As If

Sunday, July 13, 2014, 8:09 p.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “To Be Like Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 58 (NIV).

Our Rebellion

“Shout it aloud, do not hold back.
Raise your voice like a trumpet.
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.
For day after day they seek me out;
they seem eager to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that does what is right
and has not forsaken the commands of its God.
They ask me for just decisions
and seem eager for God to come near them.
‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’ ~ Is. 58:1-3a

Rebellion is “opposition to or defiance of authority or accepted moral codes” (Encarta). God’s people today are his church, the Body of Christ. So, today this is speaking to followers of Jesus Christ who are living in and/or who are acting (behaving) in opposition to or in defiance of the Lord and his commands (teachings; instructions) found in scripture. Many appear to be seeking the Lord, eager to know his ways, as if they are a people who obey him and who have not forsaken him or his commands. They may be people who seem zealous for God and for the church, and they may even sacrifice much time, money and energies in service within the church or within the community. And, so they call upon the Lord in prayer, but to no avail, and then they ask God why he is not answering.

Our Selfishness

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord? ~ Is. 58:3b-5

So, in what ways do we rebel against God/Jesus? The Bible says that to him who knows the good he ought to do, but he does not do it, to him it is sin. It also says that disobedience to Christ and to his teachings is sin. So, if we consciously don’t do what we know we ought to do, i.e. if we resist the Holy Spirit, and if we willfully do what we know we ought not to do, then that is rebellion against God/Jesus. As well, if we choose to ignore the teachings of Christ, and we choose to go our own way and do what we want, that is also rebellion against God/Jesus. This can be played out in our lives in so many ways, too – in gossip, lies, deceit, sexual immorality, placating sin, being entertained by other people’s sins, overeating, bad attitudes, selfishness, and idolatry – the giving of our hearts, emotions, passion, thoughts, time and talents to other “gods” in place of or over and above our commitments, devotion, affections, attention and obedience to our only God/Jesus.

Our Healing

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. ~ Is. 58:6-9a

God is not interested in what we are willing to do FOR HIM of our own accord, i.e. what we pick and choose to do in place of obedience to what he wants us to do. So many Christians will ignore the call of God upon their lives for specific service, because they are not willing to do what God is calling them to do, perhaps because it is not popular, acceptable, or praise worthy to humankind. Jonah is an example of one who resisted the call of God upon his life. Others may ignore what they know scripture teaches concerning how they are to live their lives each day, in the power and working of the Spirit within them, because they want to go their own way and to do their own thing, and so God just gets the leftovers.

Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins so that we could be free from slavery to sin, and so we would walk in his righteousness and holiness. He died so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). His grace teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled and upright lives in this present age while we wait for our Lord’s return (See Tit. 2:11-14). Coming to Christ means we die to our old lives of living for sin and self, we are transformed of the Spirit of God into new creations in Christ Jesus, and we now walk daily in His holiness and righteousness (See Ro. 6-8; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 4:17-24; and 1 Jn. 1-5). Our lives are no longer our own. We were bought with a price. Therefore we are to honor God with our lives.

Instead of participating in or pacifying sin, or allowing ourselves to be entertained by it via TV shows, movies, music, the internet, social media, etc., we should be about the Lord’s work in sharing the gospel of salvation and in helping our brothers and sisters in Christ to be free from their sins which so easily entangle them. We should be teaching what the word of God teaches about sin, and how we as believers are supposed to be set apart (unlike; different) from the world of sin, and how we are to be set apart to God and to his service. This should be what we are primarily about – seeing others be set free from slavery to sin and seeing them walk in obedience to Christ Jesus in his holiness and righteousness. Yet, we should also be about helping the needy, providing for legitimate needs, caring for those who are hurting, comforting the oppressed, and taking care of our own family.

When we are walking in obedience to our Lord, and we are doing what he has called us to do, we will know the power of divine healing in our lives, we will walk in the ways of the Lord, and our Lord will lead us, guide us and watch over our steps all the way. Then, we will call and he will answer. He will hear our cries for help, and he will be there to give us aid.

Our Revival

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. ~ Is. 58:9b-12

The Lord Jesus is calling out to his wayward church who are living in rebellion against him; in opposition to or in defiance of the Lord and his commands (teachings; instructions) found in scripture. He is calling to them to forsake their idolatry and their rebellion, and to return to him to follow in his ways. Then they will be for the praise of his glory and their lights will shine before mankind so that many will know the way of salvation. God will satisfy all their needs and he will give them all the strength they need to do what he has called them to do. And, he will revive his church and will rebuild his church to be what he created her to be.

To Be Like Him / An Original Work
March 16, 2014 / Based off Scripture

Crucified you are with Jesus.
To be like Him, oh, you’ll be,
Because He died at Calv’ry,
So from sin you’d be free.
Oh, what joy He brings into your life,
Giving life with Him endlessly.

Oh, what plans He has for your life.
Share the gospel faithfully.
Show the people He loves them.
Now His witness you’ll be.
Tell the world of sin about Jesus,
How He died for them on a tree.

Purifying hearts, He saves them,
Who believe on Christ, God’s Son.
Turning now from their idols,
New lives they have begun.
Jesus saves from sin; we’re forgiven.
Over sin, the vict’ry He won!

When He comes again to take us
To be with Him evermore,
There will be no more crying.
Gladness will be in store.
Heavens joys will now overtake us:
We’ll be with our Lord evermore.