23(Isaiah 01,18-20) Removing the Stains of the Past
1. Read Isaiah 1:18-20.
2. Story of man who brutalized child. Bloodied hands.
3. Shock you this morning to understand why God is repulsed at some of our worship.
4. Israel wondered why their prayers went unanswered. Why was God not blessing them. Why did their future seemed cursed.
5. They were given a choice: a blessing or a curse (Deut. 18). They chose rebellion. (2-6)
6. It wasn’t that they quit going to the temple. They did not quit sacrificing, praying, etc.
7. But they had grown comfortable with religion, and lost sight of their stains. (11-15).
8. God is appalled at the sight of people coming into his house of worship with filth.
9. He compares unresolved sin with a red stain. You can’t wash away that stain. It goes with you. It alters your appearance.
10. I have counseled with people fighting addictions in their life. They tried rehab, and they have tried religion. But still no solution.
I. How Religion Appears to God.
12 "When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts?
13 Bring no more 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 meeting.
14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them.
The red stain that will not go away. You can try to wash and wash, but it still is there. It has altered, in some cases ruined, what was intended.
Some may be stained with the sin of addiction. You say you are in control, or maybe you are not. You have tried overcoming it again and again. Why do you continue to fail? Try as you might, you can’t get rid of that stain upon your life.
You may have even tried religion, even tried church. You made a profession of faith. You have given of your time, your treasures, your talents. But the stain and its effects are still there. (12-14).
15 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.
Maybe you have gone to the Lord in prayer, even multiple times, and yet the stain is still there. (15).
II. What is Our requirement to Appeal to God.
16 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil,
17 Learn to do good; seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Is there a way to get that stain removed from your life? Yes, there is. The Lord says you must wash that stain from your life, put away the evil that stains your life. He even commands you to remove it. (16).
III. What is God’s Reasonable Approach?
18 "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.
The Lord says, “Let’s reason this out.” By this He means that there is a solution, if you are willing to give it a try.
He even promises that the impossible can be done, that those sins, even though they have stained you with a scarlet, crimson-red stain, those very stains can be completely removed.
For the Christian, mere contact with this world creates a need for cleansing. (John 13:10)
IV. Our Responsive answer/attitude.
19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword"; For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. NKJV
When an observatory is about to be built, the site selected is always on some high mountain. The aim is to find a place where there is a clear, unobstructed view of the heavens. Similarly, faith requires for its heavenly vision the highlands of holiness and separation, the pure sky of a consecrated life.