Isaiah 58:1-12 Psalm 112:1-10 Matthew 5:13-20 February 9, 2014
There are times when you come to worship and it is like “you have lost that lovin’ feelin’.” There are other times when you come to worship that you are hoping someone plays a country music song backwards. There might even be times when you come to worship that you are having a “total eclipse of the heart.”
However, there are times we want to leave worship feeling like we have the “eye of the tiger.” We may even feel like “we are the champions.” Then we there are times that we are rolling out of the sanctuary thinking, “Let’s get it started.”
What happens in the interval? How can we go from feeling down to being ready to conquer the world? Maybe it is the process we go through during worship. We have entered the sanctuary to praise God, pray to him about our concerns, and have heard God’s word for us. So, we are going out of here. But how are we going out of here?
We are going out of here, remembering who we are. We are going out of here ready to live as God’s people.
- Who are we? We are salt and light (Matthew 5:13-20)
- We bring flavor to this world
- We shed light in this dark world
- We fear the Lord (Psalm 112:1)
- We are looking to do righteousness and justice (Psalm 112:3, 5)
- We are steady and we give freely (Psalm 112:8, 9)
- We are this way because of what God has already done in our lives. We gain this sense of who we are because of the God we serve. The Lord God has done well for us in the past. He has blessed us. So, we can have confidence in God to work in our lives in the future. But, then again, there is the fact that this confidence is not lived in our lives. We are going through the rituals of worship, even quite faithfully. How do we get from this place, this place of being confident in the Lord God, to seeing results in our lives?
- In other words, what difference does our being righteous make? (Isaiah 58:1-12)
- The sentinel has a message for us from the mouth of the Lord (58:14)
- When we go through the routine/ritual, we get nothing out of it
- Does our fasting, going through the ritual change our actions? (58:4)
- God wants us to do these actions after being in his presence through fasting (even worship!) (6-8)
- Loose the bonds of injustice
- Undo the thongs of the yoke
- Break every yoke – making the oppressed go free
- Share our bread with the hungry
- Bring the homeless poor into our homes
- Cover the naked
- Not hide ourselves from our own kin
- God wants us to be known as repairers & restorers (58:12)
- Think of someone other than yourself (58:9b-11)
- Put God and his ways first in your life
- Remove your iniquities/sins from between you & God (59:2-8)
- Like AA members, we cannot remove the sickness we have without God’s help! Yet, we confess our sins to God!
- We are dependent upon God’s strength to overcome sin (59:16-20)
- We turn from our transgressions, we turn to God! (59:21) – then we
- We turn to God in these 2 ways
- We get baptized – It is the claim of God upon us, and our commitment to the church!
- We receive Holy Communion – It is a time we can remember Jesus Christ and gain the power to live like Jesus
- We have problems if our knowing God doesn’t change our perspective and our work. I heard on K-Love a story about an elementary boy who made rubber band bracelets, sold them, and use the $150 he had raised to provide lunch money for two sisters at his school! This boy was living out what he heard from the Bible. What can we do after we hear God’s word?
Does being in worship really make a difference in our lives? You know the answer to that question. You know because you know that do feed the hungry; you do help the oppressed; you do repair the breaks in the lives around you.
Wait a minute! You are doing these tasks set out in Isaiah 58? You are not doing the tasks set out in Isaiah 58? Then what is stopping you? It is our sins that are holding us back. As you confess your sins, God lets you loose to be the salt of the earth and the light of the nations. We are given the power to live life; to help the poor; to break our neighbors from bondage to sin and addictions. So, after we receive Holy Communion, let us be going out of here. Let us go to those who need salt and light. Let us go to those who are oppressed. Let us go to those being treated unjustly. Let us go to those who burden by yokes, and let us break those yokes!
We don’t want to just make a difference. We want to repair and to restore our world. So, do whatever you need to in confessing your sins. Then, let’s go out of here seeking those who need to know God!