Summary: True Worship and Its Benefits(Isa 58:1-12)Recognize: Rebellion, Repentance, Reverence, Relationship building, Responsibilities, Resources, Results
True Worship and Its Benefits (Isa 58:1-12)
This morning you will learn how to engage in true worship and experience its maximum benefits. In the first twelve verses in Isaiah 58 we are taught how to:
Recognize: Rebellion, Repentance, Reverence, Relationship building, Responsibilities, Resources, Results. If you listen and obey your life will be enriched in multiple ways.
Illustration:James Michener, writing in his book, The Source, tells the story of a man named Urbaal, who was a farmer living about 2200 B.C. He worshiped two gods, one a god of death, the other a goddess of fertility. One day, the temple priests tell Urbaal to bring his young son to the temple for sacrifice--if he wants good crops. Urbaal obeys, and on the appointed day drags his wife and boy to the scene of the boy’s "religious execution" by fire to the god of death. After the sacrifice of Urbaal’s boy the several others, the priests announce that one of the fathers will spend next week in the temple, with a new temple prostitute. Urbaal’s wife is stunned as she notices a desire written more intensely across his face than she had seen before, and she in overwhelmed to see him eagerly lunge forward when his name is called. The ceremony over, she walks out of the temple with her head swimming, concluding that "if he had different gods, he would have been a different man."
Erwin Lutzer, Pastor to Pastor, p. 89.
1. RECOGNIZE REBELLION: (Isa 58:1-4) The Israelities needed to listen to God, "Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists."
People must realize that anything less than wholehearted worship to the Lord is considered as rebellion against God’s perfect will. The Israelities were angry with God with their self-righteous attitudes expecting the Lord to act as their servant. They failed to humble themselves before the Lord by failing to worship in Spirit and in truth. They thought their fasting would be enough to invoke God’s blessings on their lives. Anything less than complete submission, trust and obedience to the total will of God can be considered as rebellion. We all have blind spots in our lives that need to be recognize by ourselves and other members of the body of Christ. Be open to correction so you can enjoy the fullness of His love, joy and purpose.
Illustration: After attending church one Sunday morning, a little boy knelt at his bedside that night and prayed, "Dear God, we had a good time at church today--but I wish you had been there!"
2. REPENTANCE: The Lord expected the people of Israel to turn from their wicked ways and humble themselves before Him. Repentance means a turning away from sin and turning toward God and His ways. Only when we bow our heads, hearts and feet to the Lord can we experience the full measure of His love, power and freedom. Too many people are still trapped in a web of sin, irrational assumptions and negative thoughts. Only complete contrition to the Lord allows us to come before Him with a clean heart and a willing spirit.
Illustration:Becoming an encourager doesn’t simply meanspeaking in flowery platitudes but criticism should be offered respectfully and prayerfully for the purpose of inspiring another with courage. As an encourager, we learn to be confident of God’s love and understand that unsuitable and even hurtful comments should be lovingly but firmly ignored. With God’s encouragement we can do that. Sometimes we need to understand that it is our choice to accept criticism as valid and have the courage to adjust or reject the comments asinappropriate. The choice is always ours
3. REVERENCE: God wants all of our devotion, submission and respect. He wants us to give Him first place in our day through the study of His word and a prayer life that indicates a desire to share in the divine nature through intimate communion with our heavenly Father. Only through the controlling of the Spirit are we able to stay in a reverent attitude throughout the day, we are unable to do this with out the Spirit’s fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness as it is profitable for all things not only in the life but also in the age to come. (I Tim. 4:7,8)
4. RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: Build relationships with God and to those who you are ministering too out of His love, faith and hope for improvements. Only when people share mutual concerns, hope and ministries are they able to draw closer to one another. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love and peace WITH THOSE who call upon the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Tim. 2:22-24) Surround yourself with other people who want to worship the Lord and serve Him in true, wholehearted acts of kingdom building and righteous ministries.