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Summary: Isaiah warns us of several pitfalls into which the people of Judah fell and into which we can fall! Let’s look at some of these pitfalls, and then look at the way to come out of them. So let’s look at the negative, and then the positive.

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Detours off the Straight and Narrow

Isaiah 29-30

Intro

1. Life has many problems...

2. Some people seem to attract trouble

3. All of us, though, fight a constant battle, continuing to grow in the Lord.... It is easy to get stagnant.

4. There is no once and for all fix, outside of death...

5. Shoots and Ladders game (down quickly, up gradually)

PROP: On the positive side, we must make ourselves available to God by cultivating our spiritual lives...on the negative side, we must guard against pitfalls...

TS------------>Isaiah warns us of several pitfalls into which the people of Judah fell and into which we can fall! Let’s look at some of these pitfalls, and then look at the way to come out of them. So let’s look at the negative, and then the positive.

I. The Pitfalls (Shoots)

1. Externalism (29:13-14)

(1.) Words without heart, songs w/out meaning, prayers vainly recited...

(2.) Jesus quoted this and added to it...

---Matt. 6:7-15

(3.) Religion or truth? Verbiage or sincerity? "spirit and truth..."

(4.) God is still a mystery (14)

---Deut . 29:29

(5.) God wants all of us.... Love Him with all our heart, mind, strength, will....everything....

2. Neglecting to Consult God (30:1)

(1) I have seen disaster upon disaster because Christians who knew better did not take time to consult God...

(2) Cause: stubbornness (not a virtue!)

(3) Families destroyed---switched jobs, houses, churches, careers w/out consulting God in an open fashion (willing to do His will, no matter what!); you don’t just DO THINGS when you are a Christian; a Christian is a servant, and He is always to check with his Master, not just walk through open doors...

--Example: my tribune columns...

3. Valuing Comfort above Growth (30:10-11)

(1) Making sure we only hear pleasant things (me and movies, etc.)

--Persecuted church,

Difficult doctrines,

Cults, false teachings

The realities of our depraved society...

(2) We sometimes need to be confronted.... A passage, a brother...

(3) Growing pains (legs) growth can be a painful, slow process...

II. The Ladder: Fostering Growth (30:15, 18)

1. Repentance (15)

---Saved only once, but repentance is a constant quality to develop...

2. Rest, quietness, trust...(15)

----Speaks of the simplicity of our walk with the Lord.... No big production needed.... Just constancy

-----The secret is in the daily routine, not mountain top experiences

----James 4:10---humbling ourselves....

3. Adjusting our view of God (18)

(1) We distance ourselves form God because we do not trust Him; we feel He is out to get us

(2) We think we can get along without Him

(3) Important to renew our mind in Scripture....

(4) The "ladder" IS NOT fast or exciting, like the shoot!

4. If Satan can confuse our perception of God, he has gained an important victory in our lives...

--We do not think He cares about our decisions/lives

(1) We distance ourselves form God because we do not trust Him, we feel he exists to make us miserable, to take the joy out of life...

(2) Many of us have an authority problem: #2 reason, I think, people do not discipline their kids (#1--they do not care)...

(3) Authority is not bad.... Good dad.... Military slogan, "One idiot in charge is better than a committee of geniuses..."

(4) God enjoys blessing us....


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