lord, known as The Magnificat. If you’re able, please stand for the reading of God’s Word.

And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Central Text: Isaiah 40:1-11, 27-31
Is. 40:1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
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.

Is. 40:3 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.
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.”
Is. 40:6 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.

Is. 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!”
10 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.

Is. 40:27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Benediction: Ephesians 3:20-21
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Post-Service Text: Isaiah 40:31
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

Related Scripture

  • Psalm 37:7, 46:10
  • John 1:14-18
  • Romans 8:18-25
  • Romans 11:28-30
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
  • Hebrews 1:1-4

Discussion Questions & Applications


  1. What would comfort you most when you were a child? Why do you think it helped?
  2. What is the word of comfort in the first two verses? Why would that comfort them? Why would the same word in your setting still be a word of comfort?
  3. Why would the glory of God that surpasses the frailty of man be a word of comfort (vv.3-8)?
  4. What wearies you most? What takes the most from you? How is what Jesus has done for us and is to us (and by His Spirit with us) out to replenish what has wearied you?




  • The celebration of Advent is possible only to those troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come. - Dietrich Bonhöeffer
  • ...He came to a world which did not mesh,
    to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
    In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
    the Maker of the stars was born.

    We cannot wait till the world is sane
    to raise our songs with joyful voice,
    for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
    He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
    - “First Coming,” Madeleine L’Engle
  • Jesus loves us now. Not tomorrow when we’re better. We’re a family of saved sinners. Not just in theory, but in reality. - Jonty Langley
  • The Gospel is bad news before it is good news. It is the news that man is a sinner, to use the old word, that he is evil in the imagination of his heart, that when he looks in the mirror all in a lather what he sees is at least eight parts chicken, phony, slob. That is the tragedy. But it is also the news that he is loved anyway, cherished, forgiven, bleeding to be sure, but also bled for. That is the comedy. - Frederick Buechner
  • If we strive to be happy by filling the silence of life with sound, productive by turning all life’s leisure into work, and real by turning all our being into doing, we will only succeed in producing a hell on earth. If we have no silence, God is not heard in our music. If we have no rest, God does not bless our work. If we twist our lives out of shape in order to fill every corner of them with action and experience, God will seem silently to withdraw from our hearts and leave us empty. - Thomas Merton
  • It's not
    What you thought
    When you first began it
    You got
    What you want
    Now you can hardly stand it though,
    By now you know
    It's not going to stop
    It's not going to stop
    It's not going to stop
    'Til you wise up

    You're sure
    There's a cure
    And you have finally found it
    You think
    One drink
    Will shrink you 'til you're underground
    And living down
    But it's not going to stop
    It's not going to stop
    It's not going to stop
    'Til you wise up

    Prepare a list of what you need
    Before you sign away the deed
    'Cause it's not going to stop
    It's not going to stop
    It's not going to stop
    'Til you wise up
    No, it's not going to stop
    'Til you wise up
    No, it's not going to stop
    So just...give up
    - Aimee Mann, “Wise Up”


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