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(08-03-01) Justice

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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 VolfFree 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

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

glimpses of the Kingdom

·      Often left feeling ‘guilty’ after sermons on justice

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

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