ISAIAH 1:10-20 – CHRISTMAS CLEANUP
The Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit does live inside of each and every true Christian. And often Jesus is living in squalid conditions. I say this because often we Christians look good and righteous on the outside, but inwardly we are filthy! And I believe that Jesus can smell the stench, not unlike the stench of kitty litter that needs to be changed!
Although we should worship on a daily and weekly basis Christmas is one the major times of worship in the year. As the oncoming holiday approaches, we should want to make sure that God is pleased with our worship.
God will not be pleased with our worship if we are at all like the citizens of Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Isaiah the prophet. As Isaiah called for the people of his day to clean up their act, it is time to clean up our act in preparation for a season that should be loaded with worship.
WE NEED CLEANUP WHEN:
- OUR ACTIONS REMIND GOD OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH – Vs. 10
In Verse 9 God told the people of Isaiah’s day, that unless there had been a small remnant of faithful people they would have met the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah. God rained fire and brimstone on them and everyone but 3 people were destroyed. God judged their sins.
Vs. 10 – God calls the leaders of Judah “Sodom” and the people “Gomorrah”. Their sins were so bad they were just like those wicked cities.
Usually when we think of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah we think of the sin of homosexuality. This was of course one their sins. But there is more. Ezekiel 16:49-50
Now think with me for a moment. Is this anything like us today.
Are we too proud to admit when are wrong?
Are we too proud to forgive?
Are we too proud come to God for help?
Are we too proud to be submissive to God and do things his way?
What about fullness of bread? Are we overfed when others are starving? Do we overeat?
- Are we idle when God has things for us to do?
- Are we idle when there are people who do not know the Gospel?
- Are we idle in our zeal and love for God?
Do we neglect the physically and spiritually poor and needy when we ourselves are proud, full and lazy?
And Sodom was guilty of wicked abominations. Although you might night have any time for homosexuality, are you allowing sexual fantasies, pornography, adultery, or some other abomination to control you?
- WE NEED CLEANUP WHEN THERE ARE MANY SACRIFICES, BUT A GOD WHO IS FED UP – Vs. 11
God was fed up with the sacrifices of the people, but God had instituted the sacrifices and they are actually pictures of the atoning work of Christ.
God was fed up with the sacrifices because of the hypocrisy of the people. They offered their sacrifices, and worshipped God, but they were full of iniquity. Isaiah 29:13
Where is YOUR heart when you worship?
Is it focused on God or something else?
Where is YOUR heart right now? Is it focused on God or something that pleases you?
- WE NEED CLEANUP WHEN THERE IS FREQUENT ATTENDANCE, BUT A GOD WHO IS INDIFFERENT – Vs. 12
Does God consider your worship a pleasure to Him or does God see you as “trampling his courts”.
Does God become weary of your presence because your heart is not right with Him?
Does God become weary of your presence because you really don’t want to be here and because you don’t really care?
- WE NEED CLEANUP WHEN THERE ARE MANY ATTEMPTS AT WORSHIP, BUT A GOD WHO IS GRIEVED – Vss. 13-14
God had ordained many days of worship for the Jewish people. But now he wanted nothing to do with them, because of the heart condition and sinful behavior of the people.
Have you ever stopped to consider what God thinks of the biggest Christian holiday of the year, Christmas? Much of the worship he gets at Christmas grieves Him, because the hearts of the worshippers are not right!
- WE NEED CLEANUP WHEN THERE ARE MANY PRAYERS, BUT A GOD WHO WILL NOT HEAR – Vs. 15
When and why does not God hear our prayers? Isaiah 59:2
The children of Israel had bloody hands and therefore God did not listen to them. The children of Israel did not necessarily literally kill some one. But their actions brought about the same results.
And we do not need to kill someone to have bloody hands. Matthew 5:21-22, Hebrews 12:14-15
If you are angry with a brother of sister without a cause you are guilty of the equivalent of murder.
If you commit character assassination you are displeasing God.
If you hold a grudge, a root of bitterness, against someone you are failing to apply the grace of God to your life. This grudge will trouble you and those around you.
And let me tell you something else. This church is hurting because some of you are holding grudges against others in this congregation.
Some of these grudges have gone on for years!
WE HAVE CLEANUP WHEN:
- WE HEED GOD’S CALL TO REPENTANCE
- Confess (Wash you, and make you clean) – Vs. 16, 1 John 1:9, Proverbs 28:13
- Forsake (…Put away the evil of your doings…) – Vs. 16
Of course we are to forsake our sin but we must also put away the evil of our doings from before God’s eyes.
This means that we need to make right with others what we have done wrong.
There are times when we must confess sins to others.
There are times when we are going to have to seek the forgiveness of others. Matthew 5:23-24
3. Learn (…to do well…) – Vs. 17
We must also learn to do well.
Our sins must be replaced with positive actions and attitudes especially towards those we have hurt in the past.
- I am to seek justice, that which is right and fair to all.
- I am to relieve those who are physically and spiritually oppressed.
- I am to seek the well being of the fatherless and the widow. Those who are down and out are not to be exploited, but helped.
- WE HAVE CLEANUP WHEN WE ACCEPT GOD’S INVITATION FOR CLEANSING – Vss. 18-20 THE WORK OF GOD – Vs. 18
Isaiah 1:18 – Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
God is saying “come to court with me”. “Let’s reason together. He implies that we are to repent and to do as he says in verses 16-17.
God says though your sins be as scarlet, a red dye made from worms, He would make them white as snow.
He also said there sins be as crimson, a red colored cloth, He would make them as white as wool!
That is quite a miracle to make red of all colors into pure white! It is quite a miracle to take our dirty filthy sins and make us totally clean.
How can God make such a promise?
It is because God washed the sins of believers away at the cross! God can forgive because He was satisfied with the work of his son to pay for our sins. 1 John 4:10, 1 Corinthians 6:11
God can cleanse you from every sin and make you fit to worship at Christmas and all year round!
THE RESPONSE OF MAN (If ye be willing and obedient…) – Vss. 19-20
Are you willing to be cleansed?
Will you be obedient to confess, forsake, and make things right with others?
If you are willing to be obedient you will prosper spiritually! You will be able to worship and God will accept and be pleased with your worship.
Vs. 20 – If you are not willing to repent, to let God cleanse you, you will suffer judgment.