Summary: This is a liturgical communion service integrating worship, scripture readings, and short sermons.
Call to Worship: Psalm 15 (responsive)
1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, LORD?
Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
3 Those who refuse to gossip
or harm their neighbors
or speak evil of their friends.
4 Those who despise flagrant sinners,
and honor the faithful followers of the LORD,
and keep their promises even when it hurts.
5 Those who lend money without charging interest,
and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.
Such people will stand firm forever.
• Hymn - If My People’s Hearts are Humbled #574
• Scripture: Isaiah 42:18-25
18 “Listen, you who are deaf!
Look and see, you blind!
19 Who is as blind as my own people, my servant?
Who is as deaf as my messenger?
Who is as blind as my chosen people,
the servant of the LORD?
20 You see and recognize what is right
but refuse to act on it.
You hear with your ears,
but you don’t really listen.”
21 Because he is righteous,
the LORD has exalted his glorious law.
22 But his own people have been robbed and plundered,
enslaved, imprisoned, and trapped.
They are fair game for anyone
and have no one to protect them,
no one to take them back home.
23 Who will hear these lessons from the past
and see the ruin that awaits you in the future?
24 Who allowed Israel to be robbed and hurt?
It was the LORD, against whom we sinned,
for the people would not walk in his path,
nor would they obey his law.
25 Therefore, he poured out his fury on them
and destroyed them in battle.
They were enveloped in flames,
but they still refused to understand.
They were consumed by fire,
but they did not learn their lesson.
Message Part 1 – Steve
Conviction of sin is unpleasant, but so is washing out a cut. I remember a time when my son came home from a bike ride, during which he had wiped out on some gravel. It was a pretty ugly road rash – full of dirt and gravel and dried blood. The initial pain of the fall had died down some during the trip the rest of the way home, but now the skin had to be cleaned and that was going to hurt some more. Since it wasn’t hurting much at the moment, and since it was going to hurt some to clean it, Thomas was not eager for me to help. He would have rather I didn’t touch it, just left it alone, cover it up and leave it.
But we know what happens if we do that. It festers. It gets infected. The dirt gets into the wound and it doesn’t heal properly. Left alone, it will get far worse. As a parent I knew that the pain of cleaning out the wound is brief and necessary, and can see the longer term consequences of not dealing with it properly.
As a pastor, I see the same thing. After the initial guilt we feel when we have sinned, we start to feel a little better. We convince ourselves it isn’t so bad, no one was really hurt, the fact that we haven’t prayed or read our Bible or shared our faith hasn’t really done any damage. Like my son with the dirty cut, we’d rather not touch it, just leave it alone, cover it up. But sin festers also. Sin infects us. Sin keeps us from being properly healed. Sin dulls our spiritual senses, it is like wearing really dark sunglasses in a cave, or like having thick padded hearing protectors over our ears when trying to listen for a gentle whisper. And then we wonder why we aren’t seeing and hearing God.
Our journey through Isaiah 40-44 has been mostly about the promises of God, to restore and rescue and redeem. It has been about how great it will be when the wounds are healed. But the cuts have to be cleaned out. So God addresses the issues, in these 7 verses in chapter 42 which we just read.
First we read of deafness and blindness. God, in His frustration, accuses His people of being deaf and blind. The first verses (18-19) are clearly about spiritual deafness and blindness (otherwise it is plain cruel to say “listen” to the deaf and “look and see” to the blind!). And the most convicting verse, in the whole section, that I felt stab into me and I think we should also feel stab into us, is verse 20: “You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear with your ears, but you don’t really listen.” We often think of sin as actions we do which are wrong, like if we got mad and smashed a wall with a baseball bat, or if we got drunk and smashed a car into someone else’s car, or if we stole money out of our parent’s wallet, or if we gossiped. But this is something different, “You see and recognize what is right but refuse to act on it. You hear with your ears, but you don’t really listen.” These are not things we have done which are wrong, but rather things we have not done which are right. The theologians call these “sins of omission”.