January 31st, 2016
As we read through Isaiah 1, we encounter a serious discussion with God. Here, God is mourning over the disobedience of his rebelling children who have become comfortable with sin, just as we often ignore the malignancy of the soul. We are also warned of falling into spiritually confusion – offering sacrifices that do not cost us and staying in monotonous rituals and worship. Rather, we are encouraged to allow God to powerfully transform our hearts and minds to do His will: to seek justice, help the oppressed and do good. In return, the outcome is worth infinitely more – our sins washed away and made white as snow.
Isaiah 1:16-17 (NLT) – “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.”
Isaiah 1:18 (NLT) – “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
Listen to hear more from Pastor Dan and come visit our church on Sundays at 10 AM in the Long Branch neighbourhood as we continue to make connections with God and as a community!
I have something that is on my heart and I want to talk to you guys about and we have started talking about that at the beginning of the year we talked about prayer right you guys remember we talked about prayer how important prayer is then we started talking and digging into the Book of Isaiah right and and so there’s some really awesome awesome things in the Book of Isaiah that we can that we can really learn from I mean the whole Bible says that is inspired by God the whole Bible has things that when you begin to read it it’s going to change your life revolution revolutionize your life so if you have your Bibles let’s go to Isaiah chapter 1 Isaiah chapter 1 and there is this very very interesting verse and we’re gonna read through a few verses but as I go along but the first verse that I want to then I want to read is this this is what God says come now let’s settle this come now let’s settle this says the Lord though your sins are like scarlet I will make them as white as snow though they are red like crimson I will make them as white as wool now check this out now the first chapter of this prophecy of Isaiah really calls our attention that we need to have a very very serious discussion how many of you have had serious discussions in your life how many of you love serious discussions I’m interviewed you know look forward to it some some serious discussions are difficult they are confrontational but a lot of them if not all of them are needed and necessary for us okay we need some serious discussions we need to bring things into the open put them on the table right and and talk about some things it’s good and so this is a very very high level discussion do you know why because God is involved in it okay this is a conversation and discussion with God and God says come now let’s settle this okay let’s settle it so God God invites you to come and have a discussion with him he wants to settle something with you he wanted to settle something with the Israelites and so you see the Bible tells us that that is that on occasion he invited some people to come and sort of have a discussion with him you know ask some tough questions difficult questions and God would have a discussion with people with his creation and and so you see every person every person we know that is that we are going to be summoned for a a judgement right at the end of our life will be summoned for a judgment and then we will and if it was only up to us on our own merits and our own you know the things that we do are our deeds we would not amount to much at that doctor at that judgment we could not prove our case on the basis of what we’ve done no matter how good we are no matter how much good we’ve done it just wouldn’t amount to much you see people think that you know in in our life here as long as your good deeds outweigh your bad deeds then you’re gonna be good in heaven right have you have you come across a thought like that now it is awesome to have more good and good deeds in your life you need them you need more good than bad but no matter how good you do in your life here on this earth okay you will never be able to deserve a place in heaven okay this is the way it is and so that’s where Jesus comes in and Jesus pays the ultimate price that you would be able to do note that you would be able to but through him you can have a place in heaven that’s what this is all about okay and so God is is is encouraging us to to have a conversation with him or or a debate sometimes even right and so God says Isaiah this first listen he says listen and then verse in the in verse two in just a second I will read that and so there’s like three four or five things maybe I want to tell you very important topics that when you talk about and the first one is the forfeiting of life when do we forfeit our life and if you have your Bible Isaiah chapter 1 verse 2 to 6 listen so this is the first time he says listen now when someone says listen it’s what it’s an invitation to hey I have something important to say listen to this so this is what it says listen o heavens pay attention earth this is what the Lord says the children I raised and cared for have rebelled against me this is what God says okay the children that I have raised and cared for have rebelled against me even an ox knows its owner and a donkey recognizes its masters care but Israel doesn’t know its master my people don’t recognize my care for them oh what a sinful nation they are loaded down with a burden of of guilt they are evil people corrupt children who have rejected the Lord they have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him why do you continue to invite punishment must you rebel forever your head is injured and your heart is sick you are battling and battered from head to toe to foot covered with bruises welts and infected wounds without any soothing ointment or bandages now here is a picture of a caring God how many of you believe that God really cares about you right and here is a picture of a nation of a group of people that have rebelled against God they’ve they have rebelled against that so this is a picture of a good God loving father who mourns the disobedience of his children and this is what he says the children I raised and cared for have rebelled against me you see the story of a prodigal son do you guys know the story of a prodigal son how the prodigal son left his father took everything that said oh whatever belongs to me I need to take and he took it and he went and he and he and he wasted everything he just you know he was living up he was just living to what this world would say to the fullest but it it is deceiving and so and so this is this is even in sex beers King Lear and it said suffering the heartbreak of having his own children and this is what he says how sharper then a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child it is it is really so difficult and so hard and how pathetic pathetic it is to see children mistreat their parents the parents that have done everything for them and and maybe some of you will only understand that when you will become a parent because because I I know that we go through different stages in our lives and the younger you are the more we think that we know everything you know it’s it’s true we we think that oh I know everything it’s just the younger we are the more we think that we know everything the older we get we discover how little we know it is it is a fact of life and and in its and the sooner we recognize that that’s how it is in our lives it will help us you know it is absolutely foolish to see children turn from their Heavenly Father thinking that oh I can do it on my own I can do it myself God says look I’ve created you I can help you I want to walk with you all the time I want to help you all so how do we how do we forfeit our lives well first is by rebellion when you rebel in a way you forfeit your life also how do you forfeit your life well by ungratefulness you see I think you know hand in hand with rebellion ungratefulness is a sin that is you know being inconsiderate of what the source of our blessing is if you are blessed if you have something in your life you can’t be inconsiderate of that blessing or the source of that blessing let’s be truthful and let’s recognize that if we have gained something if we have something in our life let’s be grateful to the source of that blessing right and that could be God obviously himself through maybe our families our parents our children or whatever the source is we need to be grateful and this is what it says in verse 3 even ox knows its owner and the donkey recognize its masters care but Israel doesn’t know its master my people don’t recognize my care for them it is I think it is this for people to to ignore God and to pretend that that there is that that they think of him you know we can’t come and say oh yes God is a part of my life but but really in your life and when no one is looking you you ignore him I ignore him it is useless it doesn’t make sense to do that how else do we forfeit our life well it is by being burden or or saddled with with sin if there is sin in your life it will weigh you down I’m gonna have you know that hey you know what sin will always cost you more than first estimate it you think it’s not gonna cost me that much it will cost you more than you you always think sin will cost you always more than you then than you think in Isaiah says oh what a sinful nation they are he’s literally saying shame on you what a sinful nation a nation you won’t you are just shame on you he’s even saying that they’re loaded with a burden of guilt see here’s the thing God never intended for you to be walking around feeling guilty now there is good guilt and there’s bad guilt sometimes you see God created us that that way that some sometimes you feel guilty feel guilty you do something wrong and you feel guilty now that’s a good guilt that’s that that’s that’s something that the Holy Spirit prompts in you and you have a feeling oh my goodness I don’t want to do that again it’s this disgust towards the sin is something that you’ve said something that you’ve done and you don’t want to do it again that’s good that’s good and you want to keep that in your life keep that feeling that that it will be fresh that you don’t want that feeling to get stale and then you you don’t feel when you do something wrong you don’t feel back you don’t want to be in that spot but there’s but there’s also this guilt of sin that we’re that when when you when you embrace sin and then it weighs on you so much so much that you can’t shake it off see that’s that’s that that’s what he’s talking about because they they are coming back to their sin and here are the people who are burdened down with the weight of their own sin and they have chosen to live a life loaded with sin and so if I can encourage you today do not choose a life that is loaded with sin and I can tell you this wherever you go there will be opportunities for you to sin plenty you go to school you go to spend time with your friends there will be plenty of opportunities to go and do what is wrong in the eyes of God but don’t engage in that because if you engage in that and you get comfortable with that you will be weighted with sin in your life and so this is the way this is the way that it is for for all that we that forsake God and they try to live on their own do not engage in that and also how do we forfeit to our life is by ignoring this malignancy of the soul now from time to time you will hear about you know some big shot on TV or an actor or someone that comes and they are sick with a tumor or cancer or something and then you realize wow this can come to the rich and the poor and and anyone that that it’s just it it’s not that oh that sickness doesn’t come to the rich now if it comes to comes to everyone and so the Bible speaks of more even fearful condition and that is the condition and if that that is in verse five and six why do you continue to invite punishment why do you continue to invite punishment must you rebel forever your head is injured and your heart is sick you are battered from head to foot covered with bruises welts and infected ones without any soothing ointment or bandages see this is this is the tumor in our soul of Unforgiven sin when you when there is a sinner in our life and you do not ask God for forgiveness you do not turn away from that from our evil ways from our wicked ways this will grow and grow in us and will suffocate us you need to get away from all that that is that is sin in our lives now number two there was a spiritual confusion okay and this is a good one I I want us to really understand this spiritual confusion in verse 11 what makes you think I want all your sacrifices says the Lord I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats when you come to worship me who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony stop bringing me your meaningless gifts the incense of your offerings disgusts me this is some really really strong words don’t you think just I mean God is not playing and choosing his words here you know to be politically correct he just lays it out okay and so they disgust me as for your celebrations of the new moon and your Sabbath and your special days of fasting they are all sinful and false I want no more of your pious meetings I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals they are a burden to me I cannot stand them now what is he really talking about here okay like what is he saying does this listen to the Lord you leaders of Sodom listen to the law of God people of Gomorrah you know the city’s the wicked city Sodom and Gomorrah you know the story right and and and so this is the first of all is there’s a sacrifice without meaning what do you think is sacrifice without meaning is come on talk to me it will help me with my voice help me preach what is the sacrifice without meaning okay going through the rituals yeah okay first of all what is a sacrifice giving something up okay I would even put it more strongly that giving something up that is that means a lot to us right because it’s easy to give something up call it a sacrifice but it’s really not a sacrifice from us you know I mean and and so you know sacrifice rightly understood is is a a genuine worship experience when you come and you give something that really cost you when you give something that is really something that you that you treasure but you give it up that you take that you take it away and in the Old Testament it involved the sacrifice of animals and in the Old Testament it says that it had to be what a pure animal or you know without blemish you know those were just perfect animals and they were sacrificed why because they were the best they were the best and and and that’s why God says Minoo here to an Isaiah says what makes you think I want your sacrifices God says what I mean what makes you think I am sick of your burnt offerings in RAM and the fat of fatten cattle now real sacrifice involves giving something that you will miss just incredibly now I want you to think of something right now what would it be what would be the greatest sacrifice that you can sacrifice for God that would cost you a lot that would be a tremendous loss to you just just think about it okay that’s what a true sacrifice is that you sacrifice something that you love that you really really want that you will miss dearly in in your life you see the New Testament pictures that that sacrifice okay and here’s what it says in Romans chapter 12 and you guys you guys know this verse 1 and 2 and so dear brothers and sisters check check this out listen to this I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you God has done so much for us and so he says I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of what oh that that he has done for you let them be a living and holy what sacrifice the kind he will find acceptable wait a second so you might say pastor then so do you mean that there’s some sacrifices that God will not accept that I even give yes the Bible says that look that there are some sacrifices that we should give them and our bodies as living sacrifices the kind that he will find acceptable this is truly the way to worship Him don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think where does the walk with Christ begin and are in our mind our heart needs to be cleaned and changed or mine needs to be changed look it it it is he has to change the way you think then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect there’s so many young people so many people that walk around trying to find the will of God trying to find what what does really God want me to do in my life well here’s the answer okay present our bodies as living sacrifices something that would actually be pleasing to God if what you if what you are giving to God is something that you never miss something that is just oh yeah that’s easy for me to do okay chances are that it’s not really acceptable to him as well you know it is he loves something that it’s like God I sacrificed this to you I want to give this up for you he takes pleasure in that he loves that you know during during the the reign of as king ahaz he went to Damascus and he met with the assyrian king but the Assyrians were were so strong that they usually had you know the power to influence people now he he went and he did get influenced by them and out of this experience we are told in the Bible in the second chronicles 28 23 that that a hash started to sacrifice to the gods of of Damascus and they they gave in to the might of the Assyrian pressure you know there’s there’s so much pressure from this world in your life that you step in and you think oh I’m just gonna just gonna see what it is I’m just gonna you know just just just just just you know go with my friends and do this that look there is pressure and a has was pressured and all of a sudden he imposed idolatry he imposed polytheism if they begin to worship many gods and and and all of a sudden the land of Judah was changed completely changed and that’s what happens in our lives too there is this pressure from the outside that we give in and when we are not strong enough when we’re not strong enough all of a sudden there’s so many alters in this world that we sacrifice our life on so many things it could be you know peer pressure could be TV it could be games it could be you know electronics it could be anything it could be the value of what other of what others think of you and we sacrifice on those altars in this world and we give in to that pressure where you can stand above that you don’t have to give in to that I need to run through what I want to say here so does this know so much but but let me finish in in a few minutes there’s also this thing there was this confusion right that there was this sacrifice without meaning another confusion was this monotonous worship just going through them someone said I think Michelle’s are going through the motions or a routine or something just doing things because we’ve been doing it and that without actually our mind involved in our hearts involved just our bodies that’s a monotonous worship and when people come to God’s house with a worldly attitude and this this you know non-committal attitude in their in their hearts or way of sacrificing if they accomplished you know what they accomplished they accomplished absolutely nothing when we come okay what I’m gonna say is very it’s going to be very very strong but understand me right but when we come to church when we come to church and we are uncommitted and we do not want to sacrifice for God and we just come because you know because because that’s all I’ve been doing you know what we accomplished we just get the floors dirty that’s what we accomplished really nothing not much more than that and yet you see we we we in in our you know somehow you know the devil is making us feel all know you are accomplishing something well look put your heart into it put your mind into it you see it it is it is often more less about how much you do but how you do it you know you love God you sacrifice okay verse 12 when you come to worship me who asked you to parade through my courts with with all your ceremony those are some really strong words and then he even says I hate you your new moon sacrifices and your annual festivals they are a burden to me I cannot stand them are they strong words or what from God see it’s going through the motions it’s going and doing things that just I just kind of you know we’re doing them because we’ve been doing them for a long time we don’t know why we’re doing them but we but we are and we have a feeling that all you know God sees that we are doing it so often and so much that he’s gonna have mercy on us see if worship service service services seem monotonous to you check this out if they seem monotonous to you how do you feel how do you think God feels multitudes and crowds come not only here at the branch but everywhere and if people are coming and just going through those monotonous worship experiences and just going through the motions do you think God takes pleasure in that I don’t think so I don’t think so you see because we often come to church and we are absent-minded just go because we go we need to wake up we need to change the way we worship we need to change the way we sacrifice it’s gotta mean something everyone say it’s got to mean something I I hope that this will sink into our hearts our sacrifice our worship it’s gotta mean something and of course that thing that makes my worship monotonous is that we that we often like I said just kind of check out our brain out you know outside the door and we just kind of go through the motions check out our hearts leave our hearts outside it doesn’t mean that if we Bend our knees then we are all so holy because with our knees our will needs to be bent as well like if we Bend our knees we better bend on the air or our well for it to really mean something there’s a demand of whole of holiness verse 16 wash yourselves and be clean get your sins out of my sight give up your evil ways learn to do good is that is that easy to do learn to like he’s just very very simple right and just very direct learn to do good that’s what he says learn to do good seek justice see I believe that that that our young generation is a generation that if we will do this if you guys will do that help you seek justice learned the good give up your evil ways defend the cause of orphans fight for the right for the rights of of widows your life and this world around you will be absolutely completely different okay let me just start let me just run through this and I say I really encourages people to to do good do good how do we measure up how do we actually get that well number four is what is the offer of God this is what God offers us okay this is what God offers us come now let’s settle this we read this at the very beginning right come now let’s settle this settle this once and for all though your sins are like scarlet I will make them white as snow you come as you are right now you come as you are and if you come and you say God change me I need to I need to be changed he will wipe your sins away he will make you whiter than snow whiter than the whitest wool then it says okay we need to be God wants you to be a new creation and in him and then in in John 3:3 it says unless you are born again you cannot see the kingdom of God and I think that that Isaiah really vividly pictures the sins that stain this you know stain are our you know the rope that God is giving us this white attire and every time we sin it is stained but he wants to wash it he wants to bleach it he wants to make them white now there’s also crises and this is what it says in verse 19 if you will only obey me you will have plenty to eat if you will only obey me you will have planted it but if you turn away and refuse to listen you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies I the Lord have spoken now there’s this story of the two ifs okay first if and then says but if okay so if you obey me you will have plenitude meaning that you will be blessed right if you obey me you will have plenty you will be blessed but if you will not obey me okay if you will not obey me then you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies and so look if you’re here today and you are just sort of weighing your options what are you gonna do what are you gonna do I think God says to you today choose life choose life walk with God walk in the light and so God says that that that everything depends on on whether we will and we are willing to consent to his terms and to hear his commands you know how you do anything on your iPhone and stuff and you go to the iTunes Store and you need to occasionally you need to agree again to the terms and conditions right if you do not agree to terms and conditions will you be able to download the app no here’s the thing I bet you percent of us here 95 live even 99.9% have not read the terms and the conditions posed by either the app the the the App Store or the Google store okay just automatic I agree I agree I agree right am i right you see you see but with God when we agree really wants it to mean something that we agree that we know what we are agreeing is that we are committed that we’re not just going in blind because we want something we want something so yes God but then we don’t fulfill the terms and conditions you know we often say oh god but I don’t want that I I know with my boys that’s what often happens – you know with with with food you know Nancy will cook something new something different and I know the answer my boys will give her right away right oh but I don’t like that smiling he knows what I’m talking about but oh but I don’t like them and what we tell them is but how do you know you don’t like that okay how do you know you don’t like that you’ve never tried it right and I think that often in our lives we say oh god I don’t want that in my life or I die it’s too hard for me to do this what you’re asking of me but if you have never tried it how do you know that you don’t like it he is the good god he is the God that created you he knows what’s best for you this world might tell you that oh you you you you need this or another thing or or more of that and you know what if God says no you don’t need that and you don’t need more of this trust God trust God because he knows what’s good for you I often tell the boys or on this it’s like well we wouldn’t cook something that wouldn’t be good for you right it was like oh hmm what can we cook that they would absolutely dislike and we’re gonna feed it to them you know like we don’t do that God doesn’t do that with us but yet some somewhere along the road we would develop this I just know I I know what’s best for me I know what’s best for me and I say no to sometimes to the things that God and God gives us