Date: 3 August, 2014
Text: Isaiah 1:16-20
Title: Soul Cleansing
Theme: How to wash away your sin and enjoy the blessing of God.
Israel is currently fighting against Hamas. Those who look down on Israel must consider what you would do if you lived in Fife and a "foreign country" the size and location of Edinburgh was shooting rockets into your densely populated communities. You and your family are constantly going to shelters. Your enemy has built a complicated series of tunnels with which she could strike at any moment. (She puts her own people in danger by guarding her stockpiles with children and hospitals.)
Israel has an enemy. It is on her mind daily. It is something that she doesn't take lightly and she is very focused on the battle. (SHE DARE NOT FORGET FOR A MINUTE THAT SHE IS IN A BATTLE.)
As believers we need to be aware of the battle that we face daily with sin.
A year ago today we had our HBT team with us. Sarah did the teaching time and had a great statement about sin. "Sin is anytime we say, think or do something that breaks God's law."
One thing we know about sin is that we all have sinned, do sin, and will sin. And SIN is something we daily battle as we seek to please the Lord.
Hebrews 12: 1 ¶ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
4 ¶ Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
exp. Jesus was sinless despite intense temptation and suffering. We have not yet resisted to that extent. But, resist we must with God's grace.
ill. Ebola has broken out on the continent of Africa. There are some simple steps that people can do to help prevent the spreading of this disease.
1.) Be aware of the symptoms of this disease.
2.) Wash hands frequently.
3.) Tell others about the disease.
4.) Limit travel. etc.
app. Even though the disease is complicated the prevention of it has some simple steps which can effectively illiminate it's spread. (That has been the case up till this point in the history of this disease.)
God in His grace has provided a way for us to deal with sin. This morning, what simple steps can we take to have victory over sin.
I. STEP 1: A Careful Cleansing.
A. Avail yourself of the cleansing agent.
16 ¶ Wash you,
ill. When I was in high school we did a fund raiser car wash. When you get ready to wash the car, you need a couple things. You need water and soap. Without those two things, your car wash is vain. We had a great desire to wash cars and make them clean. But without soap and water we would never clean a car.
exp. Many people have a great desire for cleansing. They plead with God to MAKE THEM CLEAN. They may pray for cleansing. They may punish themselves for cleansing. They may try to do a lot of good works to get clean. But, they never get clean because they don't avail themselves of God's soap and water.
note: Physical soap and water do not work on the human soul.
Jer 2:22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.
note: Neither do good works, church attendance, christening, etc.
question: What is God's cleansing agent?
1 John 1:7 ....the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
exp. At the time Isaiah was written the person would go into the ceremonial cleansing and offer a sacrifice for their sins. That sacrifice was a blood sacrifice that pictured the shed blood of the LORD JESUS CHRIST.
song: The song says it well, "What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus."
app. Avail yourself of the cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Get cleaned up.
make you clean;
exp. We are born into this world with the filth of sin and have no inherent cleanliness.
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
exp. From the most gracious stately elderly woman to the roughest most worldly young man, there is a common problem and it is the problem of sin.
Ro 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
exp. NOBODY MEETS GOD'S STANDARD OF CLEANLINESS.
ill. Speaking to the young men at the park and saying, "If you are laughing at this, you think it is foolish and just like this verse says you are on your way to @#!*% ." What I wanted to also tell them is that is the condition of all of us. It's just that the person who mocks doesn't acknowledge that to be the case.
question: How can you "make you clean."
ill. How do we get clean? Painting with Mr. Alec. We get out the cleansing agents and apply them to ourselves.
app. It's not enough to know that the blood of Jesus cleanses, it is only enough to have His blood applied.
Pr 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
C. Be ready for inspectioin.
put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes;
exp. God was calling for cleansing because he could see their failures.
ill. Military Inspections, what is the point?
... many aspects of training and army life have a beneficial effect. During basic this includes such seemingly mad requirements such as folding and stacking clothes in particular ways, having recruits' entire lockers laid out in precise ways ('the locker layout'), having exceptionally clean rooms, selves, blocks and equipment. All this builds towards making sure a soldier can slip into the perfectionist, obedient mentality required of anyone who has to sometimes perform mission-critical tasks as part of daily routine. All the inspections, which appear to merely test soldiers' patience, in addition provides background training to enable soldiers to carefully and consistently carry out safety procedures.
exp. When the commander inspects the troops he does so with an eye towards their best performance on the field of duty. He is far more critical because he knows the dangers that await the soldier on the field of battle.
app. God isn't against you this morning. His inspection is for His glory and for your protection. We ought to do our best to daily pass the test of his piercing gaze.
D. Seperate from future sin.
cease to do evil;
exp. The best way to stay clean as a Christian is to stay away from sin.
1. Leave it.
II Corinthians 6: 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
ill. Tough Mudder competition: Dalkeith Country Park, "Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile obstacle course designed to test al-around strength, stamina, teamwork, and mental grit. Tough Mudder is Probably the toughest even on the planet. Probably." We saw people leaving the event and they were filthy. If you don't want to get dirty, get out of the field.
app. To be clean we must leave sinful habits.
2. Avoid it.
Pr 27:12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
ill. Mounaineering and risk. Ted Lemon's article (Begings by telling stories about people he met who knew climbers who had just died or had almost died themselves.) So mountaineers think a lot about risk. They even divide it up into two categories: objective risk, and subjective risk. When I was researching mountaineering, I found this topic quite fascinating. Subjective risk here means "risk that is caused by the person experiencing it," whereas objective risk means "risk that exists independent of the person experiencing it." Mistakes are subjective. Acts of nature are objective. Trusting an anchor you have set yourself, and tested carefully, is a subjective risk - whether you live or die depends on how well you evaluated the situation. Trusting that you will not be blown off the face of the mountain by an avalanche is an objective risk - you have no real control over whether an avalanche happens. If the way to the summit involves crossing under a snowfield, you just have to risk it.
So why am I writing about this? When I was reading all these books, I thought to myself, "I am not going to expose myself to objective risks. I am going to be smart, and not make any mistakes, and not take any risks that depend on parameters I can't control." I wound up not climbing, which was probably the right choice, but I think I'm not alone in thinking this way.
app. If we want to be clean we need to assess the danger and avoid it.
Transition: We need A CAREFUL CLEANSING....
II. STEP 2: A Practical Repentance.
A. Study righteous living.
17 Learn to do well;
question: How would someone learn to do well?
ill. We enjoyed watching a glass blowing demonstration online recently. It was fascinating and something I'll never get a chance to do. But, if a young man wanted to do well at glass blowing what should he do? He needs to be educated through books, classroom, and mentors in the art of glass blowing. If I wanted to learn to do well in righteoust living, what should I do.
Study the manual: Bible: Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Be faithfully in church: Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Get a mentor. 2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
app. Righteous living doesn't happen without thought. We need to learn to do well.
B. Seek justice.
exp. There was to be no participation whatsoever in corruption. They were to take part in society with justice. They were to be men and women of integrity.
ill. Injustices about in our society.
· Innocent babies are killed in the womb.
· People get all the money they can from the government by lying about their circumstances or avoiding finding a solution to their problems.
· People avoid taxes by deceit.
· Mosque bacon attack - get 1 year in prison, man who steals cars and brags about it on facebook gets 100 hours community service.
app. Believers are to have no part in corrupt judgment.
C. Care for the weak.
relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
exp. The Bible has much to say about financially assisting the poor.
Ga 2:10 Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.
Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
app. The church originally had the care of the needy. Sadly the government took that responsability and rather than helping hurtinig people to God they are giving people a sense of entitlement. Part of right living is being generous and caring for those in need. (enslaved, orphaned, bereaved.)
transition: We need a careful cleansing, a practical repentance...
III. STEP 3: A Transparent Conversation.
A. Between you and God.
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:
song: "Now let us, have a little talk with Jesus, let us tell all about our troubles, He will hear our faintest cry and He will answer by and by."
exp. God's cleansing is not impersonal. He is willing to talk you through it. He wanted Israel to meet with Him on this issue of purification. There is great cleansing available to those who will come face to face with God.
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
ill. Hearing the accounts from the Isle of Lewis - they said revival was coming into the very presence of God.
ill. Isaiah 6:5-7 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
app. You can't meet with God and come away with your sin. God was there ready to meet with them and he's willing to meet with us.
B. Sin can be completely forgiven and cleansed.
...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
exp. It is a joy to see a stain removed from something of precious value. A burden is lifted. A weight is taken away.
ill. John Bunyan - described our cleansing in that way as Pilgrim went through life. "Now I saw in my dream, that the highway up which CHRISTIAN was to go was fenced on either side with a wall; and that wall was called "Salvation".
"In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks." Isaiah 26:1
Up this way, therefore, did burdened CHRISTIAN run; but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.
He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a Cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as CHRISTIAN came up to the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble; and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.
Then was CHRISTIAN glad and lightsome, and said, with a merry heart,
"He hath given me rest by his sorrow,
And life by his death."
Then he stood still awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him, that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks." Pilgrim's Progress
app. "Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power are you washed in the blood of the lamb?" Why not have that transparent conversation with God?
IV. STEP 4: A Chosen End.
A. Repentance is a choice.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
exp. A blessed life is only a decision away from any sinner.
question: Why was Israel in the dirty condition she was in? by choice. How were they to get out of it? Change their mind and repent.
Mr 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
app. Are you willing to deal with your sin this morning? God wants to give you the good of the land but it is conditioned upon your willing obedience. Sadly.....
B. Rebellion is the result of not repenting.
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
ill. Sadly Israel didn't respond and get ready for God's inspection.
Isa 65:12 Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose that wherein I delighted not.
Isa 66:4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.
app. God is not going to let us get away with a life of sinful rebellion against him. He will judge as He has promised. But, there is a window of mercy for those wise enough to take it. What kind of cleansing do we need?
Israel's war will continue as long as Hamas continues to attack her. Our war with sin will continue until we can no longer be tempted. It is dangerous like Ebola and can destroy our lives. But, there are steps we can take to live a life of victory over sin.
A careful cleansing. (of sin.)
A practical repentance. (of putting off and putting on.)
A transparent conversation. (with God.) (Murray's quote in bulletin)
A chosen end. (Our choice.)