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Month of December

So for the month of December, leading up to our Candlelight service, we’re gonna turn our attention to a very famous and well-known chapter in the Bible, especially when Christmas comes around. Which is Isaiah 9.

Isaiah 9

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7)

Live Aid Festival

Some of you may be familiar with the Live Aid Music Festival that happened in 1985.

If you don’t know, it was a fund raiser to raise money for Ethiopia which was experiencing a famine. Which experts estimate could have killed as many as 1.2 million people.

Well at this festival was the biggest music acts in the world.

  • Madonna
  • David Bowie
  • Queen
  • Elton John
  • Paul McCartney
  • Eric Clapton
  • Bob Dylan
  • Judas Priest
  • Black Sabbath
  • U2
  • Sting

All the teenagers in the room are like “Who?!” – They’re like “Was Drake there?” No Drake was not there.

Well at some point in the festival, all the big artists all came on to the stage and sang a song together. It was a big moment. Does anybody know the name of the song?

“The national anthem?” Not exactly.

They sang a song that was the theme song of the event called “We are the world” – written by Michael Jackson for the fundraiser.

And the words of the chorus are:

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

So they’re all up there singing and arms around each other and it’s like the greatest moment of this festival.

Well Bob Dylan was up there, and he was noticeably uncomfortable.

Just kinda up there by himself, just playing his guitar not looking like he was having a particularly good time.

Well there was a press conference afterwards and Bob Dylan was asked about looking uncomfortable during the song and he said “Humankind cannot save itself.”

Well the prophet Isaiah would agree with Bob Dylan. In fact, a fair deal of the book of Isaiah is dedicated to Isaiah clearly communicating that humanity, left on its own, will simply destroy itself. Let me show you what I mean…


It’s interesting that Isaiah chapter 9, where we’re focusing during this month, starts with the word “Nevertheless”

“Isn’t that 3 words?!” Yeah pretty much. It’s a word that means “In spite of all that”

So to understand chapter 9, you have to at least kind of understand chapter 8.

So let’s read the last 2 verses in chapter 8

Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. (Isaiah 8:21)

Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness. (Isaiah 8:22)

Merry Christmas everyone, by the way.

Ok so the end of Isaiah 8 is darkness and sorrow.

But then the very next verses are:

Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan— (Isaiah 9:1)

That is complicated bible talk for the place that Jesus will be born. You see, Isaiah jumped ahead in the story to when Jesus would be born and what the implications of his life death and resurrection mean for humanity.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)

So Isaiah, who is a prophet in the Old Testament. 700 years before Jesus came, and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote these things about Jesus.

And in Isaiah 9:6 when describing Jesus who won’t come for 700 years, Isaiah says this:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

So you’ve got these 4 titles:

  • Wonderful Counselor
  • Mighty God
  • Everlasting Father
  • Prince of Peace

And so for the month we’re going to do a quick-ish teaching of each of them.

This Week

And this week, we’re going to talk about the first one: Wonderful Counselor

It’s interesting that some translations have a comma between Wonderful and Counselor, others don’t.

So depending on what bible translation you have, it may say that he’s wonderful but he’s also a counselor. Or it may say that he’s a counselor and a he’s a wonderful one at that.

But for my week, I want to talk about Jesus being a counselor.

Now let me start off by stating the obvious: Counseling is not exciting. As a counselor, I can attest to the fact that people are not usually excited at the proposition of receiving counsel.

Bad Ideas

So let me see if I can get a little buy-in like this:

This past week I’ve been thinking about the power of ideas. And how a bad idea when believed, can cause people who appear to be perfectly rational human beings to commit horrible atrocities. And it all starts with an idea.

Mass Shootings

Maybe you think about all the mass shootings that we’ve had this year and every year.

I think the generally accepted definition of a mass shooting is where 4 or more people are shot in a single incident not including the shooter. Well by that definition, we’ve had over 600 mass shootings in the US so far this year.

And if you think I’m about to making a point on gun violence, you’re wrong.

The point I’m wanting to make is that behind just about every mass shooting, is a bad idea.

Here’s a few bad ideas behind mass shootings that I wrote down.

  • The people in that rival gang deserve to be killed.
  • People of that ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation ought to be killed.
  • God wants me to kill these people.
  • Killing these people will be fun.
  • I will find my significance through killing these people.

Now listen, HOPEFULLY, all those bad ideas sound ridiculous to you.

But we ALL believe bad ideas.

And if you take part in the news cycle of the world, bad ideas are being pumped into you all day.

  • The news is filled with bad ideas
  • Popular music is filled with bad ideas
  • Even many self help books are filled with bad ideas.

The devil works through bad ideas.

And so you can see the power of bad ideas in exaggerated examples like mass shootings but:

  • I see bad ideas ruin marriages all the time.
  • I counsel with people who have destroyed their families by believing bad ideas.
  • I see young people destroying their destiny by believing bad ideas.
  • I see businesses and churches destroyed because of bad ideas.

Here’s the good news:

As someone who follows Jesus Christ, you have access to a counselor who gives you the right advice every single time.

Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor.


What is a Counselor?

A counselor is someone who provides instruction and imparts wisdom.

Not Same as Therapist

A counselor is not the same as a therapist.

With a therapist, there’s lots of different kinds of therapy of course.

For example, there’s non-directive therapy. Which is basically having the patient explore their feelings without directing them one way of the other.

A counselor does not do that.

A therapist MIGHT say “How does that make you feel?”, and a counselor MIGHT say “Stop doing that. You big dumb animal.” (If your counselor is me)

So a counselor provides instruction but an even higher goal for a least pastoral counseling, is not just to provide instruction but to impart wisdom.

And so you might make an appointment with me or Marshall and Shirley or somebody.

And you come to us and say “Pastor David, my inlaws are coming into town and that makes me want to not wear my seatbelt, if you get my drift.”

Right, so a good counselor will provide instruction on how to deal with that situation, but more than that, we hope to impart wisdom to that you can handle things like that in the future.

So when I say that Jesus is my counselor, I do believe that he’ll whisper in my ear door 1 or door 2, even more than that, I believe that as I spend time with him he will impart into me- wisdom. Not just for this situation, but for life.

The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7)


Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: And with all thy getting get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7)

How to be Counseled by the Mighty Counselor

1. Submit

Submit to the Lordship of Jesus

So we sing that and recite that, don’t we? Jesus is Lord. What in the world does that mean? Lord?

Lord means master or ruler.

So when we say “Jesus is Lord over the world”, what do we mean? We mean that Jesus is the master and ruler of the world.

And if you say “Jesus is MY Lord.” What you’re saying is “Jesus is my master and my ruler.”

I means that he gets all the votes when it comes to who I am, what I believe, and what I do.

It’s a standard none of us will live up to.

It means I’m only right to the degree that I agree with him.

Paul says it like this in Romans 3:

Let God be true, and every man a liar. (Romans 3:4a)

No one is exempt from that. No pastor, no politician, nobody.

So I think the first step in being counseled by the mighty counselor is being correctable. Just because you’ve believed something your whole life doesn’t mean it’s right. Doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but it doesn’t mean it’s right.

What beliefs would you not change if you became convinced Jesus taught something else?

The answer to that ought to be: “None at all.” You don’t have to agree with Jesus on everything so long as you admit that he’s right and you’re wrong.

2. Ask

Ask God for His Counsel

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)

You do not have because you do not ask God. (James 4:2b)

Some of you know the Yoda King James Version – You have not because you ask not.

Requires Humility

And just like Submitting requires humility, asking requires humility.

Men Directions I’m sure you know the stereotype that men don’t like asking for directions. Now of course, GPS has pretty much rendered this obsolete, but back in the day, proud men didn’t want to ask for directions. Why? Well if you ask for directions, it’s may reveal that you’ve been wrong. You thought you recognized that mailbox, but you didn’t. That’s the first time you’ve ever seen that mailbox.

And I find it crazy that sometimes people would rather remain wrong than ask God for directions.

I’ve told you this before, but one of the keys to humility is to deliberately remind yourself of 3 important truths:

  • God is Omniscient (All Knowing) – You aren’t.
  • God is Omnipotent (All Powerful) – You aren’t.
  • God is Omnipresent (All Present) – You aren’t.

Repeat after me

Repeat this after me “God is never wrong, and I’m wrong plenty.”

Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. (Proverbs 26:12)

So what do you do about that? You ask God for his wisdom.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? (Matthew 7:9)

Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? (Matthew 7:10)

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11)

So ask.

3. Receive

Actively Receive God’s Gift of Wisdom

So we have to ask God, but then we also have to receive what God gives us.

Give you my bible illustration If you ask for my bible, and I reach out to hand it to you, you still don’t HAVE my bible unless you reach out your hand to receive it. It’s not enough for you to ask me for my bible, and for me to offer you my bible, you have to receive my bible.

And that’s simple when we’re talking about physical things.

If you ask for something and someone hands it to you, you can see it right in front of your face. You can touch it, you can smell it (which would be creepy), you can see it.

Well it’s a little different when it’s the things of God. “God give me peace, God give me wisdom. God give me your counsel.”

You can’t just see those things with your eyes.

By Faith

So how do you receive from God? By Faith.

That does not mean that people who don’t have faith don’t benefit from God, they most certainly do.

But in this “Asking and Receiving” process, we do our part to actively receive from God by having faith.

In fact, look at what Jesus says:

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21:22)

Pastor James (the brother of Jesus) says the same thing in James 1. We just read James 1:5 when James tells us to ask for wisdom. But he doesn’t stop there. Let’s ready the verse again and then the 3 verses after it:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5)

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6)

That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:7)

Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. (James 1:8)

How do you build up your faith? Through HEARING.

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. (Romans 10:17)

The Word about Christ. This is not just reading scripture in general, this verse is specifically talking about the Gospel message. The good news about Jesus.

It’s not just audibly HEARING the gospel, it’s about taking it in, and meditating on it.

It’s not something you do one time, it’s something that becomes a part of your life.

What You Focus On Expands

Why is that important? Because what you focus on expands. That was my iPhone wallpaper for like 5 years, that phrase “What you focus on expands”

Knot on Head Over the last few months, I’ve started to notice that I’ve developed this small little knot on the back of my head. It doesn’t hurt, it’s just this tiny little bump. (Just so you’re not worried I had my annual physical this last week and my doctor felt it and rolled his eyes and said it’s nothing, that I probably just cracked my head really hard on something and now there’s scar tissue there.) And a couple months ago and I went through this phase where I started feeling the knot of the back of my head and thinking “Oh man, is it growing? Is it cancer? It’s probably a tumor that’s gonna balloon to the size of a football.” And before you know it, I’m thinking “Oh my gosh, what am I gonna do?!?! I’m a hideous freak!” –

Why? Because what you focus on expands.

So if you want Jesus to be your counselor, you’re going to have to continually build up your faith, by hearing, and focusing on the things of God instead of the things of the world.

Listening to Sermons / Audiobooks / Scripture There’s been times in my life where I’m going through something hard, and my faith is being stretched. And I know that I need God’s help. Well you know what I do in those moments? I turn off my tech podcasts, and all of that, and I start listening to sermons, and Christian audiobooks every chance I get. So instead of hearing my ears “Apple is rumored to release a new iPad in September.” I’m at the grocery store and I’m hearing “God is watching out for you. Jesus loved you so much that he came and died for you. You are God’s beloved son.” On and on and on.

And people who have been following God for a long period of time, I bet they can tell you they do something similar.

Why? So that God will love me more? Or that will CAUSE God to come help me? No he’s not the problem, scripture clearly says that if you ask, he gives. The issue is not his giving, the issue is your receiving.

So when I’m going through a hard time, I build up my faith through repeatedly hearing and hearing and hearing, so that I’ll have the faith to reach my hand out and receive his help.

4. Practice

Put what he’s shown you into practice.

Just about everything in life, if you want to be good at something, you’ve got to practice.

Jordan Strength Training Story My wife and I recently purchase a new piece of exercise equipment for our house. And I’ve been a weight-lifter guy for over 2 decades. But my wife, over the years, she’s focused mainly on yoga type stuff and running. – Well now, she’s getting into weight training. So she’s being introduced to stuff like ‘Bench Press’ and ‘Deadlift’ and ‘Overhead Press’.

And so she’s walking about the house like “Don’t anybody touch me.” Just super sore. And the weight that she’s lifting is not a lot, but you gotta start somewhere.

And then your strength grows. And you look back and you say “Wow, that used to be hard for me, and now that’s easy for me. And I used to not be able to do that at all, but now, I can!”

It’s the same way when God tells you to do something.

And then God gives you counsel, there will be some specifics custom tailored to you and your situation, but there will also be plenty of things that he’s gonna tell you that he tells all of us.

How do I know that? Because he modeled it for us.

So he’s gonna teach each and every one of us to be merciful for example. All of us. You might be thinking “Nope, not me, I’m the perfect amount of merciful.” No you’re not.

But Jesus is gonna teach you to do things that don’t come naturally to you. But in time, they WILL come naturally to you.

When you first start out, someone does something to you, and you’re literally holding the F word back with your hand.

But as you do it for long periods of time you’re being transformed, and your new nature starts to shine through.

Why? Because your mind is being renewed. And soon enough, the things that you had to work hard to practice, it’s just your nature.

Cussing and acting stupid doesn’t even come into your mind.

Luke 2:52 This is talking about Jesus as a child.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)

Even Jesus GREW is wisdom.


And as I close, yesterday as I was preparing and praying for this message, I felt like God put it on my heart that he wanted to say to some of you: “My wisdom will open doors that you thought were locked.”

  • Options that you haven’t considered.
  • God will show you a way out.

Some of you feel trapped in situations and cycles that you don’t see a way out of.

If you read the book of Exodus, you read about God caring for his people the Israelites who always thought they were trapped.

  • “Oh great, the Red Sea is right here, we can’t get across, the Egyptians are gonna catch up and slaughter us.” And God opens a door and parts the Red Sea.
  • “Oh great, God you’re brought us into this wilderness and we don’t have water and we’re gonna die of thirst.” God opens are door and tells Moses to hit a rock with his staff and water comes out of the rock.
  • “Oh great, now we don’t have any food out here and we’re gonna die of hunger.” God opens a door and rains down bread from heaven.

And this is for somebody, God is going to give you the wisdom to break that cycle.

Closing Statement: We live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded by bad ideas. Bad ideas from the enemy, from the world, and even from our own fallen nature. Luckily for us, Jesus reveals himself to us as our Wonderful Counselor.

Receiving Christ’s counsel requires that we :

  • Submit – We submit to the Lordship of Jesus, acknowledging that he is always right and committing to lay down our own wisdom for his wisdom.
  • Ask – We ask God for his counsel. We do this by talking to him.
  • Receive – We actively receive God’s gift of wisdom. We do this through faith. We build up our faith by continually feeding ourselves with the good news message of Jesus.
  • Practice We put what he’s shown us into practice. Even in small ways and in small interactions, we practice doing what he’s told us to do, knowing that with every repetition we get stronger and stronger.