Summary: Part 2 of the Finding Purpose series looks at how everything we are and are to become starts with prayer.
Part 2 – It All Begins with Prayer
† SCRIPTURE READING
Isaiah 56:1 – 7
In Isaiah chapter 56, God gives us a glimpse of His plan for all the people, not just the Israelites. Even those who were excluded from worship or not considered citizens in Israel, God’s blessings are for them as well. But listen to what He says in verse 7 when He is describing where they were to worship.
“All who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it
And who hold fast to my covenant-
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain
And give them joy in my house of prayer.
Their burnt offerings and sacrifices
Will be accepted on my altar;
For my house will be called
a house of prayer for all nations."
Last week we began our series on finding purpose. We talked about the week of renewal and how that has affected us and our church. We also outlined the direction of the next few weeks for us where we’ll examining where we are, where God wants us, what steps we need to take to get there, as well as what tools God has made available for us to do this.
This week were focusing on prayer. Our journey, our first step begins with prayer.
“My house will be called a house of prayer for ALL nations.”
Jesus reminded us of this scripture when cleaning out the temple in the New Testament.
† Matthew 21:12, 13
“12Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13“It is written,” he said to them, “ ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[e] but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.’[f]”
So what was the problem here? Well, this was the second time that Jesus had cleared the temple. The first time was in John 2:13-17. They set up booths in the court of the Gentiles, and they were taking advantage of the foreigners coming to worship. The commercialism in God’s house ended up frustrating people’s attempts to worship, thus they were standing between God and the people. This really angered Jesus. Anything that comes between us worshipping God should be stopped!
Jesus was once again rebuking with scripture to the ones who knew scripture. Using the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.
The merchants took the focus of worshipping God in truth and spirit because they caused the Gentiles who came to worship to be upset about being ripped off. This was their example of God now.
We are to be living examples of God’s word. When someone does not know God, they get their impression of who God is by how we live.
That’s why it is so important to walk the walk, especially if we are talking the talk.
So God wants His house to be called a house of prayer for all nations!
There are other ways to come between people trying to worship God in His house. There are ways that we can come between people trying to come here to worship God. And if it upset Jesus then, you know it upsets Him now.
Now, today we don’t have sacrifices because the sacrifices in the Old Testament were just foreshadowing for the people so they would understand what it was Jesus was doing when He died for us on the cross. But we are to be a living sacrifice for the Lord. We are to crucify our flesh daily so that the spirit of God can dwell in us.
This is why new people come to worship, to find the way. They come here to sacrifice in another sense. They come here o worship God.
But sometimes we come between them and their worship. This causes people to dislike certain denominations, or types of services, or church all together.
This is why it is important to live what we as Christians preach. Not just outside the church, but most of all INSIDE the church. Because this is where the new people first come to worship, and we better be walking the talk.
† Jeremiah 7:1 – 11
“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD :
2 "Stand at the gate of the LORD’s house and there proclaim this message:
" ’Hear the word of the LORD , all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD . 3 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, "This is the temple of the LORD , the temple of the LORD , the temple of the LORD !"