Audio Worship 11/12/2023 "You Are Mine" Isaiah 43.1

Princeton Presbyterian Church (EPC) Sermon # 1613

November 12, 2023

Isaiah 43.1          Click here for audio worship.

Dr. Ed Pettus


"You Are Mine"


But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.”



  • There’s No Place Like Home


I would imagine that a lot of children’s movies have taken over the mainstays of when I was a child. The Wizard of Oz was one of the children’s classics I remember, and, yes, I feared those flying monkeys. I trust that other movies have long since replaced Oz. I’m sure that Oz has too many politically incorrect moments and thoughts for our time. There is one memory that stands out for me that I hope would remain, even in today’s world, which is the phrase Dorothy repeats at the end of the movie, “there’s no place like home.” That phrase stands out for me particularly because when I was a teenager and my family was torn apart by divorce, all I knew at the time was I wanted to be home. I wanted to be in the only home I knew, my room, on my street, with my friends. Home. Certainly a good home, but sometimes even a broken home, is preferable to not being home, or we might say, not being in the place where we belong. Dorothy did not belong in the land of Oz but found her place of belonging at home because there is no place like home.

Everyone needs a place to belong. When I think of belonging, I think first of home. Home is the place we belong. We belong to our families. You know that saying: “you can pick your friends but you’re stuck with your relatives.” Belonging brings us security in our soul, a sense of comfort and the unique quality of “there’s no place like home.” Of course, that presumes a fairly healthy home life. We do know of situations where home is not the best for some people. But generally, there is comfort at home. It goes even beyond the house, but where we might call home. Some people are more at home on the ocean or in traveling from one destination to another. It is not always the place, but it is where we have come to belong. Even when we move from our childhood home we still call that town our hometown. “That’s my hometown!” In that we find comfort and belonging. The same can be said about one’s country of origin. America is our home.

Outside of family we seek belonging with groups or a significant other, even work or school can serve as a place of belonging. Many people today are finding there place of belonging on the computer through social media, Facebook, finding a sense of place or home or belonging to something or to a group of people. Then there are those who seek belonging in groups that are problematic to say the least, cults, terrorist groups, other so called hate groups. Whether positive or negative places of belonging, people seek to belong somewhere.

The Bible teaches that we belong to God. God is our home, in a sense. One of the things we learn in our faith is that when we have come to God in Jesus Christ, we have come home. One of the biblical terms for this is “refuge”. God is our refuge and strength (Psalm 46). Psalm 27 prays for homecoming in God’s dwelling: “One thing I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” Dwelling in God’s house is the equivalent of coming home to God’s presence, to our refuge and hope.

The Message expresses Psalm 62.8 in this way: “God is a safe place to be.” In the English Standard Version it is rendered: “God is a refuge for us.” “God is a safe place to be.” God is our home, the One to whom we belong, the place we belong. All our earthly homes are temporary, but God is our eternal “home”, our place or we might say presence of belonging.



  • One In Christ


We belong to God. This is one of the ways our oneness in Christ is expressed. We are all at home in Jesus Christ, together. To speak of anyone belonging to another is quite politically incorrect these days. But the Scriptures give us just such a metaphor for our relationship to God in Christ. We belong to God. We are God’s possession. We have been bought with a price and we are not our own (1 Corinthians 6.19-20). We are slaves, servants, and yet, we are free. Freedom is best understood as freedom in Christ. Galatians 5.1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Jesus Christ calls us to take His yoke, which is a very different yoke than any other. All other yokes – addictions, causes, idols of the modern world, they are all forms of slavery that eliminate freedom, whereas bondage to Christ, belonging to Christ is the greatest freedom one can know. True freedom is not without boundaries, rules of conduct, but true freedom has limits. Freedom without boundaries is anarchy and destructive. Perfect freedom is in obedience to God’s Word. John 8.32, “and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Well, what is the truth? Truth is Jesus, truth is God’s Word, truth is God’s kingdom with commands and laws and paths of righteousness. Truth is not some abstract list of do’s and don’ts, but it is the very person of Jesus Christ who tells us that He is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life (John 14.6).

The history of our belonging to God begins back at the exodus of Israel out of Egypt. Deuteronomy 4:20 – But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be a people of his own inheritance, as you are this day. Israel, in essence, belonged to the Pharaoh of Egypt when they were slaves in Egypt. But God delivered them and placed them in a new form of service, not by an Egyptian taskmaster, but under the grace of their Creator. God brought Israel home, to the promised land, eventually. They did spend quite a while in the desert! Israel was later driven into exile but God once again brought them home. But in one sense they have always been home because they belong to God.

The same can be said of us, of all who believe in God as Lord, Jesus as Lord and Savior. God has also brought us out of our slavery to sin and death through Christ, out of our slavery to the ways of the world and brought us into a new life in Jesus Christ. Our home is in Christ; it is where we belong, our safe place to be. One expression of this is in making our church a safe place, like home, like Psalm 27 – a place where we behold the beauty of God. Such a community is born in baptism. As Paul writes in Galatians: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise” (3:27-29). If you are Christ’s, that is, if you belong to Christ, then you are heirs to the promises of God. Baptism is our beginning in Christ. Baptism is the sign and seal of incorporation into Christ. It is the sign and seal of our belonging, our home, our place in the faith community. It is the realization that we belong to God. We are home. James Finley teaches on the life of spirituality and he speaks of realizing that we are realized. He says that our spirituality refers to our awakening or our realization that God loves us. He quotes a Hindu who once said, “we are all striving for realization.” Finley then says, “we are all realized, that is, God realizes us. God knows us, God loves us, God knows exactly where we are, exactly who we are, the hairs of our head are numbered, we are realized. But the trouble is we don’t realize that we are realized! We have to wake up and realize the truth of our situation, that is in God we live and move and have our being.” I think that Finley is helping us to see that what we struggle to understand is that we belong to God, we are His, and that in our life we are striving to realize God’s love for us and therefore searching for that peace in belonging to God. Our belonging to God assures us of care, love, communion, hope, and trust. The irony is that in belonging to God we find our sense of home, for God is our refuge. We belong to God in Christ and the deeper our relationship with Christ grows, the more at home we become.



  • You Are Mine


I chose to read one verse from Isaiah to preach this message.

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine”
(Isaiah 43.1).


You are mine. As many of you know, I am a fan of the TV series, The Chosen. It is a production that depicts many Bible stories but also tells those stories in ways that are plausible yet not biblical. In the first episode, Mary Magdalene is shown as a child learning this verse from Isaiah to deal with times when she is afraid. It becomes all the more powerful for her at the end of the episode. I won’t spoil it for you if you have not seen it. The verse speaks of Israel’s redemption and that they have no need to fear because of that redemption as well as being called by name and then told “you are mine”. You belong to God.


There are many passages that refer to our belonging to God.


Whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's” (1 Corinthians 3:22-23).


For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:22-23).


Look at what is before your eyes. If anyone is confident that he is Christ's, let him remind himself that just as he is Christ's, so also are we” (2 Corinthians 10:7).


And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).


You are mine – God has a claim on us, we belong to God. We have a place of acceptance and belonging, but also in the home, the proper home, there is discipline, teaching, responsibility. A good home is a place where we are disciplined to live in righteousness and obedience to God. God brings us in but we will not remain as we are. You are mine – we are a part of the family of God. All of these texts speak of our belonging – we belong to God; we belong to Christ; we belong to the Holy Spirit. We are God’s possession, His inheritance. We have been bought with a price and we are not our own. We are servants, and yet, we are free.

As we go through this life, with all the problems that plague our hearts and minds, with sickness, death, war, crime, and whatever else we would add to such a list, there is comfort beyond all the troubles. There is peace beyond all the strife. There is joy beyond the tensions and sins and corruption we see daily. It is in knowing that we belong to God. He has us! He cares for us. He is with us in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no greater place of belonging than with the one who came in obedience, humbled Himself, gave His life on the cross, and rose from the dead so that we might live in His kingdom. We live in a spiritual home where we belong, with Jesus, in His Word, in gratitude and praise to Him.


These words are God’s Words in the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” In other ways we hear these same Words in Jesus, spoken to each one of us. Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” In these realities of comfort, redemption, calling, and belonging, we can indeed find our place of home. We find a place safe from the world’s trouble. Come home in Jesus. Amen.