Worship – Evangelism – Justice
(1:18 niv) “Come now, let us reason together,” 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.”
· This promise epitomises the hope we have in Jesus
o it’s the what, not the how
o God’s desire for His creation since Genesis 3:6
· “…reason together…” – reason?!
o if it were reason we would be destroyed
o this is God’s reasoning, not ours – his love, not ours
Miroslav Volf – Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving in a World Stripped of Grace, p.130
· The wonder of forgiveness
o scarlet red to whiter than snow or wool
· Tension in the Church between forgiveness and guilt
o “all things are permissible…” (1 Cor 10:23)
Spong: “I am convinced that you don’t become whole by simply suppressing your dark-side but by accepting it as part of your being and redeeming it and living through it.”
o ‘keeping the people in their place’
o staying aware of our sin
· Conviction, not guilt!
o both can motivate – one positively, one negatively
· Holding these in balance, we read: Isaiah 1:10-20
· Reassuring trait for a trainee minister:
o I’d never noticed the context of 1:18 before
o compare with two passages being widely read at the moment
§ Amos 5:21-24
§ Micah 6:6-8
· God is calling us to rediscover the inextricable link between worship and justice
o you cannot separate the two
o to ignore one is to ignore the other (explain)
· Seeing acts of justice as acts of worship
o world as God’s creation
§ what is God doing with His creation?
· restoring it?
§ are we called to join in God’s work?
· for His glory!!!
· Shining like stars
o Philippians 2:12-16a
o the Kingdom
§ what does the Kingdom look like?
§ what does justice look like?
· Lesotho in the summer
o orphans, street children, poverty etc.
§ no moralising!
§ speaking to myself as much as anyone else
o glimpses of the Kingdom
· Often left feeling ‘guilty’ after sermons on justice
o guilt-induced social action
o not exclusively, but frequently
· Romans 8:1 – Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (niv)
o no doubt that by being complicit in western society we have done wrong and put ourselves first
o whatever we may have been or still be guilty of in terms of justice is now white as snow or wool
· What issues of injustice are there around the world?
· What issues of injustice are there in the UK?
· What issues of injustice are there in our communities?
· Isaiah, Amos and Micah (amongst others) present us with an opportunity to see worship in a new way
o to see issues of justice in a new context
§ opportunities to worship through seeking justice
§ opportunities to proclaim the Kingdom of God’s arrival in Jesus Christ through seeking justice
· How are people receiving this? New idea? Sit with it.
· Prayer to close