Summary: This sermon is about letting God clean up your life so you can live for Him.
(This was the first sermon I delivered, on the third Sunday of July 1987.)
Let me start off by giving you a summary of the 64th chapter of Isa. The 64th chapter of Isa. is a prayer. The Jews or God’s chosen people were praying to God for help. They found out and they realized that they had turned their backs on God. You have to understand something about the Jews.
Every time God delivered them out of a bad situation, they would praise Him for a while and then go back and do the same thing until another bad situation came alone. But now they are crying agonizing prayers, for God’s help once more. Now what bothers me is that they knew exactly what they were doing.
They knew that they strayed away from God. They knew they were in sin. Now Let us read Isa. 64:6 "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind have taken us away." (K.J.V.) Now the first part of the verse says.
(A)"But we are all as an unclean thing, . . . " Through the whole history of Israel, from Gen. to Rev., Old Testament and New Testament, everything that God told them not to eat, not to drink, and not to do, were unclean things to the Jews. But now we see that the tables have been turned in this verse, they are calling themselves the unclean thing. But before you say “good for them.” Isaiah through the Holy Spirit is talking to us today. He’s saying the same thing to us today.
What does the word "thing" mean in this verse? The word "thing" has many definitions, and Isaiah is trying to compare us to something. One definition of the word "thing" is "an inanimate object." Somebody might say. Well what is an inanimate object? An inanimate object is something that is lifeless, something that never had life from the beginning.
So therefore the chairs and the organ are inanimate objects. But what we want to know is, what is Isaiah comparing us to? What kind of inanimate object is Isaiah comparing us to? The next part of verse six will explain. (B)" . . . and all our righteousness are as filthy rags;.."
Look at the word "rags." Wouldn’t you say that a rag is an inanimate object, for it’s lifeless, it’s something that never had life from the beginning? So Isaiah is comparing us to a filthy rag, which causes you to become an unclean thing. The filthy rags that Isaiah was refering to was the rags that women used during their menstral cycle. Then someone might say, "Well Rev. E’Lon I would like to disagree with you. Isaiah is not calling me filthy. He said that my righteousness is as filthy rags.”
But you must understand that your righteousness represents you. In this context of scripture your righteousness is the way you live. Righteousness is what you say, and how you walk. Righteousness is your good work.
Eph. 2:10 says "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." What Paul is saying here is that when you were saved, when you were created in Christ Jesus, when you became a new creature, God ordained you to walk in righteousness, God ordained you to do good works. You are not doing good works to get to heaven. You are doing good works became you are already going to heaven. So you can’t tell me that Isaiah did not call you a filthy rag, because your filthy rags, represent you, which causes you to become an unclean thing.
That’s why you need to take your unclean things to God’s Laundromat. Someone may be asking themselves as they sit here and listen to this sermon, "Well if I’m so unclean, and my righteousness is as filthy rags, then how did I get this way? The next part of verse six will explain. (C) " . . . and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away."
When autumn comes and the leaves turn brown and fall off the tree, the next thing that happens is that a strong wind might blow and carry those leaves in all kinds of directions. The wind has taken control of that leaf. You must understand that the leaf (which represents you today who don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior) causes you to wither up and become brown like that leaf, and your sins are like the wind, they came and picked you up and carried you in all kinds of directions.