Sunday, September 28, 2008

Isaiah 66

I recently taught on this and just wanted to throw out some thoughts for others to chew on. A great passage for saved and lost alike.
Isaiah 66:1-3
1 This is what the LORD says:"Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? 2 Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. 3 But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man,and whoever offers a lamb,like one who breaks a dog's neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig's blood,and whoever burns memorial incense,like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways,and their souls delight in their abominations;
Ok so let's break this down (partly). The Lord makes some really important foundational statements about Himself and throws out some questions that should make us pause. If we can grasp the truths taught here, we will guard ourselves from a lot of confusion, heartache, and discouragement.
God tells us how things really are; He's saying that He rules over all things and that He has created all things. He asks us to consider then, what in the world we could give Him. The only one who could truly say 'I'm self-sufficient" is God, He alone cares for Himself, He alone sustains Himself. More than that He alone is self-satisfied, (just consider the gazillions of yrs that God existed before He created man-He was and is satisfied with himself).
Ok so what can you give the one who has everything? hmmmmm NOTHING! absolutely NOTHING, and that's even more complicated when you consider our position as rebels against a mighty King, not only have we nothing to give but we have a lot we OWE!
So God was pleased to redeem a chosen people, to call out a people to make His own from every nation and tribe, apart from what we are and deserve this God saves. \
The thing we must never forget is Who God is and what we are, don't lose sight of that! So God says the one that catches my eye, the one who i look at with pleasure i the one who sees this (Who I am and Who they are).
The Sinner is humble and broken, that's what happens first in Salvation. I see my sins, and seeing them brings me to the reality that i'm hopeless and that i need a savior. Never forget this though, understanding is not humility, true humility is not about how you phrase sentences ("to God be the glory") it's not keeping your head low and speaking in a quiet voice. True humility is dependence on God- which is seen by the practical reliance on God everyday. A humble man is a man of prayer, a man of the word, a man of true fellowship-- a man who not only confesses his faults but believes God for strength and wisdom, then clings to Him! For instance a man could confess his weaknesses and you think to yourself 'wow this guy is really humble' (and that could be the case) but if you see him a year from now and he's still just confessing (no fruit, no resolve to believe God) then he's most likely using confession as an excuse to not do anything (so his seemingly humble confession, is really saying "look i'm nothing, i'm weak, and that's all i'm gonna be, I just 't change, i just can't trust God, i quit, but bless God cause i'm just a sinner saved by grace)-- that's not humility! So in salvation and sanctification (holy living) I see my sin, my weakness, my crime, and i abandon myself to God, I cast myself upon Him, I cling to Him for hope and strength, I deny self and pursue Him! At the same time I'm also contrite (broken) over my sins, now that i see God for who He is, my feeling towards Him change, now I'm convicted in that I've sinned against great love, against the Savior of my soul. I see Jesus as the one receiving what I deserved and I'm crushed. The true believer is a mourner over his sins, primarily because he knows God is His father. The true believer doesn't want to just get away with sin, he hates his sin, even the sins he commits frequently crush him over and over again. In fact the mark, one of the most distinguishing attitudes of the FALSE believer is that he TURNS the GRACE of GOD in LICENSE, he sees grace as an unlimited, unconditional guarantee that will allow him to live however he wants and still get to heaven; this is primarily why some (and I used to) react to this mentality and say 'well then you will lose your salvation, because you can't just live in unrepentant, habitual sin and think God will receive you" to one part we would say amen. The fact is, they don't lose their salvation from living in continuous sin with this 'who cares, i have fire insurance' attitude, they only SHOW that they were NEVER saved in the first place-1 John 2:19.
In a nutshell i'm convinced of need and convicted of sin (I now really see me for who i am and what i've done-because I now see God for who He is and what He has done). THEN: I also tremble at His word.
What does that mean? Well it means i approach the word with fear, I handle it carefully, i listen to it carefully, i value it, i test things by it, and i submit to it (this and so much more could be said). We are too quick to read something the way we want it to be said, we are too quick to make the scriptures comfortable; BEWARE OF THIS, let the scriptures SPEAK! We are too quick to offer advice, when we're not sure if we are right; "well i'm sure God doesn't mind.........., God doesn't mean what it sounds like God probably means........., Well my dad always said.....etc etc" Let us be a lot quicker to say "i don't know". There is safety for every minister and everyone that ever gives counsel, and that safety and peace is found in the word. That you don't need to be creative, intelligent, just biblical; they don't need YOUR counsel, they have been led to you because they NEED HIS counsel. Keep in mind that some people don't want to hear godly counsel (they already know what God says and they are looking for someone in authority to ok their rebellion) in this type of case don't let someone push you past scripture, you might to say what i've had to say "Look, I've given you the answer, I've told you what God says about this matter, and it seems like you want me to go further than that, I can't do that and I won't do that, the question is 'will you obey God?' "
Biblical sceptics (Bereans), never stop asking this question, no matter who the preacher is, what book your reading, no matter how acceptable it is in culture, no matter how nice or smart i sounds; "God? is this true?"
Even people that have poured into your life, people that may live blameless lives, people that have sacrificed greatly for you, even their counsel must be weighed against scripture. You stop growing, when you stop asking questions; I really believe the truths that are most precious to you are the ones that you personally wrestled with, not just something someone taught you.
Finally what in the world does this list about animals have to do with what's been said?
Well here the Lord picks out common and acceptable things and says that He will look at them as if they were the most vile and wicked things ever done. WHY? Well he just finished explaining how he didn't need anything, and that there's nothing we can add to Him, Yet He wants us. He specifically wants our hearts, our wills: God wants true worship from truly humble and broken hearts. Keep in mind that God has already been confronting this in Isaiah throughout (read Is 1:11-19, 29:13, 58:2-6). So what is worship when it's not done from obedience? It's a substitute! What is a substitute then for obedience? A BRIBE!
I used to use this analogy a lot when I used preach to the girls in the juvenile jail "imagine you're married, and your husband comes home with a handful of flowers and some bling (diamonds), and you're like "oh my, this is so unlike you, you shouldn't have, how romantic, thank you so much i love you" and then this guy kinda shrugs his shoulders, bows his head and says "well, um, you see i just want you to know that... well it's like this, um remember how i've been doing all that overtime lately, well um i really haven't been. I kinda been seeing your friend Lisa.. but it's noting serious i don't love her, i love you and i wanted to show it.." WELL??????? What cha gonna do? You'll probably throw those gifts at him (the flowers and the vase!!) and those things that just made you extremely happy will now make you extremely angry because you now realize that they were only substitutes for loving commitment- they are nothing but dirty bribes. Times that evil by millions and you might come close to what an offering to God is without obedience. God won't be bought, His grace is undeserved and those who would try to buy it or try to substitute what Jesus Christ did on the cross (and the surrender it demands) with gifts are an absolute abomination to God. This would include, church attendance, baptism, missions trips, charity, tithes, teaching and a whole lot of other things. 1 Cor 13:3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.
We must come in His way, through His grace, receiving His love and pursuing His glory. Let us worship in Spirit and Truth! Motivated by love, compelled by grace, we seek to please Him!

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