Ministry of Love

The intention of this blog is to share Biblical messages at least on a weekly basis. Any response is appreciated. I do not expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of Biblical passages. I will try to respond with love and thoughtfulness.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Human Beings Want to Be Clean! by John.

Human Beings Want to be Clean.
Isaiah 1:18

1. We live in an age of unprecedented cleanliness, at least in this country.
2. People used to take a bath a couple of times a year. Now, it’s frequently twice a day!
3. We spend millions on disinfectants, insecticides, and various other cleansing, purifying agents.
4. We have signs in restaurants, service stations, convenience stores and school washrooms saying attendants must wash their hands before leaving.
5. Plastic gloves are a requirement for many food handlers, and no one thinks of drinking from a cup or glass someone else has used.
6. I still remember when there was a bucket of cold well water in grandma’s kitchen with a dipper either floating in it, or hanging nearby. The whole family, and any thirsty visitors were pointed to that bucket and dipper!
7. Cleanliness is important to us, isn’t it?
8. It has always been important even as far back as Biblical days. It was important in Old English Shakespearean days, too.
9. I remember vividly the account of Lady MacBeth killing the good king Duncan to promote her husband in rank. A single drop of blood fell on her hand. She wiped it away, but that drop of Duncan’s blood haunted her. She washed over and over again, and she finally lost her mind because of the guilt she carried in her heart.
10. She wasn’t a lot different from us. We accumulate sin whether anyone tells us we do or not. As we age, that sin cries out to us like the blood of Abel cried out to God, and we begin to yearn to be cleansed and to be clean! Remember what it is like to shower, wash your hair, and then dress again? Clean! What a wonderful feeling! But it does not compare with the feeling that comes when we know our sins are forgiven, and we stand in newness of life before God and the world.
11. Our human race has no idea what it takes to cleanse a soul of its sin. God knows, and God alone can provide a way for us to be clean.
12. Isaiah cried out the words of God to the people of Israel, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though you sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
13. We usually let that verse stand alone today, but the context is vitally important.

I. The Mosaic Covenant is Conditional, and this is part of it.

1. From v 1, God tells us Israel was rebellious.
2. Then he tells us that their offerings, their holy days and their sacred meetings were worthless!
3. He said He not only did not like them, but that He could not bear them! ill. When I was a very small boy, I loved to go to Denton’s Dairy. They had an ice cream bar. My sister-in-law took me there one day, and she persuaded me to try a strawberry cone. It was delicious, but before we left I was feeling queasy. Before we reached the car, all that I had eaten was on the pavement! For years after that, I could not stand the sight or thought of strawberry ice cream! Folks religious rituals by lost people make God sick at His stomach!
4. After He gave them the promise of v. 18, He followed it with two conditions.
(1) “Willing and obedient.” They needed to decide to do things God’s way. If they did what He commanded they would take to be blessed.
(2) “resist and rebel.” If they resisted and refused to keep God’s commandments, they would perish by the sword!
5. People, none of us can carry out God’s commands as we are! That requires a tremendous change, and a lot of spiritual help!
6. Now let’s look at v. 18. Why do we usually use it alone today?

II. The First Words are an Invitation.

1. “Come now, let us reason together.”
2. That tells us God is stretching His hand out to help us!
3. Most everyone recognizes that truth, but many go astray immediately.
4. There are probably hundreds of popular misconceptions. Let’s look at a few.
(1) If you want to go to heaven, you have to be good!
a. That’s true, but not the way people usually interpret it.
b. We think that we will please God by “being good,” and we interpret that to mean “if we do nothing bad!”
c. The Scripture shows that to be a lie! Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
aa. Did you notice the word “seek?” Doing nothing bad is not seeking God!
bb. Did you notice the first words? You can’t please God without believing in Him!
ill. The rich young ruler who came to Jesus seeking eternal life, already knew that staying away from evil would not get the job done! “Go, and sell all you have, and come follow me” in essence fulfills Hebrews 11:6. Believe and seek! That’s not the Gospel. If he followed Jesus, he would hear the Gospel in time.
(2) Another misconception about our reasoning with God is that God won’t love us if we are bad.
a. How important is love? In I Corinthians 13:13 we find these words, “And now these three remain, faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
b. That’s the essence of that chapter. When we have done all of the good things we can do, if we haven’t done them out of love for God and our fellow people, we failed to please God!
c. Do you remember what Jesus told His disciples? “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34,35).
d. God won’t love us if we are bad? Silly! Probably the best understanding of John 3:16 is: “For God loved the people of the world so much that he sent his only born-son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”
(3) A third misconception. Some, usually among the so-called intelligencia, say, “Well, salvation is really a mystery, and nobody can know for sure that they are going to heaven!” I’ve had many ministers tell me that!
a. It is true that we have not had a single human being go to heaven and come back to give us an account saying the Gospel worked!
b. The problem with this misconception is that it is true, BUT it is misleading.
c. We don’t get to heaven by knowledge, but by faith! Eph. 2:8,9 tells, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast.”
d. Do you remember the parable of Jesus about the rich man who died and left this earth without ever having had any concern for God? (Luke 16:28) “Send Lazarus to my father’s house...” The conclusion of Abraham was, (v. 31) “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead!”
e. Salvation is not a mystery, but it requires your faith to believe God will do what He says He will, then you are ready to accept His invitation to life!

II. When we answer God’s invitation, a miracle takes place.

1. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; thought they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
2. The size and the quantity of our sins may concern us.
(1) We may see ourselves as great sinners, or we may see ourselves as pretty good people.
(2) Regardless of what we think of ourselves, we are sinners, and one price, Jesus, fits all!
(3) If you’ve sinned tremendously, you may appreciate God’s salvation more. In Luke 7:44ff, Jesus said, v 47, “her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
(4) How much God forgives you may make you appreciate your salvation more, but your salvation requires the price Jesus paid, and for those who sin little, God requires exactly the same price!
3. No matter where you come to Jesus from, the result is exactly the same! You are miraculously cleansed of all, that’s right, all of your sins!

III. This invitation applies to us differently than it did to Israel.

1. They were under the Mosaic covenant with the Lord. It was a conditional covenant, and the rest of that chapter deals with the conditions.
2. We are under the new covenant of Jesus, a covenant of grace, and there are no conditions. (Romans 8:1), “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
(1) We come to Jesus just as we are.
(2) He forgives us, saves us, makes us new, and He begins His great work in us that lasts all the way through eternity. ill. I was raised believing that I would be weighed in God’s balances. If there was more evil than good, I would go to hell. I didn’t know any difference until I read the Bible while I was in the Navy in 1946. I read John 5:24, and I believed it! “”I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” I’ve already been weighed in God’s balances, and He has found me good! Not because of what I have done and not done, but because His Son Jesus died on a cross for me and other lost souls like me!
(3) We don’t have to be good to be blessed! We are already blessed, and we are obedient to God because we respond to His love and kindness like the woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears!


1. God’s invitation is still open. “Come now, let us reason together...”
2. Wouldn’t it be a terrible thing to miss this wonderful opportunity?
3. When we are in Jesus, we are cleansed, and we are clean!
4. We are extending God’s invitation to you right now. “Come now, let us reason together!”

ECC 10/9/2005


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