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Summary: The type of worship or religious practice that pleases God comes from a sincere heart and is directly connected to the way we live every day.

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Mechanical Religion or Heartfelt Obedience?

Isaiah 58:1-8 with Matthew 6:1-4, 16-23

1. Some of the most successful leaders, politicians, or business persons are some of the worst family members. Workaholics, driven, or impossible people, but they get the work done, and many of them are quite famous.

2. They make our lives better, but you wouldn’t want them in your family.

3. When it comes to being a Christian not allowed to segment ourselves. We may be more “secular” in our jobs or among our lost family members than we would be with fellow believers, but we still must adhere to Christian ethics and conduct.

4. God does not want our lip service, he want our hearts, our selves. He has no tolerance for mechanical religion; he will not be controlled or manipulated. We can obey him, but we can do him no favors. We owe him total allegiance by birth.

Main idea: The type of worship or religious practice that pleases God comes from a sincere heart and is directly connected to the way we live every day.

I. A Contrast in TRUMPETS (1-2)

A. God trumpets displeasure, hypocrites trumpet ATTENTION (1)

“Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. (Matt. 6:1-2)

1. While God is trumpeting his displeasure, we may not hear because we are tooting our own horns.

2. Many sins are committed in the name of religion and worship

3. Another example of how humility & love can protect us...

B. MECHANICAL religion is hypocrisy (2)

1. This is why many people are repelled from church — they have a point

2. One way within the church building walls, another in parking lot

3. Can puff one up, gives the illusion of being spiritual

4. Church and Jesus are added on to a sinful perspective on life; God wants to displace that sinful perspective with this perspective

Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God.

The type of worship or religious practice that pleases God comes from a sincere heart and is directly connected to the way we live every day.

II. A Contrast in FASTING (3-5)

A. The Law commanded fasting only on YOM KIPPUR (Leviticus 16:29)

B. The practice of associated with BROKENNESS

1. Skipping a meal for a day or part of a day to examine heart, repent

2. Or when you are sorely burdened and waiting on God to do something

3. But to institutionalize this is not good…it becomes empty and devoid

C. The people in Isaiah’s day used fasting to MANIPULATE God (3)

‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.

D. God was more concerned about their daily CONDUCT (4-5)

1. It made them grouchy

2. Childhood barbecues…

Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord?

E. The hypocrites is Jesus’ day used fasting to gain social PRESTIGE

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. [Matthew 6:16-18]

Application: Who are we out to impress? We cannot impress God. When others want you to play the “I’m spiritual” game, don’t join in. Proverbs 20:6 read, “Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find?”

The type of worship or religious practice that pleases God comes from a sincere heart and is directly connected to the way we live every day.

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