Isaiah 3:13-4:1 Looking through the Camera of Life

Isaiah was a prophet of God sent to warn the people that their actions were going to lead to their downfall and judgment from God.  They were not taking care of the poor, their courts were filled with injustice and they mixed in various religions with the true worship of God. The people were relying on their government leaders, their wealth, and their military and even other gods instead of putting all of their trust and hope in God. Isaiah began warning them that God was going to take these things away from them if they did not change their behavior

The warning of leadership and the warning of what sin will do to the nation have already been said and now we are going to see the judgment that God will bring on those who are in leadership and those who have made the entire world about themselves.

With the technology on our phones today we are able to take pictures of ourselves and others with incredible clarity. The phone comes with a button that can turn the camera around so that as you hold the phone the camera is on you and not what is around you. In our world we have many people who have the camera phone setting in such a way that they camera is always on themselves. We only see the world by how it affects us and we have no concern about anyone else.

The people in Isaiah’s day were self-consumed and it was at the cost of those around them. Isaiah is going to call the selfish people out and show them that God is going to judge them harshly for their self-focus and their neglect of those around them.

View: The Act of seeing or examining

We all have a view of the world and so the question we have to ask ourselves are we seeing the world through the lens of self or are we looking through a panoramic view that shows us what others are going through around us.

Isaiah 3:13-15 The Lord has taken his place to contend; he stands to judge peoples.14 The Lord will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people: “It is you who have devoured[a] the vineyard, the spoil of the poor is in your houses. 15 What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?” declares the Lord God of hosts.

1)   Panoramic: Our view of Others

“The Lord has taken His place to contend with the elders and princes”

The first people we see are the ones who were responsible for maintaining true justice. They were the ones who were supposed to defend the poor and defenseless people against those who were wealthier and who had more resources to cause the poor and defenseless harm either physically or financially.

God, through Isaiah, ask them “What do you mean by crushing my people” or How can you do this to my people? We are not to have an “every man for himself” mindset but we are to be concerned for those who God has placed in our lives. One of the beliefs that Christians have is that no matter who the person is they are created in the image of God.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Every human being has value simply because they are made in the image of God no matter their physical appearance or their financial status. When we devalue humans, from the baby in the womb (Abortion) to those who are at the end of their life here on earth (Euthanasia), or those with disabilities or disease, we are devaluing someone made in the image of God.

The Leaders in Isaiah’s day were looking down on the poor and using them for their own gain and their own purposes. “Grinding the face of the poor” Although they were leaders in government positions we have to be careful that we are not users and abusers of people for our own gain. There will be times when you can abuse the power you have over others for your own gain and that is something we are not to do as Christ followers. We can all be guilty of viewing people for how they can be a benefit to us rather than how we can be a benefit to them.  You will hear the statement, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” which is a statement of I will do for you if you can do for me but we are not called by God to just do things for people who can do things for us we are called to go to those who can do nothing for us and serve them as well. We need to change our consumer, what’s in it if for me, mindset and begin by saying how can I serve my family, my coworkers, my boss, my community and my church even if they have nothing to offer me.

When is the last time you served someone who had nothing they could do for you? Stop saying you will serve your spouse when they change but serve them because they are made in the image of God. Stop saying I will serve my coworkers or boss when they treat me better and begin to be faithful to God by serving them even if they never change. When we see people as being image bearers of God  then we will serve them.


Matthew 25:34-40  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’

After Jesus commends those who did those things He then says the same thing to those who are cast into Hell because they did not do those things. Both cases Jesus lets them know that what they did for those who were the least it was done as if it was done to Him directly. In Matthew 7 people will stand before God and say they cast out demons, did miracles and prophesied in Jesus name but Jesus will say depart from me because they did not know Him. The things Jesus talks about in Matthew 25 are just common everyday needs and not big undertakings.  You don’t have to do big things for God just serve those who God has placed in your path.

Start off every conversation with a person and say to yourself “You are made in the image of God and I love you” because God will hold us accountable for our treatment of people and by realizing God loves them it will change our view of them. The good deeds you produce naturally  are from the fruit of the spirit inside of you not the root of your salvation. Those who did good deeds did not even remember doing them because Christ had transformed their lives. We do not do good actions and deeds to earn Gods favor we do them because He has already made us favorable through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 3:16-4:1 16 The Lord said: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty and walk with outstretched necks, glancing wantonly with their eyes, mincing along as they go, tinkling with their feet,17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.24 Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a skirt of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty. 25 Your men shall fall by the sword and your mighty men in battle. 26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; empty, she shall sit on the ground.And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach.”


2)   Selfie: Our view of ourselves

The women thought they were superior, and they were only thinking about themselves and how they looked. Isaiah goes into detail how they were dressed but the main problem was that they were the Woman of Zion and so they were taking away from their focus on God and placing their entire thought on themselves.

In Isaiah 3:18 it says their ankle clasp restricted their movement so they could only take tiny steps when they walked. How ironic the things that we think are important and will bring meaning to our lives will only hold us back. How many people go in debt thinking that a house or car or even changing their appearance will bring them happiness only to realize that instead of happiness they are only being restricted in their life?

Isaiah list 21 items they had all in an attempt to show that they were beautiful and that they were important. Isaiah is warning them that everything that they think makes them beautiful God is going to take it away from them. Does your identity rely on what accessories you wear? Does your identity rely on what car you drive? House you live in? What if all of those things are taken away? Would knowing who your are in Christ be enough?

These women that Isaiah mentions will be carted off as slaves and humiliated and the ones who are left will be begging for a husband to restore their dignity. The ones that will be carted off will have a brand scared into their faces showing that they are slaves. The beauty they long to have will be scared and the things they thought made them feel superior will be taken away.  When you get tricked into putting your hope, joy and peace into things of this world you will be let down but when your hope is in God then you will never be let down.


Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

When we focus on ourselves it will cause us to demand our rights but not the rights of others. When we are focused on ourselves we demand our way at the expense of others not getting what they want. When we are focused on ourselves we take away from pointing people to Jesus because we have made it all about us. Our society is about exalting ourselves where God wants us to exalt Him by lowering ourselves.


Matthew 23:11-12 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

We are not to think less of ourselves we are just called to think of ourselves less. Self -demeaning is not what the Bible is talking about it is about viewing others as more important and placing their needs above your own. We are created in the image of God as well and when we try and make ourselves into something so that world thinks we are important than we are denying what God created you to be. We all have things we wish were different about our bodies, our hair, strength etc. but the reality is those things do not define us our relationship with God does. We need to empty our lives of thinking about ourselves and focus more on God and others.


Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

When every sentence out of your mouth begins with “I” or “Me” you just might be full of yourself.


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Isaiah 3:8- 12 Sin will destroy a nation

Isaiah tells them the nation is getting ready to fall and the reason is because of the sins they are continuing to do. I cannot repeat myself enough that these are church people who are tithing, worshiping God but whose lives are not honoring to God by how they are treating their fellow man.

Not only are they living lives unpleasing to God their worship has also mixed in other religious practices and other gods that go against how God commanded them to worship.

Sin is anything that goes against the nature and character of God. Our society wants to define right and wrong based on our own standards but it is God who establishes what is and what is not a right and wrong based on His Character and Holiness. Our society does not like the word sin and so we call things mistakes or bad habits instead of calling them what God calls them which is sin. Although we like to define what is and what is not a sin in our own life we know what is a sin when someone does it against us. If someone steals from us we say it is wrong but if they say they were stealing because they were hungry then they may say it is not a sin. The reason we cannot leave it up to us individually or even as a nation is because our standards of right and wrong change depending on the situation. With God was right and what is wrong are consistent for all of eternity.

One of the proofs that there is a God or Creator of the Universe is because we know lying, stealing, killing and cheating are wrong. How could a world that came from evolution have so many people who believe that murder is wrong? Because we are made in God’s image He implanted in us His moral code although many times we ignore it. If it is really left up to the individual or to a nation what is right and wrong then people like Hitler would not be wrong. They are wrong because right and wrong are based on God and God alone not on the individual, the nation or the time period we live in.

God establishes what is right and what is a sin and we do not get to pick and choose, but pick and choose is exactly what was happening in Isaiah’s day and pick and choose what is a sin is happening in our world as well.

Isaiah 3:8 For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen, because their speech and their deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence.[d]

1)   Sin is destructive

“Jerusalem has stumbled and Judah has fallen”

Most people will not see how destructive a sin is until it is too late. The problems we have in every area of life are because of sin which ultimately is because of selfishness or living for self instead of living for God. Stumble is a term used to describe someone who was so badly wounded that they began to fall down from their injuries. If you picture some of the old movies when someone gets shot and they slowly die because of their wounds. The Bible is clear what the consequences of sin are.

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

Sin is destructive but because we do not always experience its destruction right away we tend to keep on sinning thinking that sin does not affect us. Adam and Eve were told the same lie when they were told you will not die by the serpent, a lie many of us are told when we give into the temptations of sin. The first consequence of sin of course is our separation from God which we all suffered when Adam and Eve sinned but we also suffer consequences of sin by the destruction it causes in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. The way Isaiah wrote it was as if it already took place even though it would take place in the future. God can see the final outcome of our sins and actions and what many people think is God trying to keep them from fun is really God trying to keep them from destruction.

Christians are called to confront sin, (Matthew 18) Restore people from sin (Galatians 6) and even turn them over to Satan in hopes of their soul being saved(1 Corinthians 5). We are not to take sin lightly because it took Jesus dying for our sins in order for us to be in a right relationship with God.

“Defying His Glorious Presence”

God who had revealed Himself to His people was purposely being ignored and they were worshiping Him how they wanted and they were calling sins not by Gods standard but their own. Sin goes against God and so when we sin, even if we think we are not hurting anyone, is really against God.

1 Peter 1:14-15 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.”

We have a tendency to put God on our human level instead of seeing God as Holy and perfect something we probably cannot fully understand this side of Heaven. We ignore that God has revealed His Glorious presence in His word (The Bible) and shows us the standard by which we should live.  We do not see God for who He is but when we do we will have the same reaction that  Isaiah did in chapter six when Isaiah cries out in fear because He sees God as He is in a vision God gives him. Holy, Holy, Holy is how God is described but Isaiah also saw himself the way God sees him which is an unclean man. As Children of God we should not be openly refusing to obey God and what He has clearly said in His word even when the world tries to change God’s standard of Holiness.

Isaiah 3:9 -12 For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves. 10 Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. 11 Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him. 12 My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up[e] the course of your paths.

2)   Sin will become commonplace

“They do not hide it”

Their sin was done in public for all to see and so Isaiah compares them to Sodom which is one of the cities God destroyed for their sins (Gen 18-19)

Jeremiah 6:15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the Lord.

They have forgotten how to blush meaning their sin is no longer is an embarrassment to them. You can sin to a point that you are no longer embarrassed by what you are doing. There are many sins in our nation that a decade ago would have been an embarrassment to people but now they are done publicly as if they are normal behavior. The people will bring punishment on themselves because they have allowed these sins to continue and they will be punished because of the consequences of the sins and also when they stand before God.

“Woe to the wicked for what they have dealt out will be paid back to them “

One of the things we are guaranteed in this life is that God sees all that is going on. So many times life seems unfair and it seems that the wicked are prospering and getting away with their treatment of others. Many in our society see people in politics and wonder why they are not in jail but whether or not they are held accountable for their wrongs on earth they will give an account before God.

Hebrews 4:13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Just like in Isaiah day there were innocent people being hurt by the sins of others but we can rest knowing that God saw it and no one is getting away with anything. This does not mean there is not grace because anyone who surrenders to Jesus Christ will receive full forgiveness of their sins no matter how bad they are. The women who were ruling were evil women like Jezebel in the North (1 Kings 18) and Athaliah in the south (2 Kings 11). Isaiah wanted the people to know that God will pay them back for all the evil they had done.

“Your guides have misled you and swallowed up your paths.”

Isaiah felt sorry for them because he said “My People” because those who should have known the way and have confused the path or made the path unknowable. We are seeing this in our churches when so called Christian leaders are not teaching what God has commanded but are confusing people so they do not even know where to go for the truth. Just because someone has the title pastor does not mean they are leading you the right way. The Apostle Paul addressed a man in the book of Acts and accused him of leading people away from God.


Acts 13:8-10  But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?

(Jesus warned us about false teachers and prophets in Matthew 7:15; 24:11; 24:24

You may like the preacher or teacher but you still have to check to make sure they are not leading you down a path that is not of God especially when they longer call sin what God calls sin.

3)   We must avoid sin

(vs10) Tell the righteous it will be well with them.

It must have been discouraging for those who were trying to live for God to suffer consequences because of the sins of others. God wanted the righteous to know that they will be rewarded for how they lived in this life in the life to come. It is easy when it seems that everyone is getting away with stealing to steal and it is easy when it seems that everyone is cheating to cheat, but God calls us to a different standard and that is to not give into the sins of the world.

Some of the rewards we are promised are found in Matthew 5:12 which says we will be rewarded if we are persecuted for living Christ. Matthew 5:46 which says we will be rewarded for loving the unlovely and Matthew 6 tells us we will be rewarded for giving, praying and fasting in private.

Hebrews 6:10  For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.

One day we will stand before God and everything we did that no one even knows about is seen by Him whether good or bad. Our sins will be forgiven but what we take into eternity will be the things God rewards us for sacrificing here on earth.

Matthew 7:13-14 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

We need to lead people to the truth by staying on the path of righteousness and showing them that they are believing a lie because many false teachers are making it difficult for people to see which way leads them to God. People need to hear and see the truth because many people are on the path to destruction and they do not even know it. Many people are so engrossed in their sins they cannot see that it is destroying them and the country they live in.

We have to be here for people to not just tell them the truth but to walk with them as they overcome the hurt and pain that sin has caused. Our nation will be destroyed because of sin but we are called to be the ones who live in this world showing people the truth. May our lives be lived in such a way that people know who they can go to when they realize they are living a lie.


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Isaiah 3:1-7 The Absence of Leadership

Leadership is something we are all supposed to do in this world but in today’s passage we will see what happens to a nation when people fail to lead. To lead just means to guide on a way especially by going in advance. People are looking for leaders and sometimes people follow the wrong people simply because they believe any direction, even if wrong, is better than no direction. Isaiah is going to tell them that God is going to remove their leaders from them which will create a leadership void and then chaos in their country.

Isaiah 3:1-4 For behold, the Lord God of hosts is taking away from Jerusalem and from Judah
support and supply,[a] all support of bread, and all support of water;the mighty man and the soldier, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder,the captain of fifty and the man of rank, the counselor and the skillful magician and the expert in charms. And I will make boys their princes,
and infants[b] shall rule over them.

1)   Good Leaders were taken away

The people relied and had confidence in their leadership to the point they no longer turned to God for their needs. We have to be careful whether as a nation or as a church when we put more hope in our leaders than we do in our God. God is going to take away their leaders no matter if they are good or bad so that they are directionless and that will leave them longing for water and the food which they have depended on the government to supply for them.  God is in control of this and the leaders will be killed or taken away in war which is what invading nations would do to thwart any attempt at a rebellion.

God is going to replace these leaders with children meaning people who will act foolishly in their leadership. The Leaders that will take their place will be immature, unwise, strong willed, irresponsible and only thinking of themselves.  Gods Point in doing this is to show them how their trust in governing officials is futile when they should have had their hope in Him.

In America we tend to place our hope and trust on who is in office rather than placing our hope and trust in Him alone. We should never fear who is in office because our ultimate hope is in God but I listen to many Christians who get upset by the elections because they have placed their trust in an elected official instead of God.

Isaiah 3:5 And the people will oppress one another, everyone his fellow and everyone his neighbor;
the youth will be insolent to the elder, and the despised to the honorable.

2)   Good Leaders were mocked

Not only will there be a leadership void but those who are leaders will not be respected by the younger generation and will the younger generation will ridicule them. Anarchy will take place and people will turn on each other because with lack of leadership and structure chaos always follows.

We are beginning to see this in our country where there is no more respect for those in authority and no respect for the elderly. Our leaders are being bashed on television shows, the radio and social media and people have lost all respect for those who are in positions of authority.

As Christians we have to be careful that we do not act like the world and demean and belittle those who are in positions of authority. We can disagree with a leaders stance on an issue but we should never disrespect the person and demean them.

1 Peter 2:13-17  Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution,[b] whether it be to the emperor[c] as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants[d] of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Our trust should be in God but our respect should be given to those in authority. We give honor of the position not of the actions they may have been a part of or the way they believe. We can disagree with them politically but we should talk about them as fellow human beings made in the image of God.

Christians should not follow the pattern of the world with how we talk about politicians, teachers, coaches and bosses.

1 Peter 1:14-16 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.”

Isaiah 3:6-7 For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: “You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule”; in that day he will speak out, saying: “I will not be a healer;[c] in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me  leader of the people.”

3)    Good Leaders would not lead

Because of the leadership void people will be looking for someone to bring about structure to help them cope with the mess that their nation has become. Isaiah says that leadership will be determined by whoever has a coat meaning that anyone that seems to have any leadership will be sought after to do something. Some will be asked to be leaders simply by their appearance because they have a coat. But even those who could lead will not because they do not think they can fix all the destruction that has taken place. Isaiah calls it a heap of ruins because it will be so bad that it will look like a garbage dump. Not only will it be difficult to fix the mess but they did not want to lead because they will be criticized and ignored. But when leaders do not lead innocent people get hurt because “People oppress one another”

“This can even happen today, for when godly people fail to step into positions of leadership, then people with poor leadership or questionable moral qualifications get appointed or elected to positions of responsibility.” (The New American Commentary, Gary V. Smith, Pg 147)

We are not called as Christians to shrink back from making an impact on our world no matter how bad our world becomes. There will be a cost to leading but the world cannot afford for us not to lead with the values and truth that we have in Jesus Christ. If we do not lead then innocent people will suffer and God has left us on the earth to be there when people’s worlds get turned upside down. Nehemiah has had books written about him, other than the one in the Bible, because of his leadership when the walls were torn down. Leading when it is a mess is not easy and you will have people who come against you but the reality is we are called to lead.

4)   Good Leaders Bring Healing

“I will not be a healer” “I cannot bind wounds” “I have no remedy” are the terms that are used by those who did not want to lead. The reason they said that is because leaders bring healing. We live in a broken world that is looking for answers. Because of the treatment of leaders many people refuse to step into a role that will bring criticism and suffering but because they avoid criticism they also keep from bringing solutions to people’s problems. As Christians we are called to step out of our comfort zone and sacrifice for the sake of others. We are called to lead and to bring healing to a world that is a mess and the only way we can do that is to get involved. In politics we need leaders who will bring remedies. In Business we need leaders who will bring Healing. In Churches we need leaders who will bind up wounds. In our Homes we need leaders who will bring healing and train our children to be leaders.

Unfortunately like in Isaiah’s day people will see the mess and think that there is nothing they can do about it and therefore sit back and do nothing. God has us here for a reason and we can complain about the mess or we can lead and do something about it.

“Leadership is about people who choose to make a difference. It often is not flamboyant, and it usually doesn’t involve spellbinding speeches or dramatic actions. If you make the place where you live, work, study, and worship better, then you are a leader. (Spiritual Leadership, Henry and Richard Blackaby)

Don’t make being a leader more difficult than it needs to because the main thing in being a spiritual leader is being obedient to the call of God on your life by submitting your heart soul and mind to Him. (Matthew 22:37)

“Why did God place me in this city? Why did I choose a house in this neighborhood? What did God know this area needed when He led me here? Wherever you live, you can better your community and glorify God in doing so. “(God in the Market Place, Henry and Richard Blackaby, Pg. 226)

If we want to impact the world we just need to live our lives for Him.  God in His sovereignty placed you where you are for a reason. It may look like a mistake to you but God orchestrated your life to make an impact on those you are around.  The advice God gave His children when they were in captivity still applies to us today.

Jeremiah 29:5-7 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.

We have to maintain an outward focus as a church and as Christians because we do not exist for ourselves. Live your life to Glorify God and pray for your neighborhood, your city and your country.  How much change would happen if Christians prayed for their rulers as much as they complained about them?

1 Timothy 2:1-4 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

What is one thing you can change this week to be a better leader where God has placed you?

If people are following you where would they end up?


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Isaiah 2:9-22 The Fate of the Proud

Pride is one of those things that we all have even if we do not admit it. We can tell we are proud people when we get mad when things do not go our way or if we get upset when someone points out a flaw in our life. Pride is what keeps people from coming to God realizing that we cannot save ourselves and we must humbly ask God for salvation through Jesus Christ. (Acts 16:31)

Even as Christ followers we must humble ourselves before God as we submit to His ways. Pride says I do not need to deny myself (Luke 9:23) and that the way I follow God is up to me and not up to Him.

Proud: having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance:

The problem with man is that we think we know better than God and this is why we do not humble ourselves and call sin what God calls sin. It was the people in Isaiah’s day that said they could worship God however they wanted as long as they were worshiping Him even though they were mixing in other religions into their worship. It is our pride that keeps us from doing the commands of God when He ask us to forgive or surrender an area of our lives. Sin is more than not doing things its ignoring the things that God has told you to do. Isaiah is warning them what is going to happen to them if they do not humble themselves and it is a warning we all should be aware of.

 Isaiah 2:9- So man is humbled, and each one is brought low-do  not forgive them!

 1) The Proud Will Be Humbled

The people thought they were on good terms with God but instead of “Walking in the light of the Lord” which simply means to obey His commands they picked and chose what they wanted to obey. To say things like “this is how I want to worship God” is arrogant and prideful instead of meeting God on His terms. When Jesus says He is the only way to God (John 14:6) it is arrogant to say that you can get to God however you want. Either Jesus is the way or He is a liar. Either Jesus is the way and all other religions are wrong or another religion is the way and Christianity is wrong. You cannot make up how you want to get to God and Jesus made it clear that He is the only way.

We also cannot determine how we choose to worship God or the things we seek out to discover Gods will for our lives.  Bethel Church in California is practicing something very similar to tarot cards which they call destiny cards. They say that it is not unbiblical and they even use the Apostle Paul as an example when he was sharing his faith on Mars Hill. (Acts 17) The problem with these things is they are forbidden by God. (Luke 19:31) God is a relational God and we are to go to Him and Him alone as He communicates to us through His word (The Bible) and through His Spirit which He gives us. God told us to have faith in Him but we have faith in other things and ourselves because our pride wants to determine what we actually do and because we want to be in control we want to know the future. We have to be careful that in our pride we are not allowing things into our lives that the Bible and even other Christians are warning us about. We need to humble ourselves under God and see if there is something we need to change.

The nation and especially King Uzziah were very arrogant with their accomplishments but Isaiah is warning them that a day is coming when forgiveness will no longer be possible. They thought their actions did not deserve punishment but Isaiah is showing them they do. They did not realize how proud and arrogant they had become by their own accomplishments and they no longer relied on God.

James 4:6-10 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

You do not have to be humbled by God because you can humble yourself by reading His word and submitting to what He says.

Isaiah 2:10-21 Enter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty.11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. 12 For the Lord of hosts has a day against all that is proud and lofty, against all that is lifted up—and it shall be brought low; 13 against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and lifted up; and against all the oaks of Bashan; 14 against all the lofty mountains, and against all the uplifted hills; 15 against every high tower, and against every fortified wall;16 against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all the beautiful craft. 17 And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. 18 And the idols shall utterly pass away. 19 And people shall enter the caves of the rocks and the holes of the ground,[a]from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.20 In that day mankind will cast away their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, to the moles and to the bats,21 to enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs, from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to terrify the earth.

2) The Proud Will Hide from Jesus

Verse tens says they will “Enter into the rock and hide”. Verse nineteen says,” And the people will enter caves and holes in the ground” and verse twenty one says “Enter the caverns of the rocks and the clefts of the cliffs”.  When Jesus shows up those with Pride will run away and Hide because of His majesty and Glory.

I would say most of us look forward to Jesus return especially when we are having a bad day or simply because we know this is not our home. Prideful people do not look forward to Jesus return because they want to be God of their own lives.  The book of Revelation shows a similar picture when the prideful will do the very things that Isaiah is talking about his people doing.

Revelation 6:15-17 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave[d] and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

God’s splendor will be on display and those who are prideful will try and hide while others will humble themselves before God and acknowledge Him.  Of course no one can escape God yet they will make a futile attempt to pray to the mountain to fall on them.  A day I look forward to many people will dread because they chose not to humble themselves before God through Jesus Christ.


Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a] who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

If Jesus humbled and accepted the will of God for His life then we as followers of His should do the same. We must change our mindset that we are in charge of our own lives because we cannot even control when we will pass from this life to the next.

3) The Proud Will See The Worthlessness of their Idols

They worshiped their structures and their military along with other things they looked to instead of looking to God. An Idol is anything you seek out instead of turning to God. Many times we think of how crazy it is for people to worship images they have made but some people turn to food, alcohol or drugs as their god to get through the day. Some people worship fame or fortune thinking that those things can bring them happiness and fulfillment. God will destroy all the things that people put their hope and trust in and they will see the worthlessness of them all when Jesus shows up again.

High Towers, Fortified walls, and ships were all the things the nation put their hope in and they will be destroyed. The things Isaiah mentions represent strength, beauty, independence and self-sufficiency from God and the things they put their hope in they will throw them to moles and bats.

Philippians 3:8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.

The Apostle Paul said everything was garbage compared to a relationship with Christ. Many people talk about Jesus for what He can do for you like giving you peace and prosperity but Paul talked about Jesus relationally. When you turn to Jesus for the stuff then you miss out on why He died for our sins and rose again from the dead. Jesus came to earth so that we could be back in a right relationship with God the way it was in the Garden of Eden before sin entered the world. Yes there will still be sin on the earth but a day is promised that we will one day be back in a right relationship with God for all of eternity or at least those who put their hope and trust in Christ.

Isaiah 2:22 Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?

4) The Proud see man as the ultimate authority.

We make ourselves gods by making ourselves the center of the universe. We make ourselves god when we give ourselves center stage and by glorifying our importance. We make ourselves gods when we measure everything by how it affects us. Even if we do not make ourselves the final authority we have a tendency to care more about what people think than what God thinks. We put our trust in people more than seeking out God and how He wants us to live.

“I don’t want anybody telling me how to think is really the motto in Western education today.” Ravi Zacharias

Humanism is the separation from the supernatural therefore leaving God out of everything. We may not agree with that but we all tend to separate God into a religious section of our lives by excluding Him from our social or business life. We are proud people and we do not want to look foolish so we trust in the ways of man more than the ways of God but one day we will see how worthless the idols that we worshiped and put our trust in really are when we see God face to face.

Every one of the listeners of Isaiah’s day had to make a decision, “am I going to listen to man or to God” and each one of us has to make that same decision.

Philippians 2:9-11 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

We can humble ourselves now before the Lord (James 4:10) or we will be humbled before the Lord. We will always see others as needing humbling more than ourselves but we must remember we all tend to be proud and rely on our own wisdom or the wisdom of man rather than the ways of God. God is calling us to not put our trust in the things of this world but in Him. (Relational) What things are you turning to instead of turning to Him? (Idols) Whose wisdom are you relying on to make decisions?

How meaningless our concerns of life will be when we see His Glory and Majesty.

 Both Man and Idols will be a bust because only in God can I place my trust.

So I humble myself and take a knee for He is the one who deserves the Glory.


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Isaiah 2:1-8 Begin with the end in Mind

Whenever you are trying to accomplish something in life whether it is getting a degree, losing weight or starting a business people always tell you to have a picture of what the end result will be. It is having the end in mind that keeps you focused on why you are doing what you are doing in the first place. All the things you are giving up for a time along with the pain and struggles of achieving anything can only be met when you know that there is an end in mind. God, throughout scripture, continually reminds us of what the end will be and Isaiah reminds the people that a day is coming when Christ will judge the world. We all have a final destination in this world and that means that all people have to make a decision as to who they should live for as well as what should be a priority in this life. If we are to live as Christ followers in a fallen world then we have to keep the end in mind. The Prophet Isaiah was calling on people to heed this call and they did not pay attention. Let’s not be like the people in Isaiah’s day and ignore the warnings from God.

Isaiah 2:1- 4 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

1)   The End will include all nations

God will one day transform the world by His presence and it will include people from all walks of life. One of the things that separates the God of Christianity from all other gods is that God is relational. From the beginning of Genesis to all of eternity God reveals Himself as personally involved in the life of His creation. If you study other religions you will see that the Eastern religions do not have you ending with a personal relationship with God and even Islam does not believe you will be with Allah.

The fact that other nations would be with God for all eternity was a shocking statement to the people as they thought that they had a special relationship with God that no one else would enjoy.

Our focus should always be for the entire world and not just the little section we live in. Americans tend to think “Americany” meaning that the rest of the world is seen by our world view. We need to have a global mindset that God is doing things worldwide to reach people and bring them into a relationship with Himself. (John 3:16) Jesus words must be kept in front of us as His disciples that we should care for every nation and our concern should be for all people no matter what color they are or language they speak.

Matthew 28:19-20  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] 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.”

Isaiah is showing them that in the future that these nations, that they thought would be separated from God, would actually be the ones who are listening to His commands and worshiping Him. Isaiah goes on to tell them that one day even the people they  have been to war with will one day put away their weapons and live at peace with each other at the throne of God. This does not mean that everyone is saved because only those who give their lives to Christ can be saved. (Acts 16:31)

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

Isaiah 2:5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord

2)   The End should change our behavior

If you want to get in shape physically you have to make changes in your diet and exercise. If you want to get a degree you have to change your study habits and priorities because whatever your end goal is it will require actions you need to do and some that you need to stop doing. God is showing us the end and what our priorities should be so we do not waste our lives on unimportant things.

“My Today determines My Tomorrow” Dr. Jay Strack.

Everyone has a world view and a Christian’s world view tells us how we got here, what our purpose is and where we are going after we die. Because we know we will see God when we die we live in a way that is pleasing to Him. To walk “in the light of the Lord” meant that you would obey His commands. Do you live each day as if it matters to the Lord? If not you may be living a life that you will regret one day as you stand before God and realize how many things were not important to Him.

I am speaking mainly to people who are Christ followers because those who are not the wrath of God remains on them and they will be separated from Him forever. (John 3:36) For those who do not know the Lord their destiny is separation from God but for those of us who live for the Lord there will be rewards for the things we have done while on earth.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

The Foundation is Christ and there is no other way we can stand before God by our own good works. (Ephesians 2:8-9) As people that have been made right with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are going to be judged on what we did after we have been given a new life. God is a gracious and loving Father and He not only gives us eternal life that we do not deserve but He is also going to give us rewards for the things we did for His Glory. These rewards will be with us for all eternity but the only things that will last are the things that pass through God’s flames of judgement. To make sure we are clear this is not about salvation but about what God will reward us with when we sacrifice things in this life.

What will God judge?  Our thoughts will be judged (Hebrews 4:12-13) our words will be judged (Matthew 12:36; Luke 12:2) and our motives will be judged (1 Corinthians 4:3-5)

What will God reward? Matthew 6 says that we will be rewarded for praying and fasting. Matthew 19 says that we will be paid back one hundred times for the things we gave up on earth. Matthew 25 talks about how Christ will reward us for what we have done. Everything we do is made acceptable through Christ but He will still reward us for the things done in the body. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Isaiah 2:6- For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners. Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots. Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made.

3)   The End will not be as some had hoped

Isaiah began by promising the people the good things that will happen at the end but then he turned to show them that they are not living in a way to say they believe this to be true. Isaiah says, “You have rejected your people” Why would God reject people that are making sacrifices to Him and worshiping Him at the Temple? Their worship was a combination of how God told them to worship along with the pagan practices from other religions. (2:6) They focused on and depended on their wealth instead of focusing and depending on God (2:7) They relied on the security of a Large Army instead of trusting in God (2:7) They Worshiped Idols instead of God alone (2:8)

The mixing in of other religious practices into their worship was corrupting their worship but the same thing is happening in American churches.

“Over the past 20 years we have seen the nation’s theological views slowly become less aligned with the Bible. Americans still revere the Bible and like to think of themselves as Bible-believing people, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Christians have increasingly been adopting spiritual views that come from Islam, Wicca, secular humanism, the eastern religions and other sources. Because we remain a largely Bible-illiterate society, few are alarmed or even aware of the slide toward syncretism – a belief system that blindly combines beliefs from many different faith perspectives.” (George Barna from

Just like the people in Isaiah’s day we are seeing more and more American Christians allow other religions to become a part of what they believe and part of their worship. Because they do not know Gods word their worship is corrupted and worthless.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering,[a] anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

Wanting to know the future is tempting but the reality is if we knew the future we would not rely on God. God is a relational God and He wants His children to walk and talk with Him daily. When we try and figure things out on our own we are telling God that we do not trust Him with our future. What God finds acceptable in a Christians life can only be pleasing to God when we walk by faith. (Hebrews 11:6) Our need to be god of our lives and in control of our circumstances tempts us to look to other things to control our environment and future.

They were focused on their wealth.  Because of their wealth and the blessings of God they no longer looked to God for their provisions.  In America there is a tendency for even Christians to worry more about the things of this world rather than trusting God with our daily needs. We need to make sure we depend on the Giver and not the gifts that we think we can obtain without God.

Deuteronomy 8:10-14 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

The word Idol means nothing or worthless. In America we bow down to many worthless things like Sports, Cars, and Houses that can become Idols when we think by them we will have an abundant life. The Abundant Life (John 10:10) is not found in those things because they will not last but we spend a lot of time, energy and we sacrifice ourselves for them. You may not see them as an idol because you only concept of idol is something you worship but if you cannot give up the gifts of God then it has become an idol in your life. Mark 10 tells of a rich young man who would not part with his wealth because he thought that was the thing that would give him life. When asked to give it up and follow Jesus he simply walked away sad. His idol was his wealth and he did everything he could to keep it. Most of the things we make idols are perishable things yet we continue to bow down to them and worship them thinking they will bring us significance.

Matthew 16:26  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Every generation has difficulty fully trusting in God for every area of their lives but God is calling us to put our hope and trust in Him not just for salvation but our daily needs as well. We can trust in God because He already knows the end and we can trust Him to work in and through our lives to accomplish things that go beyond our understanding. Live with the end in mind and let it change your life and your priorities. What have you made an idol that you worship more than God? Do you believe God is going to reward you for the things you have done on the earth? When you put your trust and hope in Him you will see that the things of this world will one day be gone but the things we do for Him and for His glory will last forever.


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Isaiah 1:21-31 The Hand of God

When people think of God they have many views of God from a loving grandfather to an evil taskmaster. Many people do not get these views of God from what the Bible reveals about God but from either parts of scripture or their own concept of what they think God is like. Jesus tells us that God is a loving father (Matthew 6:9) which was not the idea of those in Jesus day. Because God loves us some people leave out that God is also a God who disciplines and punishes. Some have even written books on how because of Jesus you will not face any punishment for any sin you have done. Yes for those who accept Christ God removes His wrath (Romans 8:1) but as a loving Father He will still discipline His children.  We will be talking about the Hand of God and the reason is because God is going to discipline and punish people depending on His relationship with them.  Our culture does not like to talk about a God who punishes but the Bible teaches it and we will see today that the people will have a warning if they choose to repent.

Read Isaiah 1:21-23 How the faithful city has become a whore,[a]she who was full of justice! Righteousness lodged in her, but now murderers. 22 Your silver has become dross, your best wine mixed with water.23 Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not bring justice to the fatherless, and the widow’s cause does not come to them.

1)   The Hand of God is against Corruption

Most of us would agree that God is against things that we call corruption like politicians who lie and get away with it or people who murder or steal, but God is calling out corruption in people who think their lives are decent. Isaiah says they went “From Faithful to Un-faithful”. The first thing we notice is that in God’s eyes they have abandoned the relationship. Again, they did not see it that way because they did not see their actions as being detrimental to the relationship. God is not up in Heaven waiting for people to arrive He is actively participating in the world He created but also with humanity who He has made a way to be back in a relationship with. This is one area that separates Christianity from all other religions because when we die we do not just get Heaven we get God. My mom has moved several times and when I go and visit her I am not visiting her because of the house I want to be where my mom is. The God of the Bible is a relational God who longs for a marriage type relationship with His creation.

Revelation 19:7-9 and Isaiah 54:5 are two examples where we are called the bride and God is the groom. There is no more intimate relationship that can take place between humans than for a man and a woman to give of themselves fully to each other in marriage. God calls them a runaway wife who is no longer faithful to the one she was committed to.

Isaiah then says they went from Justice to poor treatment of people. How they were treating people went against just basic human concern.  It was all about their gain without any thought of how they were exploiting people to make their lives easier. To drive the point home Isaiah says that they are Silver that has become dross and they are wine mixed with water. Isaiah is telling them they went from being valuable to something that was worthless. It may have still looked like silver and it may have looked like wine but it was worthless. Many church goers look like Christians but they have been so corrupted by the world that they are worthless. We are here to be salt and light to the world to point them to Jesus but when we have become just like the world we have nothing to offer the world that needs the truth not only told to them but lived out in front of them.

Matthew 5:13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

We can complain about the way the world is going but we as Christians are the ones who preserve society from rotting but when we become more like the world then we are the ones to blame because we are useless to a society that so desperately needs us. Isaiah calls them Lovers of money because they did not care about the orphans or the widows who suffered because of the people that took advantage of them and the money they kept for themselves.

Isaiah 1:24- 26 Therefore the Lord declares, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: “Ah, I will get relief from my enemies and avenge myself on my foes. 25 I will turn my hand against you and will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy. 26 And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”

2)   The Hand of God is for Cleaning

God calls them enemies which would have been shocking since they were considered the chosen nation of God.  God is letting them know that he is going to treat them like His enemies because the way they are acting is not any different than those who reject God. Most people do not see themselves as enemies of God and many believe that everyone is accepted by God but that is not what the Bible teaches.

Romans 5:10-11  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.

For people to go from being an enemy of God to His child than reconciliation has to take place. Many think that God loves them just how they are but if God could love us just how we are then Christ died for nothing. God does not overlook sin He did something about it and a cleaning has to take place in our lives in order for us to stand before a Holy God. Lye was a strong solution for cleaning and we must be cleaned in order to be in relationship with God. This is something God has to do in you and for you because you cannot do it yourself and Isaiah even says that ,”God will make you into a righteous city.” You cannot earn favor with God by your own actions and your own effort it has to be something that is done to you by Him.

“I will turn my hand against you

The first way God turns His hand against us is in discipline like a loving parent.

Hebrews 12:5-8,11 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

God will discipline His own children if they continue to do things that go against His will. His goal is not to hurt you but to remove the sinful habits in your life that are actually hurting yourself and your witness to others. If you are walking away from God and you have not experienced any discipline then you might want to ask if you really belong to Him. Some of us wonder why God does not act against some of the people in our world and the simple answer is that they do not belong to Him. God will discipline His children because they belong to Him just like we discipline our children and not our neighbor’s child. (Although we want to) To avoid Gods hand of discipline we need to discipline ourselves.

2 Peter 1:5-9 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,[e] and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities[f] are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

One of the  ways you discipline yourself is by seeing yourself the way God sees you. Imagine you have a brand new outfit, you would not work in the yard in that outfit you get clothes that are older or that can be ruined. When we see ourselves as dirty and grungy then we tend to engage in activities that are fitting to how we perceive ourselves.  Satan wants you to see yourself as being in the dirty clothes but God wants you to realize that He has made you something new and so He wants you to act according to who you are. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Isaiah 1:27-31 Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness.28 But rebels and sinners shall be broken together, and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.29 For they[e] shall be ashamed of the oaks  that you desired; and you shall blush for the gardens that you have chosen. 30 For you shall be like an oak whose leaf withers, and like a garden without water. 31 And the strong shall become tinder, and his work a spark, and both of them shall burn together, with none to quench them.

3)   Receiving The Hand of God is a Choice you make

Those who repent will be redeemed, which means bought back, by righteousness. Again the terminology is that we are separated from God and we have to be restored. God is the one who purchases us back. (1 Corinthians 6:20) But those who rebel will be broken, which means they will Perish. This is not a popular idea that God would cast people away from Himself but since the point of God buying us back is to have a relationship with Him why would people want to be with Him for all eternity? Scripture repeatedly talks about Gods wrath so we cannot ignore that truth. (John 3:36; Romans 2:5, 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9)

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Only through what Jesus did on the cross for us can the wrath of God be removed from us. We cannot stand before God by our actions no matter how good we think they are  but only by the actions of Jesus who died on the cross for us.

Malachi 3:2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap. 

Isaiah says that they will be ashamed.  The people were worshiping other gods and they were gods that were represented in trees in a forest. They were seeking power from the trees instead of going to God for their strength. We all have a tendency to go to other gods even though it really is embarrassing when you think about it. As a glutton I have a tendency to go to food for comfort. Think of how sick that really is and how embarrassing that is that I go to food instead of going to God. Some of them were worshiping these gods in private where they thought no one would ever know but they will be revealed and they will blush when they realize God sees all that they did. Numbers 32:23 says your sins will find you out and as we talked about last week sins are leading you down a path you do not want to go. If they are not exposed on earth they will be exposed before God when we stand before Him. Christians will not have their sins exposed (Romans 8:1) they will only take with them into eternity the things they did for God. (1 Corinthians 3)

The ways of the world seem to bring life and pleasure for a time but they will eventually leave you dry and destroyed. Isaiah says these things will not make it and they will add to the eternal fire. Hollywood should show us that money and popularity are not enough to fulfill us as we watch them longing for something more while at the same time rejecting God. We tend to see people in the world and think that if we get some of the same things as them that we will be fulfilled.


Jeremiah 2:13 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 worship of false gods will make one feel foolish on the day they stand before the living God because only God can give life all other things you go after will seem to bring satisfaction but they will not last. In John 14:6 Jesus said He is the life. The only thing that will fulfill your thirst is Christ.

Both of them (the god and the worshiper of the god) shall burn together with none to quench them. The picture is painted of the gods they worshiped being burned up for all eternity with a flame that will not extinguish. This is not popular to talk about but Jesus talked about it to warn us.

Mark 9:45-48 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ (See Also Revelation 19:20; 20:15)

For those who choose not to turn to God then the wrath of God will be on them but for those who are His children Gods Hand of discipline will come when they turn back to the things of the world to fine fulfillment.  For those who do choose the hand of God for salvation you can know that He will guide you for all eternity.

Isaiah 41:13 For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand, it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.”

God wants His people to be pure and faithful to Him. We have to be careful to not allow the things of the world to creep into our lives which will corrupt us. What have you allowed into your life that is corrupting you that is making you worthless to the world? What needs to be cleaned in you? Do you have a relationship with God like a husband to a wife? The things of this world will not only be un- fulfilling to you but they will cause you to be separated from God for all eternity if you stay in your rebellion toward him. The Hand of God is for His wrath to be displayed, for disciplining His children and for reaching down to save us and for never letting us go.



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Isaiah 1:4-20 From Sickness to Health

Have you ever met someone who refused to go to the Doctor even though they are sick? Some people when sick will refuse to go to a Doctor but have no problem going around to other places spreading their germs. What is worse is if someone who is sick that does not know they are sick. Some people have had things like cancer growing in their bodies but they did not feel the effects of it until it was too late.

Isaiah is addressing people who are sick but they do not see themselves as being sick and will not accept his prognosis of their lives.

To go from Sickness to Health

1)   Admit that You are sick

Isaiah 1:4-9 Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord,  they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. 5 Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil.7 Your country lies desolate; your cities are burned with fire; in your very presence foreigners devour your land; it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners. 8 And the daughter of Zion is left like a booth in a vineyard, like a lodge in a cucumber field, like a besieged city. 9 If the Lord of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah.

This was the chosen nation of God that Isaiah was talking to not some rebellious nation that sacrificed their children to idols. In our day we would say these were church going people who were doing some good works and were worshiping God. What they did not realize is that they have allowed sin to corrupt them to the point that they no longer saw the things they were doing as sin. Many times in life we make excuses for what God calls sins. We call them mistakes, bad habits or we even say things like “this is just the way I am” or “this is just how I was raised”.

Isaiah used the terms; Sinful Nation, Evil Doers, Corrupt, Forsaken the Lord, and rejected the Lord to describe who they were. This would have been a shocking revelation to them because they thought they were good people who were on good terms with God. Isaiah then paints a picture of a person who is totally beat up to show how God viewed them. The people were like the Religious leaders of Jesus Day who thought their outward actions covered the fact that they were really dead inside. (Ephesians 2:1)

We do not see the full effect that sin has but from God view sin is like an enemy that has burned the place down and left it destroyed or like a person with untreated oozing sores that are so disgusting that you cannot even look at them.  Sin is so deceptive that we do not see the full outcome of the path it is leading us down. (Proverbs 16:25)

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

In Genesis 3:14 Satan told Adam and Eve that they would not die if they disobeyed God. No one sees the end results of sin like God because God can see from beginning to end. We, like the people Isaiah was addressing, do not see ourselves as that bad but if we do not accept the diagnoses that God says about us then there will be no chance for healing.

Because the people did not listen to Isaiah he tells them they will be like Sodom and Gomorrah. I want you to imagine a prophet walking up to you and accusing you of sins that were taking place in Hollywood or in politics. Many of us can see the wrongs that actors and politicians and how corrupt they are but we cannot see how corrupt we really are.  We tend to think of those places as evil while our own actions are good and we tend to see the sin in others while ignoring it in ourselves.

Matthew 7:3-5 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

When we have the wrong view of sin then we will allow things into our lives that we do not realize are leading us toward death.  We are not good people who need to correct a few things in our lives to be healed we have a terminal illness that has to be miraculously healed.

Isaiah 1:10-15 Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching[b] of our God, you people of Gomorrah! 11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. 12 “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? 13 Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. 14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers,  I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.

2)   Realize you cannot heal yourself

All the religious activities that they were doing meant nothing to God. We live in a society that thinks they can make up for some sins by doing a few good things but a bunch of Sacrifices do not please God when your lifestyle shows no remorse for how you are living and how you are treating people. You cannot give money to a church and give of your time and energy and then live however you want. This was exactly what the people in Isaiah’s time were doing. They felt like since they worshiped and sacrificed how they lived the rest of the week was not important. God was sick of a ritualistic religion that had no heart relationship with God and no change in behavior and Isaiah was letting them know what God thought about their lives.

God told them that “Your Hands are full of Blood” because all of their religious activity did not make up for how they were acting outside of the temple. How they were treating people an how they ran their businesses were all things God hated yet when they came to worship Him they thought they could just do all the religious activities to make up for all the things we have done. The biggest lie people believe is to think that by their works they can please God or make up for the wrongs they have done.


Galatians 2:21 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[a] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

If we could do all the right things to earn Gods favor Christ died for nothing. This is also true for those who believe that all roads lead to God. If all roads lead to God then how cruel that Jesus had to die a gruesome death for our sins for no reason. Christ died as the perfect sacrifice because we could not be in a right relationship with God on our own accord. People do not see how separated from God we really are and that is why they think that they can do a few things to make up for wrong behavior.

Isaiah lets them know that they are so separated from God that He cannot hear their prayers and He will not look upon the worship they were giving to Him. This was a shocking statement then and this is a shocking statement now to be told that God is separated from you. The only reason we can in a right relationship with God is because Jesus did something about our sins. He did not just forgive our sins He paid for them. (Others verses by Grace and not by works Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 11:6; Galatians 2:16)

Isaiah 1:16-17 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,  learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.

3)   Change our ways

Isaiah is now calling on them to change the way they live when he says “Wash Yourselves”.

Although our salvation is through Christ we do take part in the cleansing process in our daily lives.  We are called to get things out of our lives and to also add things to them.

2 Peter 1:5-7 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,[e] and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

We are called to accept the free gift of salvation that is only possible through Christ but then we are asked because of what Christ has done to get rid of things in our lives that are not pleasing to God. If I had heart problems I would go to a heart surgeon and if he fixed the problem then it is up to me to stop eating certain things and then add to my life exercise. Christianity is similar in that we cannot heal ourselves but once we are healed we are told to add things that benefit our calling and to remove things that can damage us. Those who say they are Christians but do not change any of their behaviors that are unpleasing to God have to really search their hearts to see if they are truly Christians. How we live in light of what Christ has done for us shows us how we love Him.

James 2:14,26 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 1  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

You can say you love someone but if your actions do not show love then you do not love them. If you say that you have faith in Jesus but your actions do not change then you do not have faith in Jesus.

Jesus, being The Vine,(John 15:5)  will flow through you to change you to be more like Him. Our part to play in all of this is to get rid of the things that are hindering our growth just like a farmer would remove toxins and weeds and add fertilizer and water.

Hebrews 12:1-2 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, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Sin is a weight that weighs us down or a vine that clings to us and slows us down.  Are there things in your life that are not pleasing to God?  No one says they want  to be controlled by a sin but when those things come into our life and we do not get rid of them they will wrap around us and slowly destroy us. Many addicts did not start off wanting to be addicts instead they thought that the thing they were participating in was under their control until they realized they no longer controlled it but it controls them. Sin is deceptive and will lead you down a path of destruction but will keep you blinded to the destruction it is doing to you.

Read Isaiah 1:18-20 Come now, let us reason[c] together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

4)   Accept the offer to get well

Even though Isaiah said to get rid of those things that were making them sick he also knew that this was not something they could do by themselves. Isaiah did not want to leave the people without hope so he lets them know that they can be back in a right relationship with God because of God. They thought that they were good with God and yet they were told they were like Gomorrah, a pagan city that Gods wrath came against. They thought their religious practices were good and they were told that God hated them. They were told that they had to change their life and discouragement was setting in because they knew in and of themselves they could not change. Isaiah then offers them hope by letting them know how to be in a right relationship with God.

Come Let us Reason”: means to test what is right. You have to decide if you want to take the offer from God that is on the table. You can choose to reject it but you will also be accepting the consequences that will follow. “White as Snow”: God can do what you are incapable of doing.


Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Isaiah was letting them know that this is not something you can do it has to be done to you. God will then remove your sins as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12) God is Holy (v4) and the only way we can be in His presence is if we are Holy and the only way we can be Holy is if He makes us Holy.

In order for us to be in right relationship with God is to have our sins removed and only God could remove it.  If you are willing (19) it is a decision on your part if you want God to restore the relationship with Him.  But if you refuse: the punishment is death (the sword)

Do you think your actions of worship, tithe and service have been enough to please a Holy God? You have to accept the free offer of salvation that is promised through Jesus Christ in order to be made Holy.

The Bad News is you cannot be good enough and the Good News is you cannot be bad enough because Jesus took care of every sin on the cross that was separating you from God. We are sick people who the only cure is through Jesus Christ and to reject that cure is to face separation from God for all eternity.


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Isaiah 1:1-3 Speak the Truth

The book of Isaiah is the second most quoted book in the New Testament only second to the book of Psalms. The Apostle Paul either quoted it or alluded to it 80 times and Jesus quoted Isaiah 42:7,and 16 when He addressed Paul on the Damascus Road.  The Name Isaiah means “The Lord is Salvation”

The book of Isaiah was written about 700 years before Jesus arrived and has many prophecies in it that only Jesus could fulfill perfectly. Isaiah is a book we can learn from because what Isaiah was dealing with in his day is something the church is dealing with today.

There is a lot of talking that takes place in our world and most of what we are hearing either gets drowned out by other distractions or does not really get listened to in the first place. Everyone is talking and no one seems to be listening because there is a battle for our attention which is constantly bombarded with various messages.  Media is constantly fighting for our time and attention but we must know who we are and who we are not going to listen to. Who you listen to is important because when they speak they speak a world philosophy even if it is not something that is outwardly noticeable. Many Athletes and Actors are used to promote products simply because people like them so they believe what they are saying or selling. Who is going to get your attention is big business and unfortunately the church is susceptible to having their attention drawn away by other voices. Isaiah was called to speak during one of these times when people had lost their focus and were being influenced by other people and even other religions.

We have a responsibility to speak the truth to people even if they do not want to hear it. We live in a culture that is trying to redefine truth by saying that truth is not equal. There are many problems with saying that truth is subjective because it means that there really is no truth. If we are going to speak the truth then we must learn from Isaiah to speak the truth to a culture that is making up its own truth.

Read Isaiah 1:1-3 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah. Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth; for the Lord has spoken: “Children[a] have I reared and brought up, but they have rebelled against me.The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know,  my people do not understand.”

1)   The Authority in which we speak

Vision: Divine Revelation from God

The book of Isaiah starts off with the fact that this was not just a man speaking but a man speaking on behalf of God. This means that the words he spoke were not his words but Gods and so the message carried with it the authority of God

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.”

The mistake we make as followers of Christ is when we speak for Christ in our own authority instead of just announcing what He has said. Some of the things that Jesus said are not popular to our culture but our job is to declare what He has said and not how they respond to it. One of the things that is addressed in the book of Isaiah is that so called people of God were seeking other gods for answers. They were going to another authority rather than going to God and Isaiah wanted them to realize that he was not just sharing his opinion but what he was saying was coming directly from God.

One of the issues we are starting to see in our churches is that people are not communicating Gods word as it is written and they are communicating what they want it to say and they are distorting the message. Isaiah communicated Gods message, no matter how difficult and unpopular it was. Isaiah spoke to the righteous King, the wicked King, the proud and the powerful and he rebuked and encouraged knowing he was speaking the words of God. Our words are not our own because we speak on behalf of the authority of Jesus.

2)   The Reason We Speak

“Hear O Heavens! Listen, O earth!” The way it is written shows that God is calling on two witnesses which were required to present a case against someone in court. (Deuteronomy 30:19; 31:28; 32:1 and Psalms 50:4) Every person will be held accountable to God for what they knew about God and for what they could have known about God. Not searching and not listening will not be excuses to be used in order to not be judged by God.

Romans 1:8-21  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

People are suppressing the truth of God and although they may not worshiping golden Idols they have given their lives to other things that demand their time, money and worship. Because of the language that is used some believe it is a court room analogy while others think it is an arraignment before going to court. In an arraignment if the defendant makes a plea deal then they will not stand trial. If we take the analogy that it is before the court case then the reason we speak is to keep people from standing before the judge guilty because once people stand before the judge then the time to repent and make a plea deal is over.

Revelation 20:11-15  Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 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. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Those who have accepted Jesus Christ will not be judged by God because Jesus took the penalty of sin that we owed.  Those who have not accepted Jesus at the arraignment will be judged by all their works and fall short of being allowed into Heaven. I hear many people who tell me that they are ready to stand before God for the good things they have done. What they do not realize is that their actions in and of themselves will never be good enough to overcome the sins they have done. Isaiah says that the people are rebels which mean they have broken a contract with God. The reason we speak is because people do not want to stand before God in the state they are in but they may not realize the severity of their actions.  God is appealing to them through Isaiah to repent and turn back to Him and God wants us to be used by Him to appeal to those around us.

2 Corinthians 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

If we have to be reconciled then that means we are separated from Him which is not something many people believe. Our sins have separated us from a Holy and perfect God who cannot be in the presence of sin. Just because our sins do  not offend us does not mean that they are not offensive to Him.

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.

Just like Isaiah we are the mouth piece of God to speak to a generation of people who have turned from God to worship other things. We are called to tell people that because of the sins in their lives, no matter how big or small they may think they are, that they will face separation from God unless they are reconciled back to Him through Jesus Christ.

3)   The Frustration of Speaking

“My People Do not understand” Isaiah says in verse 3 that even an ox, which could be stubborn, and a donkey, which was considered dumb, would eventually give up their stubbornness and listen to their master for food but the people have not turned back to God. Isaiah wants them to see the correlation between them and their farm animals but he actually calls the farm animals smarter.  We will come frustrated with people at times because it will seem as though they are not listening or do not believe what we are telling them. We must speak the truth in the hopes that they will one day understand.

Ephesians 4:17-19  Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

The more people reject the things of God they more callous they become and the more callous they become the more they do not see that they are stubborn and dumb. Those of you who are waiting to surrender your life to God because you want to live your own life need to realize there may come a point where you no longer hear the voice of God or the drawing of His spirit. (Hebrews 3:15) For those of us who are trying to reach people you have to remember that they are blinded by the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4) and so we have to help guide them home just like we would a stubborn ox or a dumb donkey.  It is a spiritual battle for their souls and we need to have patience and persistence as God is using us in their lives to draw them to Him. People believe many lies about God and it takes time and energy to show them the truth. It is not my job to change someone’s heart but it is my job to speak the truth.

4)   What we Speak

1 Corinthians 15:3-5 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

This is our message to the world; Christ lived, Christ Died, He was buried and He rose again. It’s a simple message but everyone has to do something with the Historical figure named Jesus Christ. Every religion has a statement about what they believe about Jesus and so people believe many things about Him and we have to speak the truth because so many people believe lies about Him. Jesus was God in the flesh who came to pay for sins we could not pay for by being a perfect sacrifice and taking the wrath of God on our behalf. It is the great exchange that Jesus takes our place just like He took Barabbas. (Matthew 27)

But to be true to Christ, they must not dilute their message, whitewash difficult Bible passages, or present Jesus as something He is not. …We dare not change one word of Scripture to make ourselves more comfortable… Scriptures purpose is not to make us more comfortable, but to show us how inadequate and lost we are apart from our Savior and to make us “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15) (The True Jesus, David Limbaugh, Pg. 8-9)

We are God’s Ambassadors to a world that has rebelled against Him and it is our duty to speak the truth in love.  Many people will not understand that they are separated from God and so patience and perseverance will be needed as you speak truth into their lives. God wants to use you in the lives of others so they can hear the truth that they are separated from Him.


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“As the family goes so goes the Nation.” Dr. Gary Chapman

Family is important but who gets to define what family is? In the Lego batman movie they say “Friends are family” In the movie Guardians of the Galaxy 2 they say “We are not friends we are family” There are many people who would say that those closest to them are family and even growing up I remember calling people Uncle and Aunt who were not technically my blood Uncle and Aunt. Although the Bible talks about family and there are many directions you can discuss this topic I want to break it down to three simple categories. Our Eternal family, our earthly family and our church family. For some this will be oversimplified since some theologians give sixteen definitions of what the family is.

1)   Our Eternal Family

The first thing we have to realize is that our true family is those who belong to Christ. Jesus addressed this when His mother and brothers came to get him from a house He was teaching at.

Matthew 12:46-50 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers[a] stood outside, asking to speak to him.[b] 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

There were some legitimate reasons they had to go and get Jesus one being that the religious leaders were already planning on getting rid of Him and secondly Jesus brothers did not understand that He really was the Messiah and were probably embarrassed. For Jesus to deny His family at this moment would have been shocking in a Middle Eastern Jewish culture. In America we read that as if it is not appalling but in that culture Jesus would have really made the point that there is a difference between our earthly and our eternal families.

One of the things we need to remember as Christians is that there are people we will be with for eternity that are not our blood relatives. There was closeness in the church in the book of Acts because some of those people were kicked out of their own homes for following Jesus. The people at church were all they had. Most churches in America do not have this closeness because we treat church like a sporting event where we come, sit, watch and leave. We do not know those who are around us and we do not make an effort to get to know people. Some of the problem of closeness is due to the fact that people move more than in the past some is due to the fact of the business of our personal lives keeps us from getting to know people who we will spend eternity with.

Luke 14:26  “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Compared to our love and commitment to Jesus the love for our personal family should seem like hate. The word hate here means to love less and Jesus is calling us to put our earthly family in second place of our lives. In America this is not always needed but in countries or families that will not allow you to worship outside the family’s religion of choice it can cost you your family.

The church is a reflection of what Heaven will be like when we all get to heaven and we sing, and enjoy one another’s company while being in perfect union with God and unity with each other. So our eternal family is a family and we can have a bond with them that will last for all eternity.

2)   Our Earthly Family

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[b] You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (See Also: Psalm 78:4-7; Proverbs 1; 8, 6:20, 22:6; 31:1, 36)

“The fact that the form is singular urges the conclusion that Moses did not give this responsibility to some abstract group of fathers in the community but to each individual father. It does not take a village, it takes a father.”  Youth Ministry that Last a Lifetime, Richard Ross, pg 81)

The book of Proverbs puts the mothers teaching next to the fathers teaching and it shows that as parents we have the responsibility to pass down our beliefs to our children. Many people think that if they take their children to church that they have done their duty as parents. Our busy schedules as well as giving away our role to the church have robbed us from being the primary teachers of our children.

Many of our parents did not model for us how to pass on our faith so many of us as parents now are clueless on what we should do. My generation was brought up in church and we had many church activities and so our parents would busy us with church programming hoping that we were getting the Bible stories and spiritual training needed for us to continue following Christ. The church, with all good intentions, was trying to help but what they wound up doing was taking the Biblical role away from parents. I’m not saying Church attendance is not important but how a child views the importance or non-importance of their faith comes through how they perceive their parents living out the faith they say they believe in.

“In frequency of church attendance therefore children seem to model themselves after the behavior of parents who attend church frequently- or who don’t attend at all. What’s intriguing is that we see relatively little decline over the pasty thirty five years in the similarity of parents and their adult children in frequent church attendance- weekly or more often- as overall rates of church attendance in the United States have declined during the same period. (Families and Faith, How religion is passed down across generations, Pg 63)

You produce who you are so the question then becomes, “What would your child’s faith look like if it resembled yours?”  The book Families and Faith, How religion is passed down across generations by Vern L. Bengtson is a thirsty five year study of how religion is passed down to children. The main factor was what the parents believed the children believed even when they got older. The study also showed that a close relationship with the father  and a warm home environment were also keys to passing on one’s faith.

Ron Hunter The CEO of Randall House publishing says we need to TALK to our Kids if we want to pass down our faith. Ron gives the letters T.A.L.K. as an acronym for us to remember.

Try and be a part of their Hobby

Your kids may not be just like you and therefore you may have to step into their world by simply spending time doing what they enjoy doing. They will know you may not understand why they love it but they will appreciate you trying to be with them.

Ask Questions

Many of our students get asked difficult questions in college that they have never heard before and because of that they can sometimes doubt their faith. Many students want answers to the difficult questions of life and about the Bible. You do not have to know all the answers but you can go on a journey with them to help discover the answer. If you do not ask them the questions their college professors or classmates will.

 “The College classroom should not be the first place they hear challenges of Christianity.” Josh McDowell.  Josh McDowell goes onto say that kids will not stay in a faith they cannot defend.


When you do not listen then you are telling them that what they are saying is not important. Parents we blame our children about being distracted but we can allow phones and shows to be just as much of a distraction to us as our teens do. The average adult watches television 2 hours and 40 minutes a day and that is not counting online activities on computers or cell phones. We are distracted and we need to shut off the distraction so we can listen to our children.


Find a place in scripture you can encourage and coach them. Not every single situation will call on you to find some spiritual meaning behind it but you will know the times when you can say what the Bible teaches. Watch for conversations that can turn toward Christ and use them to instill into your children what you really believe. Remember, “I think” is opinioned based “The Bible Says” is based on what God has revealed to us.

The best place to talk is in the car because you are shoulder to shoulder and not face to face which can be intimidating especially for teenagers. Only 1 in 8 teenagers talks to their mom about faith and even less with Dad. (pg 95 Richard Ross, Student Ministry that last a lifetime) Fewer than 10% of Christian families read the Bible together or pray together besides meal times. Parents you have to view yourself as your child’s first pastor and if you do not preach to them then the world will. Every commercial, movie show and music as a world philosophy and those things are being preached to our children every day. We cannot assume that we are doing enough to instill into them the truths we believe. It is not about adding one more thing to your to do list, it is about opening up time for Christ in what you are already doing.

Deuteronomy 6:7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

“Teach them diligently” or as some versions say, ”Impress upon them” is like a person carving a message into stone with a hammer and a chisel. We have to continually know that it is going to be a slow purposeful process of passing down the faith to our children.

Exodus 20:5-6 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands[b] of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Your impact as a parent will go farther than you can ever imagine and last longer than the lifetime that you live. Never underestimate what God can do through you even though you may feel as though you have failed at times. You are in a spiritual war for your children and you must not forget that as you pray to God for the salvation of your children. Parents are not responsible for the decisions their children make about receiving or rejecting a relationship with Jesus Christ because every person young or old stands before God on that issue alone.

Parents it is your job to present the faith to your child in such a way that they realize that your faith carries out in every area of your life. There is not a church life, a home life, a work life and a world life. Your life has to be consistent with what you say you believe or your children will think what you believe is not worth following.

3)   Our Church Family

“Teenagers who leave High School with little love for the Bride will eventually walk away from the groom.” Dr. Richard Ross

We know that there is a breakdown in the family so what part does the church play in helping train and instruct the next generation. All the research is pointing to the fact that students that worship in multi-generational worship are more likely to continue worshiping after they leave for college.

Richard Ross says, “We have tried silo ministries in church for 60 years so it might be time to try something else.”

Psalm 148:12-13 Young men and maidens together, old men and children! 13 Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.

Jesus said in Mark 10:14 let the children come to me and he was not married or have children of His own.

Tim Elmore reports that teenagers today spend about sixty hours a week with their peers and about sixteen hours with adults. For most of human history, the reverse of that was true.

Teenagers need adult relationships in the church and this is true for those who come from single parent homes or with non-believing parents. In Titus chapter 2 Paul calls for the older men and women to teach the younger men and women. Grandparents have added 33 years of life since 1900 so how are you going to spend it?  Grandparents are crucial in passing down the faith to the next generation and many have come to a relationship with Christ not because of their parents but because of their grandparents.

Job 12:12 Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.

Adults with grown children you have a lot to offer children, youth and the younger adults in the room. We need a group of people who are committed to pass on the faith to the younger generation. You have been through the trials and tribulations in your lifetime and the wisdom you have gained needs to be passed down.

Students who sit and do not serve for 18 years will not automatically start serving.  Like wet cement you cannot wait to shape and form them. We do not believe teenagers are the church of the future we believe they are part of the church now and every believer in Christ is gifted to serve the church with that gift. In his book “The Myth of the teen brain” Robert Epstein says “We know from extensive research both in the U.S. and elsewhere that when we treat teens like adults, they almost immediately rise to the challenge.” Teens have much to offer their churches and it is time that we stop putting them in other buildings to do their own thing and invite them to come and get to know people they will be spending eternity with.

The difficulty of change is something most churches do not want to face but Dr. Timothy Paul Jones sums it up perfectly when he says,  “You’re not doing this to get results; you’re doing this because it is the right thing to do.” The reality is the way we are trying to do church is not the most popular or easiest but I am tired of talking about how 80% of our students leave the faith when they leave for college. It is clear from research that involvement in Worship with other adults is crucial for children and youth yet we settle for entertaining.  I want the church to produce disciples that change the world so that we can prepare them to pass on the faith not just to their children but to the world.

The early church did not say Look at what the world is coming to, they said look at what is coming to the world.” Dr. Timothy Paul Jones.


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Abide in the World

Have you ever wondered why God leaves you on earth? Have you ever wondered why you might live in a place you do not want to live or work in a place that you do not want to work? There are many times we want to escape our circumstances and our surroundings but we need to have a bigger perspective on our lives and how God is going to use them no matter the difficulties we are facing.

We are going to talk about Abiding in the World but when it comes to defining the word “World” in the Bible there are several definitions and some authors have even given sixteen definitions of the word “world” in the Bible.  I am going to break the word “world” into just three categories to  simplify the discussion.


  • Physical World: includes everything that was created. (Acts 17:24)
  • Human World: all of humanity. (John 3:16)
  • Moral World: Those who are hostile toward God. (1 John 2:15-16)


Although this is a simplistic way of speaking we have to understand when we read the Bible what is meant by the word World in the passages that we are reading. As followers of Christ we are called to be in the world but not of it but we have to know what exactly that means. One of the prayers that Jesus prayed for all of those who would follow Him is that God would not remove them from the world.

John 17:14-1814 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

Jesus is asking that we do not get removed from the Physical world even though we are not a part of the Moral world. Jesus came into the Physical world to save the Human world from the Moral world. There seems to be two different extremes when it comes to Christians and even the Christian church.

The first extreme is to look so much like the world that they see that “Christianity is cool” or that “Jesus is a good guy” or something along those lines in order to try and introduce people to Jesus. Although they may have a pure heart and good intentions sometimes people begin following the wrong view of Jesus and eventually leave Him when things are said they do not agree with. (See John 6)

The other extreme is that we separate from the world so that we do not allow it to influence us in any way therefore removing any influence we may have on the world. God did not call us to be monks in a monastery where we hide ourselves from the temptations of the world. Although there may be time of retreat for spiritual introspection the fact remains God called us to be in the very world where the temptations exist.

The problem with both of these approaches is that they do not resemble the prayer of Jesus or the life He lived. 1 Corinthians 5 says that we should not hang around immoral people that call themselves Christians but we have to hang around immoral people who are not believers. Matthew 9 shows us Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners showing that we are not to remove ourselves from the world. Jesus has called us to be in this world and if we are going to be ready for the world there are a couple of things we have to know that the Bible says about our impact on the world.

1)   To Impact the World you have to be in the Word

“I have given them your word” We have already talked about abiding in the Word of God a couple of weeks ago so I will not go into great detail but we cannot forget that God’s Word was given to us for correction, reproof and for doctrine (how we should live) (See 2 Timothy 3:16). We are branches in the Vine (john 15:5) and we have to be in God’s Word for the nourishment we need to withstand the heat and the storms that life can throw our way. The World can deceive you into its philosophy of life and the only way we can make sure we are not being deceived or pulled away is by being in God’s word. In Jesus prayer it is clear that the gift of His word is important for them to be able to stay in the world and not be affected by it so we must also take the prayer of Jesus seriously by staying in His word.

2)   You will be hated by the world

“The World has hated them because they are not of this world”  Churches that are trying to make Jesus acceptable to all will struggle with this statement by Jesus. We think sometimes that if we just present Jesus a certain way or if we do not act like “Certain Christians” that we will be able to be liked by the world while still being a follower of Jesus. The reason that we will be hated by the world is because Christians should have different priorities than those who do not follow Jesus Christ. It is our allegiance to Jesus and not the things of the world that will put us at odds with them. We will not love the same things they love. We will not focus on the same things they focus on. Our views will be different and so will our priorities and that will make us hated by the world. Even the fact that I say that everyone is not right with God can be a point of contention or that Jesus is the “Only Way” is viewed as wrong. (John 14:6)

Thou shalt not criticize another person’s life choices or behavior. Our public square is rapidly devolving into a place where sharing opinions, especially those that make another person uncomfortable, is off limits. (Good Faith, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, Pg. 108)

The world says look out for number one but Christ says to put others above yourself. The World says and eye for an eye but Christ calls us to forgive. Christians that try and make “Jesus Appealing” have a tendency to take away from the Jesus in the Bible and what He really said and meant. (Jesus spoke some difficult things) The reason for the hatred is because we are not to conform to the world’s ways.

“Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth” Sanctify means to set apart for a sacred purpose and we are separated for the sake of the world. As we are in God’s word we will be more and more set apart from the rest of the World as we read and take to heart what God is called us to be. Your actions will cause others to notice that you are different and they will act different around you, may be drawn to Jesus through you or even hate you.  If you are asked to change the numbers for a business report and refuse you will be hated. If everyone is picking on someone and you choose to love and accept them for who they are you will be hated. We live in a society that says “Live and let live” but the reality is they are pushing an agenda on people that if they do not buy into then they get criticized and even hated. It’s the word of God that develops our conclusions about Marriage and Gender but to say that those things are wrong in today’s society is quickly becoming hate speech.

I want us to understand that if our goal is to be popular or to be liked Jesus tells us that if we abide in His word and by His word then we will be hated. (Even by some Christians) The Early Christians suffered broken families, loss of Jobs and hatred simply because they believed that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah that was predicted in the Old Testament. They were hated by religious people who were looking for the Messiah to come. Matthew wrote his gospel with his Jewish brothers and sisters in mind in order to help them understand Jesus met all the Old Testament prophecies and was truly God in the flesh.

John 8:31-34  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave[b] to sin.

If you ever watch drug or alcohol intervention shows you will see  people who think they are free but are really in bondage. They do not see that the drug or alcohol has now trapped them in a lie that is destroying their lives and the lives of their loved ones.  Everything that God calls a sin works the same way in that people who believe that they are free are really in bondage (prison) to that sin. Sin is a bondage that can only be broken by Jesus Christ but many people do not believe that they are in bondage. Hebrews 11:25 tells us Moses would rather be mistreated than give into the fleeting pleasures of sin. Sin is fun for a time and it lures us into thinking that it is providing something without any consequences. Whether it is overeating, overdrinking alcohol, taking too many prescription drugs or even living a carefree sexual lifestyle eventually people see that those things have led them to bondage and not freedom. Most people say that Christians are in bondage because they think that the restrictions God gives us are there to take away our fun but in fact they are there for us to enjoy life to the fullest. Who has more freedom the person who disciplines themselves to eat healthy or the person who has allowed food to control them to the point of being in a bed full time? The restrictions God ask for us to follow lead us to freedom not bondage.

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

People are in bondage because they do not have the truth and they believe that the world does. Only as we live out the truth in our lives will the world see the truth. If we do not live out the truth then where will people go when they realize they have believed a lie?

3)   You have to stay in the world

“I do not ask that you take them out of the world” We sometimes talk about how we wish Jesus would just come back and get us and we quote Revelation 22:20.

Revelations 22:20  He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

I know I have said that many times but I think there are times that Christians get and escape mentality from the very world that God has called them to reach out to. Jesus, God in the Flesh, came to earth to reunite us back to Himself and we are left on earth for the very same purpose.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.[b] The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling[c] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Most people do not believe that they are separated from God because they have the wrong view of God. Because they believe God loves the world they think that they are on good terms with God. Are you on good terms with everyone you love or is there some issues that are separating you from having a relationship with them? Just because God loves us does not mean that we are not separated from Him. Jesus came to reconcile us back into a right relationship with God and so that alone tells us that we are separated from Him. Also Christians are left to reconcile other people back to God which means the problem of separation continues to this day.

One of the mistakes I believe churches have made is creating so many programs that we have no time to be in the world.  We have made church about entertaining the saints rather than equipping them for the world. We ask if  the children have fun in bible study instead of what they learned. Was the worship music great, was the sermon too long, and did everyone have a good experience are more of our concerns in churches than if God’s word was taught and was God glorified. No matter how good we make our service and how appealing a sermon topic may be the only way we can reach the world is by being in it and not separated from it.

“Increasingly, in a “post Christian” society, unbelievers will simply not make their way into our churches, no matter how “attractive” we make them….”Nones”, as they are called, do not casually make their way into churches- for any reason. We have to think of them as we would people of a completely different religion.” (Gaining by Losing, J.D. Greear, Pg 29-30)

America has changed and we can either complain about it or be prepared for how God is going to use His church to bring people back in a relationship with Him. You need to realize you are on mission to tell others about Jesus being the only way. In order for them to be reached with the truth we have to realize that we are God’s instruments to be used in the world because they are not coming to church.

John 20:21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

The People we are around need to know about Jesus Christ and God has placed them in our lives for that very reason.

We think of missionaries as God’s “super servants”, Jesus’ Navy Seals. The word “Missionary” is never used in the Bible, however, not even once. That’s because all of God’s people are sent, all of God’s people are commanded to go. There is no “special class” of sent ones. So the question is no longer if we are sent, only where and how.” (Gaining by Losing, J.D. Greear, Pg 34)

If you are on a travel team then be on that team with a bigger purpose than just competing. Parents have you ever thought that the parents right around you may be hurting? Have you ever thought that one of them may have just received divorce papers or a bad report from the doctor? Is your coach someone that needs to know about Jesus? If we will realize that God has placed us around certain people for a reason than it will change our outlook as to why we are there.

The Gospel is only good news if it gets there in time.” F. H. Henry

Will everyone accept the good news? Of course not but our job is to share. People are not going to church in America like they used to and so we have to see ourselves as being sent by God to reconcile people who are separated from Him.

How can I be on Mission?

  1. A) Be in God’s Word every day
  2. B) View everyone as being in your life for a reason.
  3. C) Pray for everyone you work with. (Pray for 5 People)
  4. D) Look for opportunities to love others and share about Jesus Christ.


Posted in Listen, Encourage and Live the Word | Leave a comment