Summary: Even though we once looked hideous to God in our sin, when we look to God and to Christ in faith, we look perfect and holy. Now we look for opportunities to hold up Jesus to be clearly seen by others.
The World is Saved by Its Good Looks
Sermon based on Isaiah 45:22
Sunday, June 24, 2007 – Pentecost 4C (Evangelism 4)
A church member canvassing the neighborhood came to one door and asked the attractive woman who answered if she was saved. “Yup,” the woman answered, “I sure am.” “Well, how do you know? I mean, what makes you so sure that you’re saved?” the canvasser prodded. “Well,” the woman responded, “I know I’m saved because of my good looks.” “Because of your good looks?! You expect to get to heaven because of your good looks? No offense, lady, but you’re not that good looking.”
“I know it sounds arrogant,” she replied, “But let me explain. You see, I used to be concerned with only how I looked. I would look only to my own interests and looked at other people to see how I could use them. Those were all bad looks. But then, with the help of a friend, I took a look into the Bible. That was a good look! There by the work of the Holy Spirit, I learned what Jesus has done for me. Now I look to him in faith (another good look) and I know that I’m saved. So you see, I’m saved because of my good looks.
Dear friends, this morning as we conclude our evangelism emphasis, we take a look at a beautiful verse in the middle of Isaiah. Here we’re reminded that we, and the whole world, are saved by such good looks. Even though on our own we once looked hideous to God in the filth of our sin, when we look to him in faith, and look to our Savior, Jesus, we look perfect and holy to God. And we look for opportunities to share this good news with others. Listen to Isaiah 45:22:
“Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” (NKJV)
I. How We Look to God
Now, if you were following along in your bulletin, you noticed that what I read was different than what’s printed there. There it reads, “Turn to me, and be saved…” That’s how the NIV translates the verse. But what I read is from the New King James Version. It’s translated exactly the same except for the first word. There they translate the Hebrew, panah, literally “turn,” with the word “look.” “Look to Me and be saved.” This, is how someone is saved. Not by what they do, but how they look.
Now don’t get me wrong. No one is saved by their appearance. That could never be because on our own, we don’t look very attractive to God. As a matter of fact, covered in the filth of our sins, the way we look to God, we’re not just ugly, we were hideous to him. We’re hideous to a holy and sinless God because of the way we look.
You see, when we look at something which God forbids and simply entertain the idea of serving ourselves instead of him, we sin just like Eve did. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” (Genesis 3:6a)
When we desire things that God has told us we can’t have, we ruin everything with just one look, just like Lot’s wife did. The angel said to Lot and his family, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! …But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” (Genesis 19:17,26)
When we let our eyes wander like King David’s did we fall into sin. “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her.” (2 Samuel 11:2-3) And you know the rest of the story.
Jesus points out that because of the way we look with our eyes, we look like the worst of sinners to God. He said, “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) Because of the way we look with our eyes, we are covered in sin, and we look disgusting to God.
And if we look to our own will-power to improve, it won’t work. If we look to self-help books or programs, they won’t work. If we look to our deeds to try to seem attractive to God, they can’t improve our appearance before him.
No matter where we look there’s no solution to our dilemma… but one. That’s why God said through Isaiah, “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.”