Isaiah 6:8-13 Accepting our Assignment

Isaiah saw the Holiness of God and His response was humility because he realized he did not deserve, nor could he earn to be in the presence of God. “Woe is me” is the only thing Isaiah could say because he knew that he deserved death because he was a sinner in front of a Holy God. God did not leave Isaiah where he was but God took away his sin and his guilt something that Isaiah could not remove on his own accord. Because of the mercy and grace of God our response should be lives that are Holy because God is Holy.

Many people are looking for purpose for their lives and many people ask questions like what is my purpose, why do I live in this city and why am I at this job?  God has bigger purposes for us than just the temporary situation we are in right now and God has a bigger purpose than making our short lives on this earth better. Isaiah experience with a Holy God and the forgiveness and mercy he received made him see that his life is not what is important but the assignment to do whatever God has asked of him.

Assignment: trusting someone with a certain task or responsibility.

God has given us all an assignment that He is entrusting us with and because of that all of us have a purpose for our lives that goes beyond this world and that will last for all eternity.

 

Isaiah 6:8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”

1)   The Assignment is from God

Who shall I send and Who will go for us? This is plural because it is God speaking to the Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and some say even those who are gathered around His throne. The word “Send” is used because an assignment or task has to be done on God’s behalf. Do you see yourself as being sent by God to go to others for Him or do you just see God as someone who should bless your life? Christians have always been known to be sent people.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

These verses are known as the great commission or command from Jesus. Barna Research says that 51% of church goers do not know the term the Great Commission. The great commission is just our assignment from Jesus Himself and we need to know it.

Our Assignment

  1. A) Make disciples by telling them about Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf.
  2. B) Baptizing which is a time when people declare their loyalty to Jesus in public
  3. C) Teaching them how to live as a follower of Christ.

This is the responsibility of every person who calls themselves as Christian not just for those who are in full time Christian ministry.

2)   The Assignment has to be accepted

“Here am I send me” It was after Isaiah realized how full of sin he was and after he received the grace and mercy from God by having his sins taken away that it did not matter what God asked him to do he was going to do it. Today we hear mostly about how God is going to bless me so instead of “Here am I send me” we say “We say Here am I bless me” The reason for this is because we have the wrong view of God and the wrong view of ourselves.

 Instagram Christian pages sound like fortune cookies. Here are a few examples of what Christianity has turned into.

“There’s about to be a shift in your life. Get ready for your blessings. You’ve been through enough and a breakthrough is on the way.”

“God has not forgotten about you. You are next in line for a miracle. Claim it and receive it.”

“That job application that you thought has been overlooked, has been approved! Expect a call any day now! Get ready for your blessings and breakthrough.”

“I speak abundant blessings over your life. I speak unusual favor that will promote you to the next level of your destiny. I declare that open doors and opportunities this weekend will chase you down. Type “It’s my season.”

One of these sights on Instagram is from trustgodbro and has 1.3 million followers ant giftofgod_jesus has 18 thousand followers.  Because of these false teachings about God existing for us even Christianity has turned into a group that no longer comes to serve God but looks for God to serve and bless them. All these sayings are about me not about others or the will of God other than if it is Gods will to bless me. Jesus said everything boils down to love God and love others as yourself. (Matt 22:37-40)

Isaiah does not hesitate and at this moment and he does not even know the assignment that God will give him because it did not matter because God forgave him of his sins. Isaiah went from being a spectator of the Heavenly vision to being an active participant. Is your response to God “Yes Lord” or “tell me what you want and I’ll let you know Lord?” One of the ways to make sure you respond properly to God is to first understand the grace and mercy that you received and that will only happen as you understand the Holiness of God. You will serve God more willingly when you focus on His love, mercy and grace after you realize the separation you had from God because of your sin.

Isaiah 6:9-13 And he said, “Go, and say to this people, “‘Keep on hearing,[a] but do not understand; keep on seeing,[b] but do not perceive.’10 Make the heart of this people dull,[c]and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.” 11 Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste,12 and the Lord removes people far away,  and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. 13 And though a tenth remains in it, it will be burned[d] again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed[e] is its stump.

 

3)   The Assignment does not always have positive results

“Keep on hearing but not understand” Jesus quoted this passage in Matthew 13:13-15. The people that Isaiah was trying to warn had become so spiritually dull that they no longer could hear what God was trying to say to them but Isaiah was supposed to keep telling them. God was giving the people every opportunity so that when they denied Him and spent eternity separated from Him they could only blame themselves. Hearing the word of God is never a neutral exercise it’s either positive or negative. According to the Bible the hardening of the heart comes from God and the individual.  Does God harden hearts? Yes and do people harden their own hearts? Yes.There is nothing in the Isaiah passage or the passage from Jesus that says people did not have an opportunity to repent but it does say the more they hear and the more they see the less likely they will repent and be healed. What happens is over time and the longer you ignore the word of God the more callous you will become toward it therefore hardening your heart.

Telling others about Jesus Christ also becomes a judgment against them just like a speed limit sign becomes a judgment against the one speeding. God was telling Isaiah that he is going to have the opposite reaction that Jonah experienced.  Jonah told them to repent and they did but God warned Isaiah you will tell them and they will not listen, at least not all of them. Our job is to speak the truth no matter what the outcome.

 

Mark 4:3-9 Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” And he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Our Job according to 1 Corinthians 3:6 is to plant and water. Maybe you have been sharing about Jesus Christ with family or with coworkers and friends and you have not seen the results you would like. Your job is to be faithful and keep sharing.

“Yahweh is determined to maintain his integrity and holiness. To be sure, healing is graciously offered, but only on divine terms and in God’s way. If these are rejected, then neither the prophet nor the ongoing prophetic ministry of the church has any right to modify the message of judgment until its terms are acceptable to a human audience.” (Isaiah, John L. Mackay, Pg 180)

How long, Lord? God has given the people many chances to repent of their sin but because they continued to ignore Him and His warnings His wrath will be poured out on them from armies He will send. Isaiah wants to know how long this is going to last. This is not him backing down from his assignment but a concern for the people and the destruction they are getting ready to face. How much time do I have Lord to share your truth? God will pour out his wrath because of the rebelliousness of the people but God always does so with a hope for the future Some assignments last longer than others but we know wherever God has assigned us that He has a purpose and a plan for what we are doing. We cannot be so result oriented that we deny what God has called us to do. You may be in a “how much longer Lord”, place in your life but know that your job is to be faithful to Him and faithful to your assignment because judgement is coming.

4)   Our Assignment has eternal significance

“The Holy Seed is its stump” God reminds Isaiah that He has not forgotten the promise of the messiah to come and take away the sin and guilt of everyone. The Holy seed is the promise God gave in the garden (Gen3:15) and again to Abraham(Gen 22:18) that Jesus would come and take away our sins.

Judgment of God is coming and the only ones that will remain are the ones who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. It will be total destruction for everything and everyone else. We need to make sure that we are focused on what is most important and that is things that will last for eternity. Your job, your sports career, your bank account and your house do not matter unless they are used for eternal purposes.

Matthew 6:19-21 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[a] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Have you ever asked yourself why you are following Jesus? Are you following Him for what He can do for you physically or are you following Him for what He can do for you spiritually? Isaiah’s life was changed because no matter what he faced he knew his sin and guilt was removed so that he could be in the presence of a Holy God. Many people follow Jesus as long as the miracles are right and the food keeps coming but as soon as He does not do those things then they walk away. We are called to an assignment with eternal significance because peoples eternal lives are at stake simply because they accept or reject the good news of Jesus Christ. Never underestimate the importance of your assignment no matter how difficult it may be. Your family, work, school, neighborhood and extracurricular activities are not just things you do but are assignments by God with eternal significance. Isaiah understands what you are going through and you may even be asking “How long” but for their sake hang in there and keep planting seeds in their lives.

 

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Isaiah 6:5-7 The Response

God just gave Isaiah a vision from Heaven’s point of view showing Isaiah that God is still on the throne even if it seems our world is falling apart. Isaiah saw that God is perfect as  the seraphim were singing  “Holy, Holy Holy to God. Isaiah also saw how powerful God was as His voice shakes the foundation of the world. Until we have the right view of God we will not have the right view of our situation and ourselves.

Many people talk about having an experience with God but most of those do not sound like experiences that are recorded in the Bible. (John fell on his face as if dead Rev.1:17) Many leave worship services claiming a certain experience with God but if we truly have an experience with God it will change us forever. What should our response be when we see the Holiness and Power of God? Isaiah’s response to his vision of God sitting on His throne is a response we all should have if we truly have an encounter with God.

Isaiah 6:5-7 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

1)   The Response of Humility

Woe is Me” “I am Lost” I am a man of unclean lips” Isaiah was only given a vision and a glimpse of the presence of God and he was overwhelmed by how much of a sinner he was.

Psalm 15:1-2 O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;

Isaiah was the one who was calling out the rest of his people for how they were living. Isaiah would have been known as a righteous or even a Holy man by the rest of the people but now the small glimpse of God he received showed him that he was not worthy to be in God’s presence.

“I am a man of unclean lips” Isaiah does not say anything about his feet or hands but what is coming out of his mouth. Isaiah looked like a very moral man on the outside but his lips would reveal something about himself that he knew and that he was really a terrible sinner.

Matthew 12:34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

You can fool some of the people like the religious leaders but the reality is you cannot fool God The religious leaders looked good but Jesus saw them for who they were by how they spoke.

We might be surprised at how many “ GOOD PEOPLE” we went to church with that are not in Heaven.

“I am lost or I am ruined”  Isaiah was devastated because what he experienced he knew he was as good as dead because of his filthiness before God who is Holy (Perfect without Blemish)  We do not see our own sinfulness because we see ourselves as good people with a good heart but that is not how God sees us without Christ.

Romans 7:18  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.

We said last week that in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus first wants us to acknowledge Gods Holiness because until we get a grasp of the Holiness of God we will not understand how sinful we really are. We make excuses for our sin like saying “You made me angry” or “That is just how I was raised” instead of acknowledging that our behavior was sinful. We rename our sins and say “it’s a lifestyle choice” or “It’s a bad habit” instead of going by the standard that God has set by His own nature and character. Isaiah realized that he was not even worthy enough to sing praises to God like the Heavenly beings were doing and he just sat there knowing he was doomed and deserved death. Because God is Holy He hates all sin and Isaiah realized the extent of his sin compared to a Holy God.

Isaiah 64:6 We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.

When Isaiah says he is unclean it is very significant because that is the word the lepers were to yell out to someone if they were approaching them. (Leviticus 13:45) Lepers had to be separated from the rest of the nation and it was a painful experience to realize you would not be able to be around and especially touch your loved ones ever again.

How do you see yourself in front of a Holy God? The reason most people do not accept the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ is because they believe they can stand before God in their current condition or they believe that through good works they can earn acceptance with God. We all must realize, as did Isaiah that we need to be cleansed in order to be in God’s presence.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you

Isaiah realized that no amount of good works was going to change his status with a Holy and perfect God and the only thing he could do is cry out in anguish.

2)   The Response of Atonement

Your Guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for”

Atonement: The reconciliation of God and humankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ (Meriam Webster Dictionary)

God did not leave Isaiah to be in this state of dismay but God acted on Isaiah’s behalf. God is the only one who can remove our guilt so that we can be in His presence and we cannot earn our ability to stand in God’s presence it is something only God can do and He has done through Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 59:1-2 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

Our sins have separated us from our Creator because He is Holy and we need our sins and guilt taken away. We do not need to make too much about the coal and the process used for Isaiah to be cleansed because it was a vision and a representation of what God would do through Jesus Christ. We know that the act of Jesus Christ on our behalf makes us worthy to stand before God. God forgives sinners but He does not forgive sins because our sins had to be dealt with and Jesus paid for them on the cross. We are forgiven because Jesus paid our debt not because God just overlooked the sins we committed. Isaiah will later prophesy about the coming of God to the earth to remove our sins from us.

Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted. 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.

Transgression: infringement or violation of a law, command, or duty

Iniquities: a wicked act or thing : sin

Would you describe yourself as being a person who has committed a wicked act? If God did not respond for Isaiah then he was doomed and if God did not act on our behalf we were doomed. But God did act on our behalf through Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 3:18  For Christ also suffered[b] once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

3)   The Response of Holiness

As we realize the depth of separation we had with God and the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf it should lead us to live different lives than the rest of the world.  Holy means to be separate from and we are called to be separate from the world in how we live.

“Many Christians have what we might call a “cultural holiness.” They adapt to the character and behavior pattern of Christians around them. As the Christians culture around them is more or less hol, so these Christians are more or less holy. But God has not called us to be like those around us. He has called us to be like Himself. Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God.” (The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges, PG. 22)

1 Peter 1:13-16 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[a] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Peter is saying because of the grace we received we look forward to Jesus second coming and we should live as if it is going to happen at any moment. Our desire to be Holy is because we have a relationship with a holy God but we must remember you do not try and be holy to have the relationship you have to be declared Holy by the work that he has done and then live according to your new nature.

Yes we will still sin on this earth even the apostle Paul struggled. (Romans 7) but our desire should be to live lives pleasing to God.

“Like fish immerse in water, we become so immersed in ways of thinking and patterns of living that we become unable to recognize them. … As we live in culture, we become committed to its vision of life, unless we’re intentional otherwise.” (A practical guide to culture, Stonestreet and Kunkle pg. 26, 36)

We are called to be in this world but not live as the rest of the world. (1 John 2:15-17 and Romans 12:2)  Only a proper view of God will help us have a proper view of ourselves and the world around us.

We live in a corrupt world and we have to make sure we are not corrupted by it.

Satan wants you to believe one of two lies. Either I am good enough to stand before God on my own or he wants you to believe that God sees you as guilty even though God took the guilt away. When we understand the Holiness of God our response should be humility because we are unworthy to be in the presence of God. When we understand the Atonement of God our response should be gratitude by living lives that are Holy and pleasing to Him.  Do you understand that it is not by your works or by your effort that you can be in the presence of God? Only by the grace and atonement of Jesus Christ payment for our sin can we be made Holy.

 

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Isaiah 6:1-4 Your Heavenly Father

Isaiah warned the people to repent but they did not believe him and God showed Isaiah the destruction that was going to come upon his people because of their rebelliousness toward God. Isaiah is broken hearted for his people despite their rebelliousness which is a lesson for all of us to not allow ourselves to become bitter or indifferent toward our world but to remain broken hearted over not only the lives that they are living but the destruction that will come their way if they do not turn to God.

(God is going to reveal Himself to Isaiah in a new way that is going to change Isaiah forever. Some believe that this passage of scripture was the calling of Isaiah while others believe it was placed in the order of the events as they took place)

God is revealed to us as a Father but in the purest since of what it means to be a Father. Our culture is not only slamming Fathers but men in general and it creates a problem with our view of God. There have been some to even say our view of our earthly fathers affects our view of God but one thing the Bible is clear on is that God is known as The Father (1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 1:3, 4:6; Matthew 23:9; 1 Peter 1:3)

Psalm 68:5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

The understanding of God as Father is crucial to our understanding of Christianity because to get the concept of God wrong does change our view of Him and ourselves.

“If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all.” (Knowing God, J.I. Packer, Pg.201)

Isaiah 6:1-4  In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train[a] of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”[b]4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.

“In the year King Uzziah died” While King Uzziah was on the throne it was a time of prosperity for the nation. A wicked King named Ahaz will now take the throne which will bring war and weakness to the nation as well as the destruction that Isaiah has prophesied about in chapter five. Isaiah knew what was getting ready to take place and he was concerned about it and I believe God gave Isaiah this vision as encouragement to remind Him that no matter what God was still on His throne.

“I saw the Lord” The Bible tells us that no one can see the Lord and Live (Exodus 33:20) but Isaiah like several others in the bible saw a manifestation of God and not God in His full Glory.  Isaiah does not describe God but what was going on around Him and he had a difficult time finding adequate words to describe what he saw around the throne of God. The encouragement that Isaiah received is beneficial to us as well and we can learn several things from it.

1)   Your Heavenly Father Is In Charge

“Seated on the Throne” Can you imagine God showing you that next year America was going to have a nuclear attack, Gas prices astronomical, and food scarce, loved ones gone and yet you still had to wait till it happened? One of the reasons some believe God gave this vision to Isaiah was to show Him that no matter what happens in this life God is still on the throne. We cannot allow the circumstance of our lives or the circumstances in this world to keep us from remembering that God is still on the throne even though it seems He is not in control. God was showing Isaiah that Kings will come and Kings will go but the ultimate King is still seated “High and lifted up” on His throne. Kings would build platforms that were elevated to show that they were in charge and Isaiah saw that Gods throne was higher than all other thrones.

Psalm 11:4 he Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.

If you ever wondered if God sees what you are going through, who stole from you or who did you wrong this verse lets you know God sees it and He is using it to grow you in your trust of Him. Many times in our walk with God our brains will begin to think that God has abandoned us or has forgotten about us. The reality is God sees and He knows and even if our circumstances seem out of control He is in control.

“Train of His robe filled the Temple, the whole earth is filled with His Glory”

Romans 1:20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[a] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

God cannot be contained and He has constantly revealed Himself and can be seen throughout creation.  Those who deny God’s existence have to do so by ignoring what has been revealed through His creation, through His word and through Jesus Christ. Sometimes we have to stop and look and see that God is involved in all of creation and that God did not set the world in motion and step away from it but is actively a part of the world around us.

“Above Him stood seraphim” Seraphim, simply means burning ones. Six wings: Two to cover face (sign of respect) Two to cover their feet (Unworthiness) Two to fly. These Angelic beings who knew no sin could not even look upon the Holiness of God. These angels as we will see had no response but to speak about God’s Holiness.  God is on His throne and He has never left it.

2)   Your Heavenly  Father is Perfect

“Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty”, Holy means cut off or separate. Holiness is not something we can fully understand this side of Heaven because we are so tainted by this world. We are full of sin to the point that we do not realize how much sin we have in our lives until we are faced with God who has no sin in Him at all.  The Hebrew language uses repetition for emphasis and saying Holy, Holy, Holy is like us saying infinity. We do not hear that God is Wise, Wise, Wise or Powerful, Powerful, Powerful but twice we see in the scriptures that God is Holy, Holy, Holy.

Revelation 4:8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

John’s revelation of the things to come in the future was exactly the same as Isaiah’s. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us to pray “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name” which means that we are to pray that people see God as Holy. (Matthew 6:9)  Jesus wants us to recognize God as Holy even before His Kingdom coming and His will being done because until we see God as Holy then we will not be able to understand His grace.  We have made God in our image and put Him in human terms and we have not focused on what He has revealed about Himself.  Gods Holiness is something that words cannot describe and theologians have a difficult time describing what it exactly means because it is so separate from our thinking and who we are.

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

We cannot fathom that God does not have sin, His thoughts are always pure.  God is not just separated from sin He is of moral and ethical perfection. This means that all of God’s ways are perfect and although we may not be trusting of people because of the sin in their lives we can trust God because everything He does is Holy, perfect and true.

3)   Your Heavenly Father is Powerful

“And the foundations and the thresholds shook at the voice of Him who called.” When people say they are going to ask God questions when they get to Heaven or people who say that God has some explaining to do about things that have happened in their lives they have no clue about His awesomeness. God is not our buddy and to treat Him the way some of the preachers talk about Him as if God is waiting for your faith to act or He has to do your bidding if you ask Him in prayer miss the entire point of God revealing Himself as powerful.

Psalm 29:4-8 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness, the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

 

An archaic meaning of the word Holy is Awful or to be Full of awe. God is described as an awful being meaning one who is to be feared and respected. How much of our sermons in church present God as and all powerful God who is more powerful than we can ever imagine? Isaiah will later describe Gods magnificence and awesomeness.

Isaiah 40:17-18 All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. 18 To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?

All of Isaiah chapter 40 is about how great God is. King David understood the power of God and that is why he was able to say he was not afraid of anything else but God.

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[a] I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.

David did not even fear death because he knew how powerful his God was. What are you fearing, Have you forgotten who you Father is and how powerful He is?  Isaiah saw things as bleak and depressing but then God gave Isaiah Heavens point of view. Sometimes we need to remember Heavens point of view about the world we live in so that we do not get scared or discouraged. From Heavens point of view God our Father is still in charge, He is still on the throne.  From Heavens Point of View God is Holy, Holy, Holy and everything that He does is perfect.  From Heavens Point of view God is powerful and nothing scares or frightens him

Christians our lives have to be different because we can trust our Father in Heaven that He sees and He knows what is going on.  We should not fear or fret like the rest of the world because we have a Father in Heaven who is more loving, more powerful and perfect in all of His ways.

 

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Isaiah 5:25-30 The Justice of God

Isaiah was warning them about their behavior and that what they were doing was going against God and what He has said. Isaiah warned them about pursuing wealth at the expense of others. Pursuing wealth was not the issue, even though that pursuit could become a god in one’s life, the problem was they were exploiting others for their own benefit.

The Next thing Isaiah warned them about was pursuing pleasure instead of seeking the things of God.  Along with seeking pleasure they had attached themselves to sins and were no longer embarrassed by them but they were proudly displaying them for all to see. Like many who try and justify their behavior they were using Gods vocabulary but not God dictionary. They were changing the meanings of what God had said in order to fit their lifestyle rather than fit their lifestyle to what God has said. In all Isaiah had given them seven warnings that they would not listen to.

God is patient because in His patients He is hoping that people will heed the warnings and turn to Him but that does not mean that God will be patient with peoples actions forever.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

The judgment of God does not come without warnings but when they do come His wrath is justified. No one should be shocked at the judgments of God because God will warn them. The reason people have a difficult time with the judgments of God because they make God like themselves. God is Holy and perfect and everything He does is right. To understand God we have to understand His justice.

Just: conforming to a standard of correctness; faithful to an original

Justice: the maintenance or administration of what is just

God, being the creator of the universe, is the original and He created us and we have sinned and moved away from the original. To bring something back to justice is to bring it back to the original or to hold it to the standard of what is right. This is why we say, “We are going to bring them to justice”, because we are going hold the person who did wrong to the original standard.

Isaiah 5:25 Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

1)   God’s Anger brings Justice

“Therefore, the anger of the Lord was against His people.” When we think about God most people want to talk about His love, His Grace, His Peace and His patience but there are other attributes of God as well.  God’s anger serves a purpose that many of us cannot understand because our anger is not perfect like His. Anger is not always wrong (Ephesians 4:26-31) and it is a strong emotion when there is injustice in the world. Most the time when we are angry it is out of selfishness,(I am not getting my way) or because we feel taken advantage of.(Control) We cannot think of anger like we have when we think of God.

Deuteronomy 32:4 The Rock, his work is perfect,   for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

The people in Isaiah’s day were sinning against God and their fellow man and so God was becoming angry with them because of the hurt they were doing to others. If you have ever been ripped off you know what it is like to want Justice to be served and you know how it feels to be wronged. Although we may have some Justice on this earth the ultimate justice is in the hands of God and we can rest in the fact that God sees everything.

The devastation that is mentioned in Isaiah 5:25 many believe to be an earthquake. The way it is written shows that it is God who is in in control of the destruction that is or has taken place. This is not to say that every natural disaster is because a nation has sinned but in this instance Isaiah is prophesying about what is to come and Isaiah is clearly saying that these events are from God. Seven Warnings were given and seven warnings were ignored and now God is bringing justice to those who continued to rob, steal, bribe and do everything for their own gain. Like children who ignore the warnings of punishment only to get the wrath of a parent so they children of God continued to ignore His warnings and they suffered the consequences for it.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.”

People may think they are getting away with things on this earth but at the end of time God will make all thing right.  Are you glad God sees everything?  There is peace knowing that people will give an account to God and that He is not blind to the injustices that take place in our world.  It is not what we are going through that matter as much as how we respond to it because God is in control and He will use all these things for purposes that go beyond our understanding. Our sense of right and wrong and fairness all come from God who created us this way. Atheist do not have an answer as to why we have this moral code of right and wrong inside of us but as Christians we know that it is because we are image bearers of God that He has placed that in how He created us.

Isaiah 5:26-30 He will raise a signal for nations far away, and whistle for them from the ends of the earth; and behold, quickly, speedily they come.  27 None is weary, none stumbles, none slumbers or sleeps, not a waistband is loose, not a sandal strap broken; 28 their arrows are sharp, all their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs seem like flint, and their wheels like the whirlwind. 29 Their roaring is like a lion, like young lions they roar; they growl and seize their prey; they carry it off, and none can rescue. 30 They will growl over it on that day, like the growling of the sea. And if one looks to the land, behold, darkness and distress; and the light is darkened by its clouds.

2)   God’s Justice brings fear

It is amazing how many times we talk about God but we never talk about fearing God. To fear God is to have a Holy reverence for Him. Fearing God is not a negative meaning you cannot approach Hi but it is a respectful way that He is God and He is powerful and He is worthy of our worship.

God will direct the attacking armies that Isaiah says will come and it will be God who will hold up a banner and whistle for them to come toward them and punish His rebellious people. By the time it is over the people have been warned that it will be a time of darkness, distress, gloom, and clouds of smoke. The imagery is similar to the concept of Hell that Jesus taught about. Jesus talked about Hell to warn us about the consequences of ignoring God and not accepting His way of salvation. Because God is just, justice has to be paid and Jesus is the one who paid off our penalty of sin. To try and earn our salvation through any way but Jesus will only lead to us being cast out of God’s presence. (John 14:6)  God allows you to say no to Him but He also warns us about the consequences of doing so.

Matthew 8:11-12 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (See Also Matthew 25)

“The prophet’s role, and each reader’s responsibility, is to warn others of God’s impending Holy judgement and to persuade the ungodly to change their ways.” (The New American Commentary, Gary V. Smith, Pg 182

God is a God of love and it was through that love that He came to earth in the flesh of Jesus Christ. He lived, died and rose again because He loves us but He is also a God who is to be feared because His justice is pure and holy. If your perception of your sin is that God does not really care about how you live your life then you have the wrong view of God. Everything that God calls a sin is because it goes against His nature and character. To take sins lightly is to take the very nature of who God is lightly.

3)   Jesus makes us Just

Jesus brings us before God as if we were never flawed because Jesus brings us back to the original. Some ask the question why God could not just forgive without Jesus dying on the cross. The reason is given in Romans 6:23

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The cost of sin is death and so death has to be paid in order for that sin to be wiped out. Jesus died once for all the sins that would be committed and those that humbly accept His free gift of salvation are made pure and Holy in the sight of God. This is why God cannot just forgive because someone has to pay the debt.

Romans 5:8-11 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Since death was the penalty the penalty had to be paid and Jesus paid it and therefore whoever believes in Jesus Christ will be made right with God. Justice was still paid only we did not have to pay it.

“Their roaring is like a lion who carries off their prey and no one can rescue them.” Lions were a problem and everyone knew if a lion got a hold of an animal or a human than there was not much they could do to save them. Isaiah was letting them know that there would be a time when it would be too late to repent. This is why Isaiah was pleading with his people to change their ways and turn to God because he knew if they did not do so ahead of time there would be no time to repent later.

Hebrews 9:24-28  For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

After a person passes from this earth there will be no more time to repent but for those that do repent and trust in Jesus Christ as payment for our sins then we stand before God as if we have never sinned.  We are seen as clean, holy and perfect because of Jesus.  1 Timothy 2:5 says that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man and Jesus not anyone else including ourselves, will be able to make us where we can stand in the presence of a Holy God. The good news of Christianity is that Jesus takes the anger of God upon Himself and makes us righteous. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Your right standing with God is not based on your works but on the finished work of Jesus.  The people in Isaiah’s day did not see themselves properly and thought they were good with God by the few good things that they did while ignoring all the sins they were partaking in. Many in our world think they are on good terms with God for one reason or another but the only thing that can make us right with God is God Himself and that was accomplished when God came to earth as Jesus.

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Isaiah 5:22-24 The Mind Is A Terrible Thing to waste

Isaiah will continue to show the people how they have walked away from God. They are sinning but no longer calling what they do a sin. A sin is simply anything that goes against the nature and character of God. God gets to determine what is right and wrong because He is perfect and as His creation He knows what is best for us.

Isaiah 5:22-24 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, 23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, and deprive the innocent of his right! 24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble, and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
so their root will be as rottenness, and their blossom go up like dust, for they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts, and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

1)   Heroes in their own mind

“Heroes at drinking wine” Isaiah’s sarcasm is strong in that he is comparing them to valiant warriors but only because their claim to fame is not in being a warrior but in how much they drink. They were literally bragging about how much they were drinking as if they fought some epic battle. The people were altering their minds with alcohol and it was causing them to walk even further away from God.

The altering of our minds is something we have to be careful of because it is as we alter our minds that we can lose touch with reality. Drugs and alcohol are rampant in our country and many people, including Christians, turn to them in order to escape from reality. According to Dr. Charles Hodges a physician in Family Medicine says alcohol affects all of your brain not just certain parts like other drugs do. All drugs affect the brain but only alcohol can affect the entire brain at once. So where cocaine may affect one part and another drug another area alcohol has the ability to affect them all. The alcohol was making them not think about God and not think about others because it was numbing them to the world around them. These were people who wanted to just have the pleasure of the day to not think and not worry about anything in life. They sought their own pleasure over the service to others. Their minds were impaired and they didn’t even know it and when a person is impaired they are no longer the ones who are in control of themselves.

2 Timothy 4:5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

We may face some tough days in this life but it is a sin to escape life because of pain or simply because of pleasure by intoxicating ourselves. We need to make sure that we are turning to God and not brain numbing agents when the pains of life hit us. The pain we face today will make us stronger for the future but to try and escape it through drugs or alcohol only prolongs the inevitable of having to deal with the pain you are trying to escape from.

2)   Their Minds were twisted

Acquit the guilty and deprive the innocent of their rights. This goes along with how they called evil good and good evil. Everything was getting turned upside down because of the corruption that was taking place and they were really not seeing things clearly anymore. Sin has a way of distorting our perception of reality that is very dangerous especially when we do not allow anyone to point out the sins in our lives. Like people who are pathological liars do not see that they are not telling the truth sin can corrupt us to where we no longer see what we are doing is not only wrong but hurtful to ourselves and others. We wonder sometimes how people become so twisted in their minds but the more people walk away from God the more their minds will become depraved.

Romans 1:28  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

The verse is Romans is talking about metals that would be rejected because of their impurities in them. They were no good for anything because they would not hold up to the pressure. The More we allow impurities into our minds the more twisted our minds become and eventually it will destroy us. Paul would later tell them that their minds had to be continually renewed.

Romans 12:2] Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect

We have to constantly clean our minds and renew them similar to clothes that need to be washed.

You do not throw your clothes out because they get dirty you put spot remover on them and wash them. Our minds can only be renewed as we accept the word of God as true and allow our minds to be changed to Gods way of thinking. Colossians 3:2 says to “Set your minds on things above” because if we set our minds on the things of the world we will give into the worlds way of thinking.

3)   Their minds were destroyed

“Their root will be as rottenness”  which means they were decaying from the root and they did not realize it. Like termite damage that destroys a house you do not see it until it is too late so allowing your mind to be destroyed may not be noticed until you have already reached a point of no return. Colossians 3:5 says we have to put to death the things that are destroying us. You may not see some of your sins as destroying you but the Bible is clear that they are. (Romans 3:23)  If you do not treat the termites early then you will be doing major repairs in your life. These people looked like they had spiritual lives but deep down they were dying and would eventually be destroyed. They thought they could live however they wanted without any consequences but the lives they chose to live were destroying them.

Sin is anything that goes against the nature and character of God and what God calls sin He does so because it goes against Him but also because it is what is best for His creation. The sins our world says are not sins are actually destroying the very people participating in them as well as our nation. Although people may be mad that we do not accept their sins we know that we truly love them because we care about the long term damage done to their lives when they go against the commands of God.

Hebrews 3:12-13 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

4)   The Battle Begins in the Mind

“They have rejected the law and despised the Word of the Holy One of Israel. “

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

The true battle for people begins in their minds with how they think and what they believe. What people believe are like fortresses or strongholds and it is very difficult to help people see that their thinking is wrong. False Religions, Works as a way to salvation and other faulty thinking will be a battle to overcome in people’s lives. We have to know the truth so that we can combat those who believe in lies. The world needs real answers because the world is doing all it can to bury their pain and turn off their minds through drugs, alcohol and even entertainment.  Proverbs 15:28 says the heart of the righteous studies how to answer and the world is desperately looking for answers because the things they are being told that bring them fulfillment are leaving them empty inside their souls.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Do you turn to God’s word to have your mind renewed? Are you lazy in your study of God’s Word?

We have to be careful because many Christian Teachers are even straying from the truth of God’s word and teaching things that are not acceptable to God.  The people In Isaiah’s day looked like Christians but their worship and their lifestyle were corrupt and were not accepted by God.

Jesus said He was the Way, the Truth and the Life and that means that what He offers is the only thing that will give people what they are truly looking for which is a relationship with God Himself.

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Isaiah 5:20-21 Who’s the Boss?

On a job site someone has to be in charge and the boss is the one who determines what will be accomplished, what will be a priority and if the job is up to standards. Our culture is at a crossroads with how we are going to decide on what is and what is not acceptable and we have to know what we believe because there are consequences for what we decide because it will affect our entire world. Our culture wants everyone to be the boss of their own lives but is that even possible? If everyone is the boss then who determines right and wrong? This is the dilemma we find ourselves in when no one wants anyone else to tell them what to do.

Isaiah 5:20-21 Woe to those who call evil good  and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!

1)   The Boss Determines What is Acceptable

Woe to those who call Good Evil and Evil good. The things they were doing and participating in were no longer called sins.  Not only were they no longer calling things sins they were also not allowing anyone else point out that the way they were living was wrong. A sin is anything that you do that goes against the nature and character of God. So God, being the creator and sustainer of human life, gets to determine what is acceptable behavior for His creation.

If you buy a car it will come with instructions as to the best way to maintain the car for operating efficiency. If you follow the guidelines the car will last longer and run better but if you ignore them and ignore the warning signs the car gives you then you will find yourself broke down on the side of the road. Our society is finding themselves broken down because they have not only ignored God but they have ignored the warning signs in our society that shows the lifestyles they are living are not working. We ignore the warning signs by saying things like, “It is no longer a sin it is a lifestyle choice or how I was born.”

“Moral standards were destroyed by new definitions of sin (Amos 5:7), people using God’s vocabulary but not His dictionary. Like today’s “double speak”, this kind of language made it easy to deceive people and avoid a guilty conscience.” (Be Comforted, Warren W. Wiersbe PG34)

The more you reject God the more you will justify your behavior. Some people go by the motto “whatever makes you happy” as a standard for their life. The problem is that happiness is not always achievable so therefore they are following a pattern for life that is unattainable. God the creator of the universe gave us things to enjoy in their context but if I abuse them or use them for my own pleasure without discipline then it will destroy me. What is right and what is wrong is determined by the nature and character of God. If God is in charge, and He is even if we don’t think so, then what He says is right and is actually best for us. One of the ways we know what God thinks is by reading His revealed will in the Bible.

If you do not believe in God, as the people were doing in the verse prior, then what is your standard for right and wrong?  Evolution has no explanation for evil and in fact there is no evil if there is no God.

Is right and wrong to be determined by majority rule? If majority rule is the answer then Hitler should not have been condemned for killing millions of Jews. If we want to keep from becoming people who make up our own standard of right and wrong then we have to be in God’s word and learn what His will is.

“To most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it. They just scroll to the bottom and click “I agree” (A New Kind of Apologist, Sean Mcdowell, Pg 70)

The problem with living as God as the boss is that not only will it be difficult to live by Gods standard but we will also be hated for doing so. Every issue we face in our country is a moral issue from what your identity is, who you can marry, and if abortion is murder. Morals are being put in place but only Christians are accused of pushing their morals on other people. We all have morals it’s just who determines those morals determines the outcome of them. If you believe everyone decides for themselves what their morals should be then you have to realize that people will not be able to function together because ones set of morals will cross over into another person’s morals. The Avengers movie promoted population control for the good of the Universe by the character Thanos.  Bill Nye the science guy says abortions are good because we need population control and Bill Nye also advocates penalizing families who have too many children. So for Bill Nye his morals say have less children and someone else says their morals say to have more children so who gets to decide?

Some believe science should determine what we do because for many they think that the health of the planet trumps the rights of human beings. But can science tell us everything?

 “Science might be able to tell you if an action may hurt someone- like if giving a man cyanide will kill him- but science can’t tell you whether or not you ought to hurt someone.” (Stealing from God, Frank Turek, Pg 100)

Our society has made science their god unless it disagrees with them like the issue of how many genders there are. Science says there are two genders but science gets ignored on that issue. This was the exact confusion that was taking place in Isaiah’s day because people were trying to justify how they wanted to live. We live in a world that was once called evil is now considered good because people want to be the boss of their own lives.

2)   The Boss Evaluates Your Actions

Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes.  Can you imagine an employee telling you that this is the way they wanted to do it even though you told them how to do a job?  The first one has to do with the deterioration of morality and the second one is that I am the only one who can judge my actions. “No one is going to tell me how to live”.  People because of their own made up moral code, will judge themselves by that moral code. This is why people can have a sin area in their life yet continue to be mad at someone for a different sin in their life. People say “I believe God is like” or I like to think God would do this or that” instead of seeing what His revealed will is we live our lives based on what we think.

“When individuals think of themselves as their own source for creating moral truth, it’s only natural for them to feel no one has the right to judge whatever they choose to believe or do. Acceptance of them included acceptance of their moral truth.” (The Beauty of Intolerance, Josh and Sean McDowell, Pg 22)

Acceptance of their morals or lifestyle is acceptance of them. Tolerance used to mean putting up with someone’s lifestyle choices even though you disagreed with them but now tolerance means accepting their lifestyles choices as equal and valid ideas and behavior. Values in our society are getting shaped by the culture rather than by scripture. Even some who say the Bible is their source of moral truth do not believe that the Bible is the source of truth for everyone.  The Bible is seen as a religious book or guide and to some an outdated manuscript. The Bible is about Gods relationship with humanity and how He created and overcame the sin that has destroyed His creation. It is the story of how humanity is separated from Him and how He has made a way for them to be back in a right relationship with Him. People are not seeking after God because they have believed the lie from the beginning that they could be a god or the rulers of their own destiny and behavior.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Fear is not being scared of God as is frightened but it is a Holy Reverence for who God is and what He has said. Holy fear is acknowledging that God is perfect and without sin and because He is the boss then He knows best.

Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

Because people are wise in their own eyes they are no longer thinking about God and how He designed them to live. The problem is that many people who call themselves Christians are no longer thinking about God as well. We say we believe in God but then we make decisions by our own wisdom or the wisdom of the world which some even goes contrary to His revealed will for our lives. The world is not thinking about God because Christ followers are not thinking about God in our daily lives. “We are called to be in the world but not of it but it seem that many Christians are trying to fit into the world and as they do so they are not showing people the lies they believe. The word Church means “The called out ones” and our lives are to be lived to be a light that shows other people they are living in darkness. (Matthew 5:14)

“As for being compromised, the church will have to understand that the key is being ‘counter” to a post –Christians culture, not a copy of it, or else we will have nothing to offer the world that it does not already have.” (Meet Generation Z James Emery White, PG. 74)

If we do not live as if God is the boss then how will the world know the difference and where will they turn when they realize they believe a lie? If we are living as if we can gain access to God through works instead of by faith then how will the world see the difference?  If we are living as if all roads lead to Heaven then who will tell them the truth that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6)? Have you begun to call things good that God calls evil? Have you become the determining factor for what you believe or does God get to be the boss of your life? Jesus cannot be your savior if you have not submitted to Him to be the Lord of your life.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

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Isaiah 5:18-20 Testing God

Isaiah has begun his warnings about what they were doing and the consequences that would follow. The seeking of wealth and pleasure would not satisfy them and Isaiah warned them that they would eventually be broke and alone because of the things they were pursuing besides God. Many wealthy people have found that the money they sought for happiness has led them to be alienated from people. When we seek after the things of the world instead of God then we will find that the things of this world were for us to enjoy but not to bring us the ultimate satisfaction which can only come from God.

Isaiah will continue his warnings and a warning is just that it is to show you that there is possible danger ahead if you are not careful. Instead of listening to the warning the people instead begin to mock and put God to the test. The People in Isaiah’s day were testing God and we will see how they were pushing their limits with God which would eventually bring severe consequences and God’s judgment.

Isaiah 5:18-20 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood, who draw sin as with cart ropes, who say: “Let him be quick, let him speed his work that we may see it; let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near, and let it come, that we may know it!”  Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

1)   Testing God with Sin

“Draw sin along with ropes “was an expression because the people were attaching themselves to sin and they were not worried about the consequences of it. The idea that Isaiah was portraying was the idea of dragging Idols by ropes along the road in parades for the entire community to see. Their sins were no longer hidden and private. The people were deceived and did not realize the burden of the weight of sin that was on their lives and the long term affects it would have on their lives. We live in similar times where the things that used to be taboo to talk about are not bragged about and even encouraged to participate in.

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

Isaiah already warned the people about the weight of Wealth and pleasure which were not bad things or even sins when kept in proper perspective but are things that can distract them from the priority of seeking the Kingdom of God first. (Matthew 6:33)  The second part of Hebrews 12:1 is talking about sin that like a vine will attach itself to you and cling to you and eventually choke you out and destroy you. Sin is fun for a time but the reality is the sins that you think you control will eventually cling to you and be difficult for you to break away from. What was worse is the people did not care anymore and attached themselves willingly not caring about the end result of their decision but only living for today. They could no longer see that their sin was destroying themselves and their sins were going to bring judgment from God. When you do not care what God thinks about your actions and especially the sins in your life then you are testing Him and will eventually face the consequences of your rebellion.

2)   Testing God with Mocking

“Let Him speed His work so we may see it “is how bold they became toward God even telling Him to show Himself so that they could believe in Him. The attitude was that if God existed let Him show Himself because if He doesn’t then there is no one to tell us that what we are doing is wrong.  One of the consequences of sin is it distorts our view of God and reality. Studies have shown that the more people give into sexual sin the more their brains become warped by the behavior they are engaging in.

If there is no God then there is no right and wrong and if there is no right and wrong then there is no one who can tell us that anything we do is wrong or is unacceptable behavior. Atheists have a dilemma on their hands because they have no grounds to call anything evil and in fact evil does not exist if there is no God.

2 Peter 3:3-4 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”

The verse in 2 Peter is parallel to the verse in Isaiah 5 because the people were following their own sinful desires instead of trusting in the ways of God. God who is our creator and knows what is best for us has established rules not to harm us but for our own good. When we go outside of those guidelines because we do not trust Him then we find ourselves in destructive patterns of this world. Although many people will say that they want to live life with no regrets the reality is that many people have regrets because of the things they have done that go outside of the will of God.

People have always begun to Mock God because He did not show Himself the way that they thought He should. God made Himself known through Nature, (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:19-23), through our own Conscience (Romans 2:14-16), through Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-2) and through the Bible (John 20:30-31). It is not that God has not made Himself known it is because they suppress the truth (Romans 1) so that they can live their own lives. The major sin we tend to commit is wanting to be god of our own lives. We do not want anyone telling us how to live or what is best for us. God loves us and He has made Himself known and He has also made known how we best function as His creation but many people continue to deny the ways of God.

Anytime you deny the presence of God or the law of God you mock Him even those who say they believe in Him. Do you trust the ways of God? Do you believe He exist and that He loves you? Do you believe because of that love He knows what is best for His creation? Many studies are coming out that show that people living for themselves and doing whatever they want has led them toward unhappier lives and even toward depression.

Christianity is not just about having a better life on this earth  although the ways of God if followed by non-believers in Christ will still benefit them. We are not just about our best life now but about eternity. We all will leave this earth no matter the morals and religious practices we have chosen to follow. Death has entered our world (Romans 5:12) and because of that Jesus Christ had to die for our sins in order for us to be reconciled to God. (Romans 5:10) It is as we accept the free gift of salvation which is not by our works of righteousness or trying to be good but by what Jesus did for us on the cross (Ephesians2:8-9) that we can be reconciled to God. (John 3:16-17) Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6) and if He is not the way or only one of the ways as some say then Jesus was a liar. Do you believe Jesus is a good teacher but not the only way to Heaven? Then He was not a good teacher because He claimed to be the only way to God. Although you may think you are a good person you do not have what it takes to get to heaven because all of us have sinned (Romans 3:23) and therefore we are separated from God because He is Holy and without flaw. The only way we can be back in a right relationship with God is through Jesus Christ. Acts 16:31 says to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. You believe that He took your sins and paid for them so that you will not have to and that through His death you are put back in a right relationship with God. You do not earn your salvation by anything you can do you just accept it by faith in the historical person name Jesus who was God in the flesh.

 

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Isaiah 5:8-17 Warning: Wealth and Pleasure

Isaiah told the people that God has done all He could do to have them produce good fruit in their lives. When we are talking about the fruit that God is looking for it is the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. The fruit that was being produced in the people’s lives was sour grapes so although it looked good from afar it was really worthless because you could not eat it or make wine from it. Many people look good from the outside but God sees our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7) and He knows who we really are even though we may fool others.

Many people are claiming that they are having Spiritual experiences in churches and around the world but if you have an encounter with the Spirit of God and it does not lead you to conviction of sin (John 16:8-11) and to have the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) then you did not encounter the Spirit of God. Unfortunately many people are deceived by other spirits that are not from God and that is why 1 John 4:1 tells us to test the Spirits because not every spirit we encounter is God. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says we should examine ourselves to see if we are really Christians because a time will come when God will check the fruit of our lives and declare us worthy or worthless and at that point it will be too late.

Although Isaiah knew that the way they were living was wrong it did not cause him to have anger toward the people but it caused him to be heartbroken for his nation and the lives they were living and the lies they believed. Isaiah will begin to give them warnings and call out the sins that they no longer see as sins and tell them the truth about their lives because he loves them. We have the responsibility to tell people the way they are living is wrong but we have to do it in love (Ephesians 4:15).

The warning Isaiah gave to his people is a warning to us because the things that they were dealing with are the very things we are dealing with in America. The warnings or woes are the rotten fruit that they were producing even though they thought their lives were producing good results. We need to learn from the very things Isaiah was warning them about so that we do not become deceived and fall into the same lies that they gave themselves over to.

Isaiah 5:8-10 Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land. The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing: “Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant. 10 For ten acres[a] of vineyard shall yield but one bath, and a homer of seed shall yield but an ephah.”[b]

1)   Warning of Wealth

“Woe to you who add house to house and field to field. “The people were doing all they could to add to their wealth without taking others into consideration. Technically the land could not be bought and sold because it was promised to different tribes of Israel (Numbers 27:7-11; 1 Kings 21) so they were ignoring God by ignoring the different designations that He gave to the Children of Israel. The land belonged to the Lord just like the things of this earth (Psalm 24) but they were buying up all the land and homes around them so they could create large houses and farm lands that would literally leave them away from others. Isaiah’s warning is that these things will be taken away from them and the area they once were in would become desolate and grazed on by sheep.

The problem is that wealth can lead you away from Christ because you become more consumed with it than you do with Him.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

If you are wondering if you have a love of money then you just need to evaluate how much do you think about money compared to thinking about Jesus. You also have a love of money when you will sin to attain it so if you have ever lied or cheated to get more money then you have a love of money. You have a love of money when you trust in it more than you trust in God.

The people in Isaiah’s day were bribing judges so they could steal land for their own gain because they thought that the more they had the more content they would be. Money, just like anything else you seek in this world, cannot bring you the happiness and contentment you seek. Worse than money not fulfilling you is that money can actually lead you to a greater doom by thinking the things of this world are all there is to this life.

Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

The people in Isaiah’s day were consumed with money and possessions and it had led them away from their devotion to God. Our wealth and blessings from God are not to be hoarded for our own benefit but used to be a blessing to others and for the Kingdom of God. When the money God has blessed us with consumes us and we only see how we can benefit ourselves with it then we have lost focus on what is really important.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Any smart investor wants to get the most out of their investment by investing in what will benefit them the most. Both Jesus and Paul tell us that whatever investment we make here on earth will be an investment made for all eternity in Heaven.(Matthew 6:20 ) The Apostle Paul is not saying to get rid of your wealth and live a life of poverty but he is warning them to make sure they do not forget that money cannot bring fulfillment and it can lead you away from Jesus who is the only one who can fill you (Matthew 5:6). Studies have shown that an increase in one’s wealth has not meant an increase in happiness and yet we all tend to believe the lie that if we had a little more money our problems would go away. God is getting ready to remove the wealth from the rich to show them that their trust and contentment should be in Him and not the things of this world. If God were to remove your wealth would you still be content in Him? If not, why not?

Isaiah 5:11-12 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! 12 They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.

2)   Warning of Pleasure

“They do not regard the deeds of the Lord or see the work of His hands” The people in Isaiah’s day were seeking their own pleasure instead of seeking the will of God. They were consumed not only with wealth but with satisfying every desire they had.

Matthew 6:31-33 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Jesus was telling the disciples that God knows all of our needs but that we should not be like the rest of the world who makes those things a priority. Our first thought should not be our pleasure or even our needs but the things of God.

“When the passion for pleasure has become uppermost in a person’s life, passion for God and his truth and his ways are squeezed out.” J.N.  Oswalt

The people Isaiah is addressing are people that looked forward to their own happiness. We live in a world of technology that we watch shows when we want not when the network tells us to watch them. We say statements like “ Follow your heart” or “Whatever makes you happy” but Jeremiah 17:9 says the heart is deceitful and Jesus was obedient until death not until He was not happy. (Philippians 2:8) We live in a society that does not want to do anything that goes against their personal happiness or pleasure.

Somewhere along the way, we ceased to be a culture where kids aspire to be adults, and we became a culture where adults aspire to be kids, or at least adolescents forever.” (A practical Guide to Culture, Stonestreet and Kunkle, Pg. 133

People who are consumed with their own pleasure do not make the things of God a priority. Isaiah accuses them of drunkenness and seeking pleasure and our society can be accused of the same things. We have to be carful that we do not believe the lie that we deserve to be happy when God calls us to be Holy. One of the ways we are being programmed for our own desires is through technology. Although technology is not bad in and of itself there are some definite things that can cause us to lose sight of The Kingdom of God and make the world about our kingdom.

Isaiah 5:13-17 Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge;[ their honored men go hungry,[b] and their multitude is parched with thirst. 14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem[c] and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who exults in her.15 Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty[d] are brought low. 16 But the Lord of hosts is exalted[e] in justice, and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness. 17 Then shall the lambs graze as in their pasture, and nomads shall eat among the ruins of the rich

3)   Consequences of ignoring the Warnings

A) Spiritual Hunger

Honored men go hungry, multitude is parched with thirst.

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

Hollywood is the greatest example that Money, fame and stuff will not bring you happiness. Our souls long for to know God and Jesus claims in this verse He is God in the flesh.

B) Spiritual and Physical Death

Sheol has enlarged its appetite

Death is the great equalizer for all of humanity. No matter your wealth, popularity or position we will all eventually leave this earth and Isaiah makes death sound like a hungry monster who is never satisfied.

What happens after we die is a question we all need to answer.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death

Not only will we all face death physically but there is death in this world as well. Death of a career, death of a marriage and death of relationships all happen because of our pursuit of other things for our own desires and pleasures. When we try and attain the things only Christ can satisfy through the world they only lead us to more hurt and pain.  Hebrews 11:25 tells us that sin is fun for a season but seasons end and so does the enjoyment or the satisfaction the thing outside of God you are looking to bring fulfillment to your life.

Jeremiah 2:13 13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

The world may laugh at you for a time but when they are empty and broken they will at least know where to find the answer to eternal and spiritual life. The problem is we as Christians buy into the lie that the things of this world will satisfy us and we do not show the world that there is more to this life then what exist today.

God will humble them by removing the things that they desire over Him but Gods ultimate goal is not to harm but it is to make us Holy and sometimes the removal of the things we have made idols in our lives is what needs to happen. The things of this world will Pass away (2 peter 3:10) and God wants us to be in a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ so we can enjoy Him in Heaven forever. (John 3:16-17)

DO you think wealth and Pleasure are going to bring you the satisfaction you think they will? Are you tired of trying things the world’s way?  The life Jesus offers is more than the physical things of this world it is the spiritual that only He can fill in you.  Matthew 5:6 says “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for Righteousness for they will be filled.” If you are trying to fill your life with everything besides the free offer of salvation through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) then you will find out that you will be chasing after things that will never satisfy your soul.

 

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Isaiah 5:1-7 What’s Being Produced?

What is supposed to happen after a person becomes a Christ Follower? What changes should we see in our lives?  Many people say they are Christians but their lives do not reflect what Jesus taught. A Christian’s life is supposed to produce a harvest that God would be proud of because it would be a harvest that would produce His character traits. Today we are going to see what happens when God inspects the harvest. Isaiah is going to show them that many of them are not following God even though they say they are and Isaiah is going to show them the consequences of what is being produced in their lives.

Produce: to bear or bring forward as a natural product. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are put on a path toward being made perfect. God works in and through us to change us.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

As Christ followers there should be a change in us that begins to show through our lives over time. This is what Isaiah is going to teach them today.

Read Isaiah 5:1-7 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard:
My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem
and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured;[a]I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed;[b] for righteousness, but behold, an outcry![c]

1)   The Work has been done for you to produce a good fruit

Isaiah begins his talk as a love song but then he changes the tune to show them that they way they are living is not what God wants out of their lives. Isaiah shows them that God has done all the work when He dug, cleared, built and made for the vineyard to produce. The thing that has always separated Christianity from all other religions is the work that was done by God as opposed to the work that should be done by man. Christianity relies on the finished work of Christ and not our works of righteousness. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Isaiah invites them to see if God should get the blame for what their lives produced. This is not a court setting anymore where they stand accused but Isaiah is asking them to do a self-evaluation to see how far they have drifted from God.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

We as humans tend to blame everything on someone or something else when things do not go our way. We say things like, ”You made me mad” or “I would not have had to lie if you would not have asked me” to cover up our mistake and place the blame on someone else.  People will even blame God but Isaiah wants them to evaluate who is really at fault for the lack of Godly character that is in their lives.

“What more was there to be done? “(vs4)

2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[c] his own glory and excellence,[d] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

God did all the work for us to produce a good harvest and there is no more He can do because Jesus Christ has already come to earth, lived a perfect and sinless life and died on the cross for our sins. If we are not growing in our relationship with Christ then we are either not a Christian or we have allowed things to come into our lives that are hurting our growth. You can make excuses but  when you stand before God there will be no excuse because God has done everything for salvation and for you to know Him.

2)   God patiently waits for the produce

“He looked (waited) for it to produce grapes”

A grape harvest would take about two years to start seeing results after everything had been done. The farmer would be patient with their crop but eventually they would need to see results. God is patient but there will eventually be a day when He will see what the results are because if His spirit is within you then eventually He who began the work will see it produce results.

2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

 “He looked for it to yield grapes but it produced wild grapes”

Make no mistake you are producing something in your life but the problem with the harvest that Isaiah is describing is that it was very similar to the real thing. From a distance you would have thought that this vineyard was producing what the owner would have intended for it to produce but when you came up close you would see that it did not produce anything good at all. The grapes that were produced were bitter and not able to be used to make wine and you could not eat them so they were just worthless.

We need to examine our lives and see what we are producing. When talking about false prophets Jesus tells us what to look for and I think this applies to all of us as well. Remember, the wild grapes looked like the real thing and many false prophets and people who think they are Christians think they are producing good fruit.

Matthew 7:15-20 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

This verse is after Matthew 7:1 which says we are not to Judge a person’s motives but we are to judge people by their outward actions. The purpose of a watchtower in the vineyard was so you could see if animals or thieves were coming in and destroying the crops. As Christians we should have watchtowers in our lives to make sure things are not creeping into our lives that will ruin the fruit we should be producing.  Fruit in this verse means more than just a few actions but it is a totality of who you are just like a harvest produces either good or bad fruit.

John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

God prunes you for two reasons. Either because you just produced fruit and He is working on you to produce more fruit or because you have disease (sin) that needs to be cut out of your life so it does not kill the entire tree. We do not produce fruit by our own works of actions they are produced because of the Holy Spirit that is working in and through us. If you are trying to produce fruit out of your own works or effort you will not be producing the fruit of God because that can only happen as God works in and through you.

3)   The Consequences of not producing good fruit

“Now I will tell you what I will do”

Jesus is the vine and we are the branches but if a branch is not producing fruit then there is a problem and it eventually gets removed. The wall and hedge kept people and animals out from destroying the vines and Isaiah tells them that God is going to remove the safety that He has established for them. God will also no longer prune them or work with them to remove the disease from their lives. The passage of scripture gives the idea that God literally walks away to leave them to their own destruction. It seems harsh for us to think about the consequences of not producing fruit but when God has done everything to produce fruit, because He did all the work,  then we are the ones who are to blame.

John 15:6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

The warnings of not producing fruit should make all of us look at our lives and inspect what is happening in our lives. We need to also look at the fruit that God expects to find and see if our lives are matching up to it and if not then we need to allow God to work on our lives so that this kind of fruit is being produced.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

4)   How to produce Good Fruit

John 15:3-5 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

We must first realize that the Christian life is not for us to live it is for Christ to live through us. Our responsibility is to abide which means to obey the rules but more than that it means to spend time with Jesus. We tend to act like the ones we spend time with and if we are spending time with Jesus then our lives will show it.

Philippians 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Two mistakes that are made is that people think it is by their own effort they produce the fruit that God expects or they think they have to do nothing. This is exactly what Isaiah was saying to them because God had done all the work for there to be good fruit produced and yet sour grapes were the final result they were not fulfilling their part in the process.

Ephesians 4:20-24 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Some of us have allowed things in our lives because we do not see ourselves the way God sees us. We are declared clean by God not because of our actions but because of the actions of Christ. (Colossians 3) The word Saint really means Christian. You do not earn sainthood and you do not have to do 3 miracles to attain it you just have to accept the free gift of Jesus Christ. When prodigal son (Luke 15) came home the dad put the Robe, the Ring and shoes on his feet because the father dressed him in the status he was, a son, and not the status he thought he was, a servant. Seeing ourselves properly will always help with bearing fruit because we have to know what Christ has done on our behalf and accept it so we can be declared clean. Because of our new status we love because we were loved by Christ

We forgive because we were forgiven by Christ and we walk in Holiness because Christ has made us Holy.  We put on the things of God because of what He has already done, what He is doing and what He will do. (Saved, Being Saved and will be saved; Justified, Sanctified, Glorified)

One day we will give an account for our lives when God looks at our lives what will He find? God has done the work and He is patiently waiting but one day He will come back and walk away from the vineyard that produces worthless fruit. Many people think they are Christians and that they are producing fruit that God will accept when in reality what they are producing are sour grapes. Our lives are to bear fruit for the benefit of others and the fruit we produce is the fruit of the Spirit.

 

 

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Isaiah 4:2-6 Heaven

Isaiah seems to pause in his rebukes and warnings to encourage those who are living for God and for those who are being taken advantage of by the rich and powerful. He might even be trying to get people who are in sin to see that there is a bigger picture and that there is something after this life we are currently living in. Today we are going to talk about Heaven as Isaiah encourages us to stay focused on what really matters and what is waiting for us. Heaven is something that many people talk about but many people do not know what it is about and how they can even get their. Isaiah is going to answer those questions today as he calls us to remember that earth is not our final destination.

Isaiah 4:2-6  In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, everyone who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning.[a] Then the Lord will create over the whole site of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy. There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

1)   Heaven is our Home

It is comforting to know that earth is not Heaven but something better is waiting for us who put our faith and trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This world is full of heartache and troubles and we are promised one day that those things will be gone. Isaiah has been trying to get them to see outside of themselves and now he is trying to get them to see outside of this world. Because we live in this world it is easy to get focused on it as if it is going to bring fulfillment to our lives and people do all they can to have a life they dreamed of while they are finding out that the things of this world will not satisfy them.

 “In that day” always points to the end of time when God intervenes by stopping a world that has become corrupted.

There will be a day when the pain is gone, the tears will be wiped away and all that was distorted by sin will be made right again. This is why Jesus, who was God in the flesh, came and died for our sins and rose again defeating death so that we can be guaranteed to be with Him in Heaven.

“The branch of the Lord” is the promise of the Messiah (Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12)

Isaiah is letting them know that there will be a glorious and beautiful place that we will be able to go to because of the promised Messiah and Jesus made the same promise to His followers.

John 14:1-6 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”[c] Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

If you have ever been to a hotel you know that your stay there is usually short and so you do not redecorate or hang your personal pictures on the wall. It would be crazy if you brought in an interior decorator to your hotel room and had them redo the entire room for you. Not only would that be a waste of money it would more than likely be frowned upon by the hotel because it would not be to their standards. For many people that are living on earth they are redecorating the hotel room because our stay on earth is short compared to eternity yet we spend so much time and energy trying to make a place a home that is not meant to be our home.

In John 14 Jesus is using marriage terminology that Jesus because the groom would leave to go prepare the house and when he returned he would take his bride with him. The bride did not know when the groom would return but she knew that at some point she would be living to go and live somewhere else. Jesus was reassuring His disciples that He not only would go and prepare a place for them but He would come and take them with Him. It was such intimate language that Jesus was using which is what separates Christianity from almost  all other religions because no other religion has a personal God like that of Christianity.

 

1 Corinthians 2:9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

You cannot even imagine how great Heaven is going to be the Bible tells us but because we cannot see it we focus more about what is in front of us instead of what awaits us.

 

“Then the Lord will createGod is going to do something new and amazing that it will be beyond description.

Revelation 21:1-2  Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

We are told a little bit about Heaven so we do not get focused on this world and all the things that will one day be gone. The People in Isaiah’s day and throughout History have always been focused on the wrong world and we have to be reminded that the things of this world will one day no longer exist.

In Matthew chapter four Jesus was tempted by Satan to have all the Kingdoms of this world and it is a temptation that Satan still offers us today. Just like Jesus we have to realize that the kingdoms of this world do not compare to the kingdom of God.

Isaiah then says “He who is left” which is terminology that not everyone will be in Heaven. It is a popular notion to believe that everyone goes to Heaven but that is not what the Bible teaches. If you do not believe the Bible or Jesus that is one thing but for those who call themselves Christians or Christ followers Jesus did not leave room for us to make that error.

How can we know for sure we are going to make it to Heaven?

2)   Heaven is guaranteed for those who trust in Christ

 

Recorded for Life” is a statement meaning there was a registry of those who belonged to the city.

Jesus talked about this registry and the book that our names are written in which proves we belong in Heaven.

Luke 10:20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

The Apostle John goes on to tell us more about the vision that God gave him about Heaven and who would be and who would not be allowed into it.

Revelation 20:12, 15 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

The books (plural) are all the things good and bad that people have done that they think will earn them a place in Heaven. Many people think that they are not bad people and that if they did anything wrong then they can make up for it by doing more good things that bad. Revelation 20 clearly tells us that the people that thought that were cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 13:8 calls it the Lambs book of life because the only way your name could be entered into the registry is by accepting the finished work of what Jesus Christ did on the cross because Hebrews 12:14 says that without Holiness no one will see the Lord. The problem man has with God is his sin and because of sin we are separated from God and the only way we can gain righteousness (being in a right standing with God)  is not based on our actions but the actions of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.

Just like we believe in the past work of Christ they looked forward to a day that they would be made righteous by the Messiah that was to come. Verse 4 says that “God will wash” which is part of a ceremonial cleaning meaning totally pure.  Will “be called holy” because it is something they are declared not something they have earned or were able to achieve on their own. Wash away the filth is a term used for vomit. (The way God sees our sins). Again, to be as clear as I can be, you cannot earn your salvation it has to be something you receive as you believe in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 16:31)

The good news if you notice who is being cleansed it is the daughters of Zion the ones who were mentioned last chapter that were all about themselves and treated people poorly. Gods redemptive (bought back) plan applies to everyone not just the people we think deserve His grace. If we teach the cross of Christ correctly it is offensive because that means the worst of the worst can get in through faith yet the people we declare good will not if they do not accept Jesus Christ. We cannot earn our holiness in order to stand before God it is something He has to do to us and that is why He came to die on the cross. We do not see how separated our sins have made us from God but when we do see God face to face we will realize it is only through His work that we can be cleansed.

3)   Heaven is about God’s Presence

“a Cloud by Day and a fire by night” Although there will be no more night the reference is how God was with them as He led them out of Egypt and through the desert. What is going to make Heaven so wonderful is not all the stuff but the presence of God. The reason we have to be pure and Holy is because God Himself will be with us and if we are unholy then we could not stand to be in the presence of God.

Revelation 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God

The word Canopy in Isaiah is used either as a marriage chamber or just a protection by God but it shows the intimacy of God to those who put their hope and trust in Christ. People think it is unfair that God will not allow everyone in but the people who are not going to Heaven do not want to be in the presence of God anyway so He is just giving them what they want. Shelter from the heat and storm God will protect us in such a way that we will no longer face the trials and troubles of this world.

Revelation 21:4-5 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

This entire passage that Isaiah is telling them in Chapter 4 is the opposite of all the things that he talked about in Chapter 3.The Promise was given to the people who were faithful in an unfaithful world as encouragement that one day God will make all things new and He will reverse what they are experiencing now.

 

“What is certain is what God will do. What is uncertain is what the people will do. Will they choose to accept God’s purification so they can be holy and dwell in God’s presence, or will they arrogantly continue in their sinful ways?” (The New American Commentary, Isaiah, Pg 159)

There is no room in Heaven for those who proudly think that they deserve to be there because of their works of righteousness. Acts 16:31 says Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. Do You believe that Jesus death on the cross paid for your sins and His resurrection secured a day when you will rise and meet Him again. Are you discouraged by the things in the world or the things in your personal world? Take faith in knowing that God is going to make all things new for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Heaven is our home to try and focus too much time here does not make sense.

 

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