Bring No More Vain Offerings

You People of Gomorrah
Isaiah 1:10-11 ESV

“Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!
‘What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.’”

Sodom and Gomorrah are symbols of extreme human wickedness and depravity, and of gross immorality and sexual idolatry. They were also physical cities, so they also represent physical locations such as towns, cities, and countries (nations). Many times the Lord has shown me my own nation (the USA) like them, in his sight. But this isn’t happening just out there in the world. This is the condition of much of today’s “church.”

Considering that the people in these cities were making sacrifices to God, then it appears that they were also Jews who were God’s people at that time. Now God’s people are those who believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and who have been raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

But much of what is called “church” today, not only is not the church, although some of the church is part of it, but, for the most part, it is actually leading the people of God (or prospective Christians) away from repentance, obedience, holiness, and submission to Christ as Lord. And all this while it is coddling people in their sins and giving them permission to continue in sexual idolatry and wickedness and gross immorality (see Rom 1:18-32).

And I believe the Lord is giving this same message to the church of today which is living in sin and in idolatry and in wickedness while they go through the motions of religious practice. For they usually gather together on Saturdays or Sundays for a time of what they call corporate worship. But oftentimes these gatherings are geared more toward attracting the world and so they are more like gatherings for the purpose of entertainment.

This Trampling of His Courts
Isaiah 1:12-17 ESV

“When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?
Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
Your new moons and your appointed feasts
my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.
When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
seek justice,
correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.”

But the Lord is not interested in your religious practices and how many “church” services you attend a week or what church denominations you belong to. What he wants from us is our lives surrendered to him on his altar as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed in heart and mind away from sin to walks of obedience to our Lord in submission to him as Lord (Master).

He definitely is not interested in our institutional churches of today which are following after the patterns of the world and which are marketing “the church” to the world just like any other business or commodity. He is not pleased with all the stage productions intended to draw in large crowds from the world. He does not delight in pastors who teach lies (half-truths) and who entertain the people and who give people permission to keep sinning.

He is tired and weary of people giving false praise and worship to him while they are still living for themselves to gratify the sinful cravings of their flesh. He is weary of them mouthing words of adoration of him and yet walking away and ignoring him and his commands. That is a lot like a person telling his/her spouse “I love you,” and then turning right around and committing adultery. The words mean nothing if they are not followed with action.

He is weary of hypocrisy and all the play acting and performances intended to make an appearance of faith in him and of worship of him which are nothing but hot air because there is no substance to their claims. For true worship of God is not just singing a bunch of songs in a “worship service.” True worship of God is giving our lives to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our acceptable worship of him (Romans 12:1-2).

What our Lord wants, and what he requires of his followers is that we wash ourselves and make ourselves clean, not that we save ourselves or work to earn our own salvation, but that we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He requires that we die to sin, not just once, but daily, and that we now walk no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit in walks of holiness and righteousness and obedience to him.

[1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 1 Co 10:1-22; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-10; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Let Us Reason Together
Isaiah 1:18-20 ESV

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

We are not saved from our sins merely on a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him he must deny self and take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Jesus we die with him to sin that we might live to him and to his righteousness, we have eternal life (Lu 9:23-26).

True faith in Jesus Christ includes and requires obedience to our Lord (see the list of Scriptures referenced above). For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. For one day we are all going to stand before God, and some people are going to claim they did so many things in his name, and he is going to tell them, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Just like this Old Testament passage teaches, the New Testament teaches the same. If we are willing and obedient to our Lord and to his commands (New Covenant) we will have eternal life with God. But if we refuse and if we rebel and if we decide to continue living in deliberate and habitual sin while claiming Jesus as our Savior and heaven as our eternal destiny, the Scriptures say we will NOT inherit eternal life with God. Please take this seriously. Repent of your sins and walk in obedience to Christ from now on.

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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