Our God Is Savior
These are my notes for the teaching I gave at the Cornerstone Church on Sunday, June 17, 2018.
OUR GOD IS SAVIOR
Part 5 of CHAPTER ONE. Isaiah 1
Peter Foxwell. The Cornerstone Church. June 17, 2018.
This is part 5 of a teaching series on the character of God. Today, we're looking at Isaiah chapter one. Here's the background:
The date is around 740 BC.
Israel was economically prosperous, but spiritually bankrupt.
Isaiah was a member of the royal family and a prophet of God.
God spoke through Isaiah and offered Israel a way out of spiritual bankruptcy.
That offer is still relevant today because we also are God's people.
TAKE THE SPIRITUAL REALITY CHECK
God wants us to do two things. First, he wants us to take an honest look at ourselves - a spiritual reality check.
MY SPIRITUAL REALITY CHECK
1. AM I COMPROMISED?
It's tough to live in the world and to live for God. The pressure is always to compromise our commitment to Jesus - to make things easier, to take a shortcut, to fit in. This happened in ancient Israel:
(Isaiah 1:2) Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth! For the Lord has spoken: “I reared children and brought them up, but they have rebelled against me... 4 They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him."
Isaiah 1 uses the language of a court case. God brings charges against his people: you've ignored me, you've forgotten me, you've rejected me.
Loving the world leads us away from God:
(James 4:4) Don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God?
Gut check: Is God first in my life, my first love, my center?
2. AM I CLUELESS?
God wanted to get Israel's attention, so he put setbacks in their way. Hardships, pain, that sort of thing. But they were clueless about it.
(Isaiah 1:5) "Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted."
Our hard times are God's "HELLO? Anyone home?" God will turn up the heat until we listen to him.
(Hebrews 12:10-11) God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.
Gut check: God is trying to get my attention. Am I listening?
3. AM I CALLOUS?
Ancient Israel was very religious. They offered sacrifices, attended temple services, celebrated the feasts, and prayed to God. But listen what God said about it all:
(Isaiah 1:13) "Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. ... I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 ... your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. 15 ... even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening."
Why did God reject their worship? Because their nation was full of injustice and evil. They were blessing God and oppressing the poor and vulnerable.
(Isaiah 1:15b) ... Your hands are full of blood!
(1 John 2:9) Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness.
Gut check: Do I help people or do I hurt people?
So, how did you score on the spiritual reality check? Are you headed towards spiritual bankruptcy?
The good news is this: God offers us a way out. That's the second thing he wants us to do ...
TURN TO GOD, THE EVERY DAY SAVIOR
The second thing God wants us to do is: turn to him as our every day Savior. What? God is a two-way Savior:
First, he's our judgment day Savior. This is the way we usually think about him. He rescues us from condemnation. He covers us in the righteousness of Christ. He adopts us into his family. That's God the judgment day savior.
But he's also our every day Savior. Maybe you've never thought of God this way. Every day, we need spiritual life and we need a fresh cleansing from guilt. We need God to keep us on the right track every day. This is how he gets us out of spiritual bankruptcy.
In Isaiah chapter one, God offers to be our every day Savior. Here's how that works:
MY EVERY DAY SAVIOR
1. I COMMIT TO OBEDIENCE.
Right now, if you're trusting Jesus as Savior, you already belong to God. You're righteous in his sight, fully accepted. But maybe you're like the troubled child, the prodigal who has gotten lost in the world. And you don't know how to get home to God.
Good news: You can come home with one simple change: commit to obey God.
(Isaiah 1:19-20) If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; 20 but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
God promises to to bless you and to fill you with his good gifts. But first, you have to obey him.
Here's a good way to make obedience a habit. First thing every morning, make a declaration:
"Today, I choose to love, trust, and obey my God."
2. I COMMIT TO PEOPLE.
People matter to God. He made ALL of us in HIS image and that image commands respect, protection, and love.
(Isaiah 1:16-17) "Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong. 17 Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow."
This isn't optional. It's part of following Jesus. He taught his disciples:
Mark 10:43-45 Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
When we commit to people, to a life of service, there will be a battle. Your "me-first" side will rise up against your "serve-first" side. But God will be your every day Savior from a selfish life.
The best way to make your life matter, to build a positive legacy, is to exchange selfishness for a life of service. Find a way to serve - schedule time to volunteer. Discover the joy of making a difference.
3. I COMMIT TO CLEANSING
No matter how spiritually fit we feel, we're still going to make some mistakes. Old habits die hard. We don't like it, but the truth is, we sin daily.
God wants to be your every day Savior by giving you a daily cleansing from guilt:
(Isaiah 1:18) “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."
There are two word pictures in this verse. First, the court room and the judge is giving his verdict - "come now, let us settle the matter." But the verdict isn't like any legal verdict we've ever heard.
We see this in the second word picture, the stained shirt. Instead of punishing us, the judge offers to remove our guilt and to forgive us so that we can live in his blessings.
How can God do that? By punishing his Son in our place. His life (blood) for our cleansing and forgiveness:
(Revelation 7:14) ... they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
(1 John 1:7) The blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Actually, don't just turn to Jesus for daily cleansing. Do it moment by moment. As soon as you sin, ask Jesus to wash you clean. A thousand times a day if needed. Then receive God's blessings. Live the abundant life he wants for you.
Before we leave today, I want to be sure that we're all on the same page about this. I want you to live the abundant, blessed life, God offers us all. But for that to happen, we all need two things:
We need God to be our judgment day Savior. That happens in a decisive moment when we turn from self and sin to trust in Jesus - who he is and all he's done - to be our God and Savior.
Then we need God to be our every day Savior, to cleanse us, to renew us, to bless and to keep us on track every moment. You choose.
Let's pray about that right now.