Trust Not in Deceptive Words: The Prophets and Worship

Trust Not in Deceptive Words: The Prophets and Worship

Scripture: Isaiah 44:1-28, Micah 6:1-8, Isaiah 6:1-8
Date: 08/27/2011  Lesson: 9
The Israelites were prone to turn pure worship into meaningless ritual, and the prophets helped steer the people back to God.
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Good morning and a very, very Happy Sabbath to each and every one of you who are tuning in and joining us this morning from the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. Today is a beautiful, sunny day here in Sacramento, California, the capital city of California. And we are blessed this morning to have a visiting choir who is going to sing our two hymn requests this morning. This is the united adventist choir that is made up of various church members from different churches in phoenix, Arizona. They have come out for the asi convention that is in Sacramento this weekend.

They will actually be doing a concert this evening at the convention. So those of you who are watching online, if you are in this area, or you're here, go this evening to the convention center and you will be able to hear more of their music. They are conducted by dennis marsollier. I'm like I'm going to spell out phonetically and of course I slaughtered it. So he is conducting, and they are going to be singing the two requests this morning.

"And can it be?" Which is a request from rachel in australia; nancy in england; margaret in florida; katie in Georgia; alex in hungary; iilya in ireland; randall in jamaica; Michael in tanzania; alison and bobby in trinidad and tobago; marjorie in turks and caicos islands. And then the second song they'll be doing back-to-back, "when I survey the wondrous cross." This is from ismenia in brazil; louis, rollie, bill and doris in California; beth in Canada; mary in england; anare in fiji; dave in Indiana; Esther and stephen in nigeria; sandie, vern, jenny and jamie in North Carolina; grace in tennessee; and larry in Washington. So sit back and enjoy these two Numbers by the united adventist choir. [Music] And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior's blood? Died he for me who caused his pain, for me, who him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? Amazing love! How can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? He left his father's throne above so free, so infinite his grace. Emptied himself of all but love, and bled for adam's helpless race: 'tis mercy all, immense and free, for o my God, it found out me! Amazing love! How can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature's night; thine eye diffused a quickening ray.

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed thee. Amazing love! How can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? Amazing love! No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in him, is mine; alive in him, my living head, and clothed in righteousness divine, bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own. Amazing love! How can it be, that thou, my God that thou my God, that thou my God, shouldst die for me? Amazing love! Amazing love! [Music] When I survey the wondrous cross on which the prince of glory died, my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to his blood. Ohh, ohh.

See from his head, his hands, his feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown? Ahh, ahh. Were the whole realm of nature mine, that where I go be far too small; love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all. Demands my soul, my life, my all. [Music] Survey the wondrous cross. Wasn't that beautiful? Oh, I have goose bumps! Thank you, united adventist choir from phoenix, Arizona.

At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for loving us. What wondrous love. I pray that each of us, each day, will give you our hearts, our love, our minds, everything that we have. Father, come and be with us this morning as we open up Your Word and we study together.

Please fill us with your spirit. May we sense your presence here in a very special way this morning. We thank you so much for our extended family that's joining us from around the world, and those that are here. And I just pray that we would each just feel you and open up our hearts and just know that we are right with you, that we have that assurance this morning. In Jesus' Name, amen.

At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you debbie, and thank you very much to our guest singers from Arizona. We sure appreciate that. That was lovely. I just closed my eyes and enjoyed it so much.

It sounded angelic. I want to welcome everybody. We have a number of visitors here at central church, because at the time of this recording, the national asi program is transpiring here in Sacramento, not too far from central, at the convention center. And I plan on going down there later myself. If some of you have not been to the asi programs, it's wonderful to see all of the different lay ministries and evangelistic projects and programs that are going on around the world.

And you should try and make some time in the few hours that remain to visit some of the booths and the things that are happening there. Also please remember to keep Amazing Facts in your prayers. At the end of this month, about the time this live broadcast will go out, I will be traveling to the middle east and indonesia. We'll be doing some meetings there. Matter of fact, I'll be in dubai in August.

And September I'll be in jakarta doing some short evangelistic meetings. On the 10-year-annivesary of 9/11, I'll be speaking in the largest muslim city in the world. And so appreciate your prayers for that. I'm sure everything's going to be fine. I'm looking forward to it.

We are continuing our study in our quarterly, dealing with the subject of worship. And it's really all about worship. We could take a lot more time talking about this, probably take a couple of quarters to deal with this subject. Today is lesson number 9. And we have a free offer.

We've mentioned before, if you've not received this, we'd like to send you the book called, "riches of grace," "riches of grace." And the number is--just call the phone, we'll send it to you, 866-study-more, 866-788-3966. You know, this book is also available if you want to read it for free at the Amazing Facts website. It's under the link that says, "free library." Just go to amazingfacts.org and you can read it there as well. The title for the lesson today is "trust not in deceptive words: the prophets and worship." Now the whole Bible is dealing with the issue of worship, and the big controversy, the Great Controversy between Christ and satan is a controversy about worship. The devil has damaged worship.

His worship is damaged. He wants to worship himself. True worship must be out of yourself, worshipping God. Counterfeit worship is worship of self. There at the tree in the garden, the devil said, "you eat this fruit and you'll be like God.

" Well that was an introduction of self-worship right there. And cain wanted to worship the objects of his works, what came from the ground. Abel, his worship was God and the blood of the lamb represented that. And so you've got conflicting worship at the very beginning. You get to the end of the world, and what's the big issue? One group is going to worship God and have the seal of God.

The other group is going to worship the beast and his image, and it's counterfeit worship. So notice something here. You've got one group that is lost, one group that is saved. Two roads: the road to life and the road to destruction. Which road worships? Both, one true and one false.

Isn't that right? When Jesus came, for whom did he reserve his most scathing rebukes? Was it for the publicans and the harlots and the poor and the misfits; or was it for the religious leaders who were worshipping pretentiously? They had the right day. They had the right church building. They had the right ceremonies. They were paying tithe of their herb garden. Jesus said, "these things you ought to do, but don't leave the important things undone," justice, mercy and truth.

And so is it possible to have the outward trappings of worship, and have them correct, and have the heart totally wrong, and the life totally wrong? And you might be going to the right church, on the right day, and singing the right song, and be very lost through the week. And so the prophets address that theme of not only having the right details of your worship, but having the right spirit and right heart in the worship. So that's what we're going to talk about today. And it's very important, very relevant. Going to be touching a little bit on the theme of truth and counterfeit worship.

Micah 6--oh wait, we've got a memory verse. Let's do that first. If you've got your lesson, you might want to open up to Isaiah 44:7. Memory verse is in Isaiah 44:7. Here in the quarterly, it comes from the new international version.

So if you want to say it along with me, we'll be reading from the same page so to speak. You ready? "Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people. And what is yet to come, yes, let him foretell what will come." Here God shows he's God by his ability to see all time. And his prophets were an example of that.

Now under the first section here that deals with 1,000 rams. When they gave sacrifices in Bible times, there were animal sacrifices. And a person might show their great love for God by making a generous sacrifice. And that would mean 1,000 rams. Now did anybody ever offer that many rams? Or was that a figure of speech? Most of the time, it was a figure of speech.

But when Solomon dedicated the temple, he offered thousands of rams and bulls, and to show the consecration of the temple and his great love for the Lord. And he did it sincerely at that time. But that would have represented a pretty expensive sacrifice. Micah 6:7-8. Our first son was named Micah.

And I remember we named him Micah levi. And one dear saint who will remain nameless right now, out of respect, came to me and said, "why would you name your boy Micah levi? That's a Jewish name." And I said, "yeah, well I'm Jewish." I said, "I'm a Jewish adventist." Can you be both? Can't I be grafted in? But the reason I picked that name is because I loved this verse. It really spoke to my heart, and I thought it was such a pretty name. "Will the Lord," Micah 6:7-8, "will the Lord be blessed with thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression and the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" What do we give to please the Lord, to find forgiveness? What could you give more than rivers of oil? They had oil, remember there were oil offerings they would make in the sanctuary. They had bread offerings.

And there were rams and goats and bulls and things you could offer. But he said, "what do you give?" And he answers his own question. "He's shown you, o man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God? That's a pretty good template in a verse or two, something you could put on a bumper sticker that would help you remember. You could fit that in a fortune cookie, help you remember what to live by.

Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with your God. Justice, mercy, humility. And you notice he says you should do it, you should love it, and you should walk it. And that's really a good summary for your life. Now somebody look up for me Deuteronomy 10:12-13.

Matter of fact, where are the microphones? You got that there, gene? Ray will get you a microphone. While they're focusing on that, I'm going to read one more verse. I'll be reading psalm 50:9-15, psalm 50:9-15, "I will take no bullock out of thine house," God is speaking, "nor he goats out of thy fold. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowl of the mountains," all the birds in the mountains, "and all the wild beasts of the field are mine.

If I was hungry--" oh, let me pause here, just remind you, all of that represented sacrifices. Sometimes they might sacrifice a domestic animal from their flocks, in their barn, in their corral. Sometimes they might sacrifice a wild animal, but it had to be clean. When Isaac was about to be slain and they didn't slay him, what did they slay instead? There was a wild mountain sheep caught by his horns in a thicket. There were wild quail and partridge that were in the clean category.

And so he said, "if I wanted to get something to sacrifice, I don't need to go to your barn." He says, "everything out there in the fields that is that clean, I could offer." He said, "I own it all." "If I was hungry, I would not tell you: for the world is mine, and the fullness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bull, and drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God--" he says here's what I want, "offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most high." Be honest. Keep your promises. "Call upon me in the day of trouble: and I will deliver you, and you will glorify me." God is saying, "this is what I want. I want you to do it cheerfully with love.

Don't do it begrudgingly. I want you to keep Your Word and your promises." And then that's a wonderful promise. I don't know if you've underlined that in your Bible. "Call upon me in the day of trouble: and I will deliver you, and you will glorify me." I think every Christian ought to underline that. Alright, we're ready for Deuteronomy 10:12-13.

Go ahead, gene. "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all of his ways and to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and his statutes which I command to you today for your good? Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it." Can you command somebody to love you? I mean how do you feel about it when somebody walks up to you and grabs you by the lapel and says, "you better love me. That's an order." Or if the policeman pulls you over and you say, "what was I doing wrong?" And he puts his hand on his weapon and says, "I have a feeling you don't love me enough. You better love me." How would that make you feel? Would you love 'em any more? Can you force love? Why does God command us to love him? Does that ever bother you when he says, "I command you to love me!" Is that how he's doing it? Or is he saying, you know, in the Bible one of the ways you show love, Jesus says, "if you love me, keep my commandments." So by obeying him, we're showing our love for him. And so he says, "I command you to love me.

" He's saying, "I command you to obey me." Why? Deuteronomy 5 tells us in verse, is it 29, "o that there was such a heart in them that they would fear me and keep all of my commandments always that it would be well with them." Why does he want us to keep all of his commandments always? "That it might be well with them." Why does a parent order their children to obey? "Do not play in the street," so you can't have any fun, or is it 'cause-- you say to your child, "you better love me and listen to me so you live." You understand where he's coming from. And will God ever ask us or even command us to do anything without inherently giving us the power to obey? When God commands us to love him, isn't he giving us the power to love him? We love him because he first loved us. Now while we're talking about sacrifice for the right reason, you can't leave out that verse in 1 Samuel 15. You all know the story. God told Saul the King to go and to attack the amalekites.

Amalekite nation had been just a plague against Israel for generations. First people that attacked them when they came out of Egypt were the amalekites. See amalekites said--carried off and kidnapped king David's family. I mean the amalekites were just the bane of the Israeli people. They were just--they were the taliban back then that were constantly attacking Israel.

And God told Saul to counter-attack. And he said that was to be an annihilation. You are to annihilate them. Because all the amalekites had sworn forever that they and all their posterity that Israel were their enemies. And so any left, any spared, would just rise back up again and attack Israel.

I know that sounds brutal, but that's the way it happened back then with all the nations. And he said, "don't even keep any of the plunder of war." They are an unclean people. They were involved in all kinds of ritualistic, perverted practices, child sacrifice. It was just abominable practices. And he said, "you're not to keep any of their animals.

You're not to keep anything. All of it is to be utterly destroyed." And Saul, when he went and attacked him, he was victorious, killed most of the people, kept the King, thought, "well i, you know, I don't want to kill the King right here and now. Be nice to parade him through the city a little bit and get some credit." That was how the other Kings did it. And his soldiers came to him and said, "you don't really want to destroy all these sheep and goats. They look pretty good to us.

And you know, we can save some of 'em to offer as sacrifices to the Lord. That means we won't have to give of ours." That's a profitable way to do it. You know, it's always easier if I can say--elbow you when the plate comes by and said, "you know, I left my wallet at home. Can you make a donation for me today?" And is that my donation? Or better yet, if I steal your wallet and make a donation. That's what they were really talking about, take the amalekites and make a donation.

And Samuel said, "why didn't you obey the Lord?" He said, "oh, I obeyed the Lord. We've gone on this errand just as you told us." And Samuel said to Saul, "then what is the sound of the bleating in the sheep that I hear and the lowing of the oxen if you obeyed?" He said, "oh, oh them? Oh, we kept them to sacrifice to the Lord your God." And here's what Samuel said, "has the Lord," this is 1 Samuel 15:22, "has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offering and sacrifices, as in obeying?" See they were going to use their disobedience, and it was going to be justified by worship. A lot of people come to church once a week and they carry on. And they have these very vivacious, enthusiastic, aerobic worship services, and then they live like the devil through the week. And they think the one compensates for the other.

Is the Lord satisfied with that kind of worship? If you just sing a little louder when you go to church on Sunday, jump a little higher, shout a little more, give a bigger offering, then live like the world the rest of the week, "oh, but I worship! What a worship service." And we got lots of grace out of that worship service, so I can--I've got fresh license to sin through the week now, because all the grace I heard about. Is that happening in some churches? That's not the message of the Bible. "Has the Lord as great a delight in burnt offerings as sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed," or to hearken "the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft," that was the most offensive thing, "and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." These are the strongest words used for sin in the Bible. And notice what he said to king Saul, "because you've rejected the word of the Lord, he's rejected you from being king.

" Now what he said to Saul, he says to us, 'cause we've been called to be a nation of Kings and priests. How many of you want to live and reign with Christ? If we think that, you know, going to the right church on the right day and understanding some of the dates and prophecy is to compensate for watching all kinds of worldly things on television, and talking like the world, and never telling anyone about Christ, and living like the rest of the world so there's no real visible difference, spending our money and our time the way the world does, and then we come to church and we say, "grace, grace, grace," and sing another song, God's gonna declare to us what he said to Saul. The crown is being taken away. So I think it's very serious business. If we're living in sin, it's rebellion.

Doesn't Isaiah say, "but if you refuse and rebel, you'll be devoured by the sword." He says, "but if you repent, all your sins, though they were scarlet will be as white as snow." But you can't continue in rebellion. So real worship is about surrender. And we're going to get to that in a minute. Doing what is right is more important to God than doing what is religious. And we often make the mistake--what did I think Jesus said this, I got this on another page here.

And I jump ahead, 'cause it just came to me right now. Someone look up in Mark 12:40. Who'd I give that to? Did someone get that slip? Look at your paper if you--over here. Mark 12:40, "which devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. They shall receive greater damnation.

" Jesus was especially offended by those who were exploiting the poor that came to the church and the temple, that were grinding down people in need, making them feel guilty. Have you ever seen these televangelists, that you know there's all these people out there that are sick and they're hurting, and the evangelist will exploit his power of persuasion? And he'll say, "you know, the Lord told me right now you've got a child. And they're out in the world. They're wandering. And the Lord wants to bring them back.

And you've been praying for that son, and that daughter, that's out there in the world. And if you send an offering to this number on your screen right now, $20 offering, God's told me that he's gonna do something special to reach your son or your daughter." That's manipulation. They are taking advantage of these people. Or they're sick and they're hurting, and the preacher or evangelist, he exploits that. "God's told me right now, you come and you lay your hand on the television set, or the computer screen," or whatever it might be.

"And then you send a donation to us and we're going to stack 'em up and pray over 'em and pour holy oil on 'em and you're gonna be healed." That's--that's tantamount to devouring widow's houses and for pretense making a long prayer, in tongues to boot. And "these shall receive the greater condemnation." Very serious business. Christ talks about false shepherds. When he returns, the most fearsome plague of all says that their eyes will consume away in their mouths at the second coming. Their eyes will consume away in their sockets and their tongues in their mouths at the second coming, because they were blind leaders of the blind and they were speaking lies to the people.

And they receive the greater damnation. So that's very serious business to make a pretense of religion. Alright, let's look at a couple of other verses here. Psalm 51, what does the Lord really want? I tell you what, before I read that, somebody Hosea 6:6, who's got it? Hosea--mike, right here. Let's get you a microphone.

And I'll call on you in just a moment. Somebody, Proverbs 21:3. I just want to see where you are. Over here? Alright, you'll be next then. So let me read psalm 51:16-17.

Now this is king David's prayer of repentance after the sin with bathsheba. "For you do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; you do not delight in burnt offering." I want to pause right there. Is David making a blanket statement saying God never wanted his people to offer sacrifice? No, 'cause they did. Matter of fact, even after this experience, after David numbered Israel and there was a plague, David went to the threshing floor of ornan and he offered sacrifice. This was not a blanket statement saying that God had ceased the sacrificial system.

That was his idea. Man did not dream up the sacrificial system. God designed it. But what David is saying here is, "what you're really wanting from me right now is not one of my sheep or goats." How many sheep and goats did David have? He was the King. He had sinned.

Did God want more sheep and goats on the altar, or did he want David's heart? He said, "you delight not in burnt offering. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart; these, o God, you will not despise." When Peter denied Jesus, and Judas denied Jesus, the Bible says they both repented. Judas went out and hung himself. Peter went out and he wept. He was broken-hearted.

He had a contrite and a broken spirit. Did God restore and forgive Peter? That's what he wanted was a change of heart. Alright, Hosea 6:6, are we ready for that? Go ahead. Okay, Hosea 6:6, "for I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." the Lord wants, he wants mercy. "Show me o man what is good.

" Love mercy. "Blessed are the merciful, they will obtain mercy." Alright, and Proverbs 21:3, is that elizabeth got that? Proverbs 21:3, "to do justice in judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice." Alright, there's many more verses I could point to. I don't want to belabor the point in the Bible where God said what he really wants is sacrifice of our hearts. When he has our hearts and it's demonstrated in the life, we'll have the fruits of the Spirit. And that's the thing that really pleases the Lord.

Now we're going to talk about the call of Isaiah. Actually, this confuses people a little bit, 'cause we're going from the call of Isaiah, which is Isaiah 6, to a message from Isaiah, which is Isaiah 1. Because he doesn't get to his conversion and call until the sixth chapter he decides to share his testimony. And then we go to the messages, which actually first comes out in his opening chapter. Isaiah 6, and this is one of my favorite verses, verse 1 through 8.

"In the year that king uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: 'holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!' And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: 'woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.' Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: 'behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.

' Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'here am i! Send me.'" Now we're starting a new afcoe class. I don't know, are any of our future afcoe students here with us for Sabbath school today? Oh, I see a few of you here. Good to have you here. One of the things I teach in afcoe, you're going to get a quick overview of what I teach in my class. I apologize, you'll get it twice.

And part of the reason for that is it's in the Sabbath school lesson. I've got to talk about it. But this verse is one of the most important verses in the Bible, because in the conversion record of Isaiah, you've got the steps of salvation. It begins with seeing the Lord. What begins our conversion? We don't repent until we see God.

We see God in the year our king died. Isaiah saw the Lord in the year good king uzziah died. We see him high and lifted up. Jesus said, "if I am lifted up, I will draw all men unto me." The goodness of God leads us to repentance. When we see God's goodness, it helps us become aware of our badness and it leads us to repent.

Why do we love him? We love him because he first loved us. We see his love for us. So when we see that--what brought about the conversion of zacchaeus? Saw the Lord. How about Paul? What brought about his conversion? He saw the Lord. How about the thief on the cross? Was he converted? Will he be saved? Where did it start? He saw the Lord lifted up in the year that he died.

And so this is what brings about the first step of conversion. After you see the goodness of God, it says then by contrast we see our badness. We say, "woe is me!" Then you come to repentance and confession. After he sees the goodness of the Lord in the year that his king died, he then repents and he confesses. After the thief on the cross saw Christ, did he publically repent and confess of his sins? He did.

And so you can see the steps there as well. Now he not only saw the Lord lifted up, what was the state of God in his temple? What were the angels saying? "Holy, holy, holy!" So what kind of God did he see? A holy God. And how did he feel after he saw such a holy God? Now God is so holy that holy angels wouldn't even look on him with their faces. They covered their faces in his presence. I mean for Isaiah to even see this--remember God told Moses, "you can't look.

All you're going to see is my back parts. I'll put you in the cleft of a rock. And don't you dare look until I pass by." These angels cover their faces, cover their feet. God is in a holy state. And that's why so many people in the Bible, when they thought they saw God, they said, "I'm going to die now, 'cause God is so awesome and so holy.

" If there is something that could destroy us because of its holiness, it would be the very face of God. And here Isaiah, he says, "I saw the Lord." Seeing that, in his holiness, helped him become aware of his sinfulness. In the book, "steps to Christ," I don't remember the page, you'll have to look it up. It says something to the effect, and this is a paraphrase, you'll have to get it more accurately. But the essence is one ray of light shining on our soul from the blazing holiness of Christ makes every spot of defilement in our characters painfully distinct.

So when we have the light of God shining on our souls, all of a sudden we realize that if there's anything wrong--more than once I've gotten dressed where I keep the lights down, 'cause I get up before Karen, and I get dressed. And then I go out in the sunlight and I look at my tie, and I thought, "oh, that's got lunch from three weeks ago still there." I didn't know, until I got out in the light. And I said, "woe is me." And I go change or something. You know what I'm talking about. Sometimes you get out in the light and you say, "oh this isn't right.

" Anyway, so he saw this, then he repents, and he confesses. And he confesses specifically. Notice there's a dual confession. He confesses his sin first, "I am a man of unclean lips." And the sin of his people, there's a corporate confession, "I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

" How long after he repents and confesses before God sends cleansing? Immediately. He worships God there. And after he repents and confesses, God sends the angel with the coal. Sometimes it's the fire from the altar that cleanses us. And he says, "behold this has touched your lips.

" I love these words. "Your iniquity is taken away. Your sin is purged." When we worship God by surrendering our hearts and repenting and confessing with a contrite heart, does he cleanse us? He went in to the house of the Lord. He worshipped God with the sacrifice of his lips. It doesn't say he went in there and sacrificed any animals.

He gave his heart. He was cleansed. And then he was commissioned as a prophet. "Then I heard the voice." After we're cleansed from our sin, do we hear God's voice in a new way? "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'who will go for us and whom shall I send?' And then Isaiah says, 'here am i. Send me.

" And God says, "go tell these people." Starts out with his coming to God; ends up by his going for God. Alright, now I'm going to go on to the section here, "no more vain ablations." Now we're going to Isaiah 1. This is the message of Isaiah. "'To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to me?' Says the Lord. 'I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle,'" fattened cattle in other words.

"I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or the lamb or goats. When you come and appear before me, who has required this from your hand, to trample my courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices;" notice futile sacrifices, "incense is an abomination to me. The new moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies, I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meetings. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they are a trouble to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not hear.

Your hands are full of blood." Some people read this and they say, "what? No sacrifices? No assemblies? No Sabbaths? He cannot endure them?" Was God saying he was against all these things? Or was he saying they were doing these things instead of offering their hearts? They were living in sin and thinking that these things were a substitute for living Godly lives. And he said, "away with these things. It's of no use." That's why Jesus said, "you know, if you made long prayers and you devour widows houses." If we fast to be seen of men, if we give and blow the trumpet to be seen of men, and we're living sinful lives, if we pray to be seen of men, and it's all a spectacle, it's hypocrisy. Someone read for me Isaiah 1:16-18. Who got that? Got it right back here.

"Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend The Fatherless, plead for the widow. 'Come now, and let us reason 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 be as wool.'" So God, in the same chapter where he talks about, "away with all your assemblies and your feasts and your Sabbaths and your reaching out your hands and all this," he said, "but if you will put away the evil of your doing, seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend The Fatherless, plead for the widow." God is being very specific there. He said live like a Godly, good people. Christians should be good.

Yes, that's right, I said it! Isn't that awful? I mean today it's called legalism if you say, "Christians should be good." "You can say it to your 5-year-old at home, but don't say it in church. It's called legalism." Bible says only God is good, but should we try to be Christ-like? Was Jesus good? Well yeah, "do what is good," the Bible says. Isaiah 58, another example. We're still talking about the messages of the prophets, what is true worship and what's counterfeit. "Is this the fast I have chosen," Isaiah 58:5, "is this the fast I have chosen, a day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down your head like a bulrush?" The bulrush would get its grain and heavy and it would bend over.

And so for people to walk around, "oh, I'm fasting." You know Jesus talked about the people even in his day who disfigured their faces so that they would appear unto men to fast. And I don't know what that meant to disfigure your face, but I'm just imagining it was something like, "oh, I'm so hungry." You know, and you can try your own. I don't know, what would yours look like? How do you appear like you're fasting so you can get sympathy? They try and look gaunt and like they're struggling. And he says, "is this the day that I've chosen, is this your idea of worshipping me?" "To spread out sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, an acceptable day to the Lord? Is this not the fast I've chosen?" Here it is, and he says, "this is the fast I want." "To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burden." Be free from your enslavement to sin, the bonds of sin. Undo the heavy burdens that you put on others.

"Let the oppressed go free, that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and that you do not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break forth like the morning, your healing will spring forth speedily, your righteousness will go before you; and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard." So the kind of fast that God wants. If you could choose--alright, I've got to choose between the two. I'm not going to eat, and I'm going to drag around and going to sort of advertise and grandstand that I'm fasting for sympathy--by the way, the Lord says if you do that, the only reward you get is the sympathy you manage to draw from people. Now before I leave that point, is there anything wrong with the genuine fast of not eating? Did Jesus say it's okay to fast, just wash your face and comb your hair if you have it, and don't just--it's between you and God. Don't go around and say, "you know, I'd go to lunch with you today, but don't ask me.

I'm fasting." You know, and just try and get some kind of spiritual sympathy. Show people how pious you are. So it's not, this is not saying there's anything wrong with real fasting. It's saying, but what's the most important kind of fast. If you really want to please the Lord and get his attention, have the revival fast where you start turning from your sins, stop oppressing others, that you care about living the Christian life, taking care of those that are hungry.

How does the Lord say the judgment's going to look? Separate the sheep from the goats. And he'll say to the sheep who are saved, "I was hungry and you fed me; I was naked and you clothed me; I was a stranger, you took me in; I was in prison and you visited me; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was sick in the hospital and you came to me." Did I mention that one already? "Naked and you clothed me." I think I said 'em all. There's six, six items there. And those are big to the Lord. What does that mean? Love your brother.

"Yes," if you say, "I love the Lord." "Okay, show me by loving your brother." It's easy to say, "I love you God, I love you God." And he says, "if you do it unto them, you're doing it unto me. If you love me, you'll love what I love. And I love people." And he said, "this is the way to show it." This is the kind of fast and the kind of real religion he's looking for. And then--oh, I'm going to go a minute long here, a couple minutes long here, 'cause I know we had a couple of edits. Then you've got the section, "the temple of the Lord.

" "The temple of the Lord." Have you read that before in Jeremiah 7:4? This is important. "Trust not in lying words, saying, 'the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.'" Three times. "For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you oppress not the stranger, The Fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other Gods to your hurt, then I will cause you to dwell in this place, and the land that I gave your fathers forever and ever. But do not trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, and murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto baal, and walk after other Gods whom you know not, and then come and stand before me in this house which is called by my name, and say, 'we're delivered to do all these abominations?'" Are we saved to do all these abominations? Are we saved from sin or to do sin? Well, they were saying the same thing back then that people are saying today.

"There's nothing new under the sun." And you know what they were saying? They had been surrounded by the Babylonians. Babylonian army was all around Jerusalem. And the people said, "we have nothing to fear. We've got Solomon's temple. Fire came down in this temple one time.

This is the house of the Lord. We've got Solomon's temple in our midst. The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, we've got the building of God!" And God said, through Jeremiah, "if you're living wickedly, having some edifice that I may have honored with my presence at one time, that's no kind of shelter." What happened to that temple? It was destroyed because they did not turn. And the same thing in the days of Christ. He said, "don't look at this building.

I'm telling you there will not be one--" even the disciples said, "wow, God is with us. Look at this building." Jesus said, "don't look at the stones and how big they are and the building. There will not be left one stone upon the other that will not be thrown down." And when the Romans finally came in 70 a.d. And they breeched the walls, you know where everybody ran for protection? There were fortresses in Jerusalem that would have been better protection. They ran into the temple.

And the greatest bloodshed was in the temple. And Josephus says, it ran out of the temple, human blood, like a river because the Romans went in there, just enraged and just butchered the people. They thought that it was some good luck charm. Christ, he should be the temple that we flee to for safety.

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