No More Vain Offerings

Video Talk

Ah, Sinful Nation!
Isaiah 1:4-5 ESV

“Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity,
offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the Lord,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.
Why will you still be struck down?
Why will you continue to rebel?
The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.”

Back at the time this was written, this nation was God’s Holy People Israel. They were God’s people by physical birth by being descended from Abraham. So, they were both a physical nation of God’s people as well as they were a spiritual nation, although not all of them trusted in God with genuine obedient faith in the Lord. Some of them probably never had genuine faith in God, while others did, but some were wandering from that faith. And they were doing all sorts of evil, and thus they were forsaking the Lord.

And during the time of the wilderness there were many who died and did not get to enter into God’s eternal rest because of such disobedience (unbelief):

See: [1 Corinthians 10:1-22; Hebrews 3:1-19; Hebrews 4:1-13]

Today God’s holy nation is not a physical nation of people, but it is a spiritual nation of believers in Christ, both Jew and Gentile by physical birth. It is the church, the body of Christ. And in many of their gatherings, at least here in America, there are those who are walking in faithful obedience to the Lord, and there are those who are presently wandering from the faith they once walked in, and there are those who give lip service only to the Lord but who never died with him to sin, and who never walked in his holiness. And there are also those who never have professed faith in Jesus Christ.

God’s holy nation today is the church: [John 8:18-19,38-47; Romans 9:4-8; Galatians 3:16,26-29; Galatians 4:22-31; Ephesians 2:14-18; 1 John 2:22]

Now, although God’s holy people are now a spiritual nation, and not a physical nation, there are physical nations on the earth with a large majority of people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, such as the USA. And so this “sinful nation” being spoken of here, as applied to today, could be speaking both of the church at large in America, and of America as a nation, too, which fits with the biblical description of Babylon. For America, and what appears to be the majority of what is called “church” here in America, fits with what Isaiah was saying here.

So much of what is called “Christian” here in America is so watered down to where it barely resembles what a biblical Christian should look like. There is barely any distinction between the church and the world anymore, and it appears that most people don’t care. The church here in America has become so much like the church of Laodicea as described in Revelation 3:14-22, for so many are neither on fire for the Lord nor are they totally opposed to the Lord. They are spiritually lukewarm, and so they need to repent and turn back to the Lord so that in the end they will be saved.

But it isn’t just that so many are lukewarm Christians (or lukewarm professing Christians), but that so many are living sinful lifestyles, deliberately and habitually sinning against the Lord and against other humans, and seemingly without conscience and without true remorse.

Like Sodom and Gomorrah!
Isaiah 1:9-13 ESV

“If the Lord of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomorrah.
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…

“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…”

When I take a good hard look at my nation from many different perspectives, but especially from a biblical perspective, I can certainly see in my nation what I understand biblically about Sodom and Gomorrah. But let me say this. So many professing Christians are so caught up in going after homosexuality and transgenderism, etc., that they are not seeing nor are they dealing with the sins in their own lives.

For they are like those in Romans 2 who are so busy pointing the finger at others while they are sinning in much the same ways in sexual immorality, adultery, and idolatry. So don’t think that “Sodom and Gomorrah” only applies to those who have same sex relationships or to those who are changing their sex. It applies to all sexual and sinful perversion.

And many Christians (or professing Christians) are presently engaged in sexual immorality of some kind, according to statistics. So, this is huge! So don’t go pointing fingers only at those of same sex relationships and those who are changing their sexes, if you are deliberately and habitually sinning against the Lord, especially in sexual immorality of your own kind. First get that log out of your own eye and then you can see clearly to take the speck out of someone else’s eye.

So, yes, I see America and the church at large in America (not including all congregations) as very close to being like Sodom and Gomorrah. And the reason she is not all the way there is because the Lord has left us with a minority of people who are still walking in holiness and in righteousness, and who are still serving the Lord with their lives, and who are still sharing the truth of the gospel, and not the lies.

But one more thing here. So many people calling themselves “Christians” are going to institutional market-driven “churches” (businesses), or to true fellowships of true believers in Christ, and they are going through the motions of religious practice, but it is not leading them to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ as living sacrifices to God. And they feel God is pleased with them for they “went to church.” But God is not pleased with us if our lives are not surrendered to him and if we are living just like the world.

For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily, and follow him. I believe he is saying that we must deny self, die daily to sin and to self, and to follow him in obedience if we want to be his true followers. For, in essence, what he said next was that if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self that we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Christ we die with him to our old lives of sin and we deny self and we follow him in obedience, then we have life in him. So, surrender your lives to the Lord today (Luke 9:23-26).
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Blessed Be Your Name

by Matt Redman

In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
When I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness

When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s ‘all as it should be’
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering

Blessed be the name of the Lord

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
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