Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Sinful Heart Produces, Promotes and Prompts. Isaiah 1:4-20

Do you ever wonder if our own nation might not be on a collision course with God? Weigh the symptoms: a growing sense of greed, sexual immorality, state and federal governments legislating immorality, corruption on every level of leadership (both in government and in business), growing hostility among people and political ideologies, people living way beyond their financial means, making things an idol over and above the worship of God, television promoting sex outside of marriage, and homosexuality. The wickedness of Judah and Sodom and Gomorrah is pretty much present in our own society and culture. Think of this.... 

If God did not fail to overlook their sin, will He overlook ours? 

The book of Isaiah begins with the Lord declaring that Judah has sinned against Him. Because of this, He decided to bring punishment upon them and allowed the Assyrian army to invade their country. This passage shows the affects of sin and how the Lord responds to sin in the lives of His followers.

1. A sinful heart produces confrontation with the Lord (Isa. 1:4–9).

The Lord had a special covenant relationship with Judah (called Israel here). If the people followed His ways, then He would bless them, but if they ever turned away, then He would bring judgment upon them. At the beginning of Isaiah, God declared that Judah had completely turned away from Him, so He allowed foreign invaders to destroy their land. Their sin produced confrontation because the Lord is the Holy One, and their sin produced a barrier between them and God. If we claim to be Christians, then we have told God that we trust Him and follow His ways. Whenever we sin, God brings us to face the fact that He is holy, we are not, and our sin has broken our fellowship with Him.

2. A sinful heart promotes fake worship to the Lord (Isa. 1:10–17).

Even though Judah was still observing all of its religious rituals, the Lord said that He would no longer pay attention to it. In fact, He despised all of the rituals. The people had carried out evil in the sight of the Lord, yet they would still come to the Temple to worship. Their lives revealed that all they cared about was themselves—and not God. Isaiah stated that putting others before ourselves is the way to honor the Lord. Going to church every week, going through all the motions, raising your hands in worship, and taking notes during the sermon mean nothing if your life is filled with sin. How you act inside the church building is less important than what you do throughout the week. God knows if you are just acting like a Christian instead of truly following his commands.

3. A sinful heart prompts grace from the Lord (Isa. 1:18–20).

Even though Judah deserved judgment from God, He offered its people grace. God’s desire is to have a relationship with His people, and so He responded with patience. Having a foreign army invade the land constituted His call for Judah to turn in repentance. God wanted to see His people restored in their relationship with Him. When you sin, the Lord offers grace to you, not judgment. His desire is always to restore His relationship with you.

Our sin separates us from the Lord, but His discipline is the result of His desire to have a close relationship with us. When we Christians sin, we break fellowship with the Lord because He is the Holy One without sin. We show that we do not trust the Lord or believe in His ways. Often, He will allow events in our lives that will prompt our hearts to return to Him so that He can offer us grace. Even if you are a Christian, your sin separates you from an intimate relationship with the Lord. Instead of living out the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc.), you live in ways contrary to His direction. The Lord offers you grace in order to restore His relationship with you. What sins do you need to confess? Accept his grace of salvation. 

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