It couldn't be clearer. Throughout the book of Isaiah we have heard God’s gracious invitations.
“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 like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Is 1:18)
“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Is 43:25)
Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. (Is 44:21-22)
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Is 55:6-7)
For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit would grow faint before me, and the breath of life that I made. Because of the iniquity of his unjust gain I was angry, I struck him; I hid my face and was angry, but he went on backsliding in the way of his own heart. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and his mourners, creating the fruit of the lips. Peace, peace, to the far and to the near,” says the LORD, “and I will heal him. (Is 57:15-19)
God is gracious to offer to heal, us to revive us and give us peace. But before we can be cleansed and healed we must acknowledge our need.
Thankfully God’s grace that revives also reveals. God’s mercy includes showing us the reality of our hearts. Isaiah 57:11 summarizes it well: Whom did you dread and fear, so that you lied, and did not remember me, did not lay it to heart? Have I not held my peace, even for a long time, and you do not fear me? Isaiah says we do not fear God as we should. We lie to him, others and ourselves. We fail to remember God and we don't esteem him as we should.
I have spent some time this week considering these two quotes from John Piper and Alvin Reid. As you prepare for worship this Sunday I encourage you to take some time to consider these thoughts in light of God’s revealing and reviving grace.
“Sin is the glory of God not honored, the holiness of God not reverenced, the greatness of God not admired, the power of God not praised, the truth of God not sought, the wisdom of God not esteemed, the beauty of God not treasured, the goodness of God not savored, the faithfulness of God not trusted, the promises of God not believed, the commandments of God not obeyed, the justice of God not respected, the wrath of God not feared, the grace of God not cherished, the presence of God not prized, the person of God not loved.” John Piper
In our current book study Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out Alvin Reid says, “all of us are excellent evangelists for the things that matter most to us.” Hence, one of the reasons we don't share Jesus with others as we should is because we’ve “gotten over” the amazement of the gospel.
Preaching the gospel to ourselves using these four points will help us get over “getting over” God’s amazing grace.
1. God is great, so I don't have to be in control. He is sovereign and He has the power to save. But we are all control freaks who are guilty of not trusting him. Of this sin we need to repent.
2. God is glorious, so i don't have to fear others. But all of us, at some level, are people pleasers. We fear man more God, and more often than not wanting the approval of others is the primary motivation for what we do. Of this sin we need to repent.
3. God is good, so i don't have to look elsewhere. Temptation can be powerful, but the moment we choose to sin we are in that moment saying what we want is better than what God has for us. We don't believe God is good. Of this sin we need to repent.
4. God is gracious, so i don't have to prove myself. The culture says success is based on my performance plus other people’s opinion of me. We have been forgiven completely by the one we have offended immensely. We need to be living our lives for the approval of One. Not doing so is unbelief. Of this sin we need to repent. (Adapted from Sharing Jesus Without Freaking Out, p 37-38)
I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday.