We Are Gospel People

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Pastor Eugene shared this exhortation from Isaiah 40:1-11 at the Combined Thanksgiving Service on 12 August 2023. 

Sixty-four years ago, 51 Christians gathered to constitute Grace Baptist Church as its first members. Since then, we’ve known God’s kind and generous spiritual and physical provision in both good and tough times. So, as we gather today, we look back with gratitude and joy. We also look forward with faith and hope, with a sense of eager expectation about the Lord’s continued work in and through us. We praise God for what he has done. We also renew our resolve to press on in faithfulness to the gospel.

Indeed, we are gospel people. Grace Baptist Church exists only because of the gospel. If God did not first graciously save and gather us, this church would not exist. We have been redeemed by the gospel; we continue to grow through the gospel; we are to keep going with the gospel to proclaim Jesus saves. What does it mean to be gospel people?

Let's read Isaiah 40:1-11 together.

These words are spoken to a people who have faced judgment for turning away from God. In Isaiah 39, God warns Hezekiah, king of Judah, of impending disaster. The nation will be conquered by Babylon and carried away into exile. “Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, 'Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD.'" (Isa 39:5-6)

Judah was driven away from the promised land because of the nation’s sinful rebellion against God. The holy God cannot dwell with an unholy people. Our sin separates us from God. But God, who abounds in grace and mercy, has opened up the way for us to return to him. He has not left us helpless and hopeless. In Isaiah 40:1-11, God assures us that sin does not get the last word. There is restoration after judgment. God himself will come to save sinners.

This is the big idea of the passage: God comforts His people by proclaiming the good news of His salvation. As gospel people:

  1. We hope in the comfort of the gospel, and
  2. We proclaim the power of the gospel.

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We hope in the comfort of the gospel (Isa 40:1-8)

Isaiah 40:1 begins with a call to comfort God’s people. For a people burdened by sin and guilt, what can be more comforting than hearing God speak peace to us? Indeed, He says “comfort” twice, emphasising the riches of the gospel. True comfort can only be found in God—He is our only hope. This comfort is based on four truths: concerning people, pardon, presence, and permanence.


“Comfort, comfort my people” (Isa 40:1a). God has not forsaken His people. He has not forgotten His covenant promises. Back in Genesis, God promised to raise up offspring for Abraham, as well as to bless the world through Abraham’s seed. Despite His people’s unfaithfulness, the faithful God will see to it that His promised Servant-King will come through Judah, just as He said.

In the fullness of time, God sent His Son, Jesus, to save sinners. Jesus is the promised seed of Abraham. By believing in Jesus, we become God’s people. So, we’re no longer strangers and aliens, far from God and far from one another. In Christ, we are reconciled to God and to one another. Because we share in Christ, we can love one another although we may be different in many other ways. May we reflect the gospel in how we love and serve one another as members of the same spiritual family. Let’s encourage one another with the comfort we have in the gospel.


The comfort for God’s people is founded upon the pardon for sins. Isaiah is to “speak tenderly to Jerusalem” the good news that “her iniquity is pardoned”. Whereas Isaiah was earlier commissioned to pronounce judgment, now he is tasked to preach the peace of sins forgiven. But how can a holy God pardon guilty sinners, while still upholding His righteousness and justice?

The answer is found in the Servant of the Lord, who bears God’s judgment on behalf of sinners. “But He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to His own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa 53:5-6)

Jesus is the humble servant who laid down His life to save sinners like us. We have all rejected God. But God, in His amazing love for the unlovely, sent His Son to save us. At the cross, Jesus bore God’s wrath for us, that we might be forgiven and made right with God if we believe in Jesus. Jesus died the death we deserved. He rose to give us new life. He ascended in glory to rule as King forever. He will come again. Let’s prepare the way of the Lord by repenting of our sins and believing in Jesus to save us. In Christ, we are a pardoned people. So, let’s be kind and tenderhearted to one another, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave us.


“The glory of the LORD shall be revealed” (Isa 40:5a). Despite Judah’s exile, God promises to again reveal His glory to His people. God will come to save and dwell with His people.

Our comfort is founded on God’s presence with us. This promise has been fulfilled in Jesus. He is the living Word who has come to show us the Father. “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." (Jn. 1:14)

Jesus is God with us. In him, the church is God’s dwelling place by the Spirit. We are being built together as God’s holy temple, to display His glory to all the world. Therefore, take heart. God will never leave nor forsake us.


Our comfort is founded on the permanence of God’s word. We can trust His promises because His word endures for eternity. “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field… The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isa 40:6, 8) Our flesh may fail, but God’s word cannot and will notfail. All of God’s promises find their Yes in Jesus Christ.

The world breaks its promises. Its fleeting comforts fade away. But God’s word is a firm foundation for our hope. May we as a church continue to sink deep roots into God’s unchanging truth. The Lord has been faithful to us; will we continue to be faithful to His gospel and His word? Let’s preach the word, listen to the word, trust, and obey the word.

Let’s humbly submit to the authority of God’s word. To grow as a church, we must allow God’s word to continually challenge, correct, and conform us to Christ. Beloved, we are gospel people because we received comfort in Christ. Therefore, we can sing praises to our faithful God.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow:
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Great is Thy faithfulness!

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We proclaim the power of the gospel (Isa 40:9-11)

Having been comforted by the gospel, we are to proclaim the power of the gospel: “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!'” (Isa 40:9) The good news is God himself is coming in power to save: “Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and His arm rules for him” (Isa 40:10a). We announce the good news that God has made himself known to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. We behold God’s glory of God in the face of Christ. Whoever knows the Son knows the Father also.

God did not wait for us to find our own way to him. He took the initiative to gather and guide us to green pastures: “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." (Isa 40:11) God has graciously drawn near to us in Christ. He saves sinners through His sinless life, His sacrificial death on the cross, and His victorious resurrection from the grave. Jesus is the good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep. Our Saviour is gentle and lowly in heart. He lovingly cares for the sheep, encouraging the fainthearted and helping the weak. Are we struggling with weakness and burdened by suffering? Let’s draw near to our Good Shepherd, who knows and loves us. To those of us who serve the church as under-shepherds, let’s reflect the grace and compassion of our Chief Shepherd, who has entrusted His sheep to our care.

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Beloved, this gospel is our certain hope and comfort. Don’t keep it to ourselves. Go, tell it on the mountain! God has been faithful to us these past 64 years. May we respond with faithfulness to Him and His gospel. We’ve been blessed in Christ to bring blessing to others in the name of our Lord and Saviour. May we strive side by side to grow the gospel here and beyond through evangelism, missions, and building healthy churches.

So, don’t keep silent. Lift up our voices with faith, not fear. We are gospel people. Let’s hope in the comfort of the gospel. Let’s proclaim the power of the gospel.