August 18, 2015

Living Between Two Realities

By: Anthony Mathenia Topics: Uncategorized Scripture: Isaiah 2:1-9

Living Between Two Realities (Isaiah 2:1-9)
Sermon Link

God’s People Under Judgment

When Christ’s church is in a state of such decline that it is no longer able to function as salt and light, leaving the culture around her free to pursue a self-destructive course at an alarming pace, then the Lord will enter into judgment. When the church is under judgment, we often follow the pattern of the Israelites, thinking that the cure to our problems is more religious activity. While we point to those people out there that are making ungodly decisions, we continue to add religion to our life, all the while secretly holding onto our favorite sins. The first chapter of Isaiah ends with a detailed description of the refining judgment of God on His people and His avenging of hypocrites. Yet God promises that there will be a wonderful restoration of His people in the Last Days, the days in which we are now living.

The People of God (2:1-4)

These verses show the great dawn of hope for the church. God’s people are pictured as those that enjoy God’s nearness. It is especially clear in the New Testament that the fulfillment of this promise is the church, the temple of the Holy Spirit. The promise of God’s nearness is fulfilled in the Christian’s life. Through His people, God promises to exalt Himself above all competitors, as a great mountain lifted high above all others that would attempt to exalt themselves against Him. Through His people, God promises to supernaturally draw people from all nations to Himself as He sends His Gospel forth through the church. As a result, there will be widespread, willing surrender to Christ and true transformation.

– God’s plan for His church is to attract the Lost through their lives and to carry the Gospel to all the world through their witness. How should your life be adjusted in light of a right understanding of God’s plan for His church?

The Present Reality (2:6-9)

Like Isaiah would have thought in his day, we also might find all of this hard to believe. The present realities seem to contradict God’s plans for His people. In Isaiah’s day, while the pagan nations were experiencing the blessing of God, God’s own people were diving further and further into corruption. We see much of the same in American religion today, as we pursue anything but God and obey any voice and trust any arm but His. We will one day be embarrassed and humiliated for the idols in which we have trusted. It is the inevitable outcome, and it is never otherwise.

– What are the voices you are tempted to obey, and arms you are tempted to trust other than God’s? How might the truth seen in Isaiah 2:6-9 be motivation to abandon all hope in such things?

Walk in the Light of God (2:5)

As we consider the contrast between what we read and what we see, both the heights of dignity of the church and the depths of sin’s humiliation, we ought to be motivated all the more to walk in the light. When we hear the great promises of what the church is to be, and look out our window and see what’s going on around us, how do we reconcile that? How do we reconcile what we see a Christian should be in the Scriptures, and what we see in the mirror? In the Bible, as we behold the God who is light, we find the light that gives us clarity, purity, and hope. God has sent His Son to be the light of the world, and we who were once darkness have been made light in the Lord. To walk in the light is a daily endeavor consisting of the thousands of seemingly insignificant daily tasks that often go unnoticed. We walk in the light as we wake up and make decisions based on the truth Christ reveals, by which find real clarity for decisions, live in His purity, and cling to His hope. This walk begins with God’s work in us, when He remakes us as children of light. The walk continues with a life devoted to His Word, the one source that is always true. It will not be possible for us to walk in the light if we are not studying the Bible.

– What passages from the New Testament describe in certain terms what the Christian is at all times, despite subjective feelings (i.e. Colossians 3:1-4)? How might those passages help you properly respond to the contradiction you see in the mirror?

– What are some ways that you can make your time in the study of the Word more effective? Are you spending time reading? Are you praying as you read, recording your thoughts, applying the truth to your life, etc.?