Isaiah 44:6-23 & When Idols Glorify God

If we meditate and really see our idols for what they are, glory will be given to God.

Go look in the mirror, you are not all that. You have flaws. Hair grows where it shouldn’t. You are not that intelligent, there is always a more intelligent gent. We think we are something because we compare ourselves to men lesser than us, but it is not men with whom we will finally deal.

Look at your clothes. Right now they are in style, next year they will be stupid. If they are ‘timeless’ and remain cool, they will fall apart or you will stain them. It is because you are not all that that your clothes will stain due to: 1) your being a klutz or 2) your body leaving skid marks or pit yellowing.

Your car, its value decreases exponentially once you take it off the lot. It is a hungry god that you must consistently feed. If you opt not to buy the wheels, stereo, chrome accessories, upgraded parts, and dice for your rear view mirror you still have to wash it and give it gas to drink.

My iPod was the coolest when it came out. It was the limited U2 edition. One with a color display came out a few months later, then one with video capabilities, and finally the iPod touch. If technological gods are so amazing why are there always upgrades?

Truly I can only see the foolishness of such idols in the superior light of Jesus’ splendor. So once my blind eyes have been opened to see Jesus and I notice the lie that is in my hand, I think on it rightly. I loose no-gods for the God. With David Livingstone I exclaim:

For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger now and then with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause and cause the spirit to waver and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice.

So after having cast your idols aside and clinging to Christ, think of the foolishness of your idols and reckon that you have lost nothing and thereby gained everything in Jesus.

Hymns I’m Angry I Didn’t Learn as a Child (5)

This one may be coming soon to an Overflow service near you!

Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy by Joseph Hart

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.

Chorus
I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.

Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.

Chorus

Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.

Chorus

View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies.
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?

Chorus

Lo! th’ incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.

Chorus

Let not conscience make you linger,
Not of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
Is to feel your need of Him.

Chorus

Isaiah 43:1-13 & Can I Get a Witness?

Near the end of this passage there are two big assemblies gathered for a great tribunal before Yahweh.  One assembly is a group of sinners, the blind and deaf whom God has chosen as servants to know, believe, and understand that God is God.  They are the redeemed, the elect, the called, the ones of who God is their Savior.  They serve as God’s witnesses.  The other throng is made up of sinners as well, heathen idol worshippers scrambling to gather a credible witness for their case.  So how is it that a group of redeemed sinners serve as witness for God?  What makes our testimony valid?  Our history shows us anything but fine witnesses by virtue of our character.

Lets say O.J. has supposedly done it again, you pick what ‘it’ is exactly.  He has two witnesses that serve as character references; Micheal Vick and Mike Tyson.  You get the point?  But lets say that we are ten years from now and Vick is an ardent supporter of PETA, carries a little handbag with a pomeranian named Pookey inside of it, and has a secret identity as ‘PETA Man’ tackling animal abusers and giving the dogs to deserving, caring children.  Tyson starts taking responsibility, talking like a man, and walks dangerous streets punching women-abusing men in the throat.  Vick and Tyson then testify that the reason for all the changes that have occurred in their lives are owing to the influence of one man – O.J. Simpson.

The redeemed are witnesses to the fact that God is God not because of something in themselves, but by virtue of the acts God has wrought upon them.  As you look at those whom God has chosen, created, formed, called, redeemed, protected, saved, and gathered… the only explanation is God.  We were blind and deaf!  I am what I am by the grace of God.  I am not perfect, but everything within me that is admirable and praiseworthy, all the progress, and all that is truly good is the work of God.  It is no burden to be a witness, rather it is a great privilege for God to demonstrate his power in us, a power which none can thwart.

The Thirsty Look for Wells

While studying Isaiah today I came accross this sermon excerpt from Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s “I will pour Water” in Ray Ortlund Jr.’s commentary on Isaiah.

When two travellers are going through the wilderness, you may know which of them is thirsty, by his always looking out for wells. How gladly Israel came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and seventy palm trees! So it is with thirsty believers; they love the Word, read and preached, they thirst for it more and more. Is it so with you, dear believing brethren? In Scotland long ago, it used to be so. Often, after the blessing was pronounced, the people would not go away till they heard more. Ah! children of God, it is a fearful sign to see little thirst in you[.] I do not wonder much when the world stay[s] away from our meetings for the Word and prayer; but, ah! when you do.

The full sermon is available here.

Hymns I’m Angry I Didn’t Learn As a Child (4)

One Day by J. Wilbur Chapman

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises,
One day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin,
Dwelt among men, my Example is He!

Chorus:
Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sins far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever;
One day He’s coming-O glorious day!

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain,
One day they nailed Him to die on the tree;
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected:
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He!

Chorus

One day they left Him alone in the garden,
One day He rested, from suffering free;
Angels came down o’er His tomb to keep vigil;
Hope of the hopeless, my Savior is He!

Chorus

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
One day the stone rolled away from the door;
Then He arose, over death He had conquered;
Now is ascended, my Lord evermore!

Chorus

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming,
One day the skies with His glories will shine;
Wonderful day, my belovèd ones bringing;
Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine!

Chorus

Sermon Quotes – Bittersweet Pie

A spiritual experience which is thoroughly flavored with a deep and bitter sense of sin is of great value to him that hath had it. It is terrible in the drinking, but it is most wholesome in the bowels, and in the whole of the afterlife. Possibly much of the flimsy piety of the day arises from the ease with which men reach to peace and joy in these evangelistic days. We would not judge modern converts, but we certainly prefer that form of spiritual exercise which leads the soul by the way of Weeping cross, and makes it see its blackness before it assures it that it is “clean every whit.” Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore lightly of a Savior. He who has stood before his God, convicted, and condemned, with the rope about his neck, is the man to weep for joy when he is pardoned, to hate the evil which has been forgiven him, and to live to the honor of the Redeemer by whose blood he has been cleansed.  – C.H. Spurgeon, Light for Those Who Sit in Darkness

Christ is not only light, but great light; he reveals great things, he manifests great comforts, saves us from great sin and great wrath, and prepares us for great glory. He is, however, a Savior that must be seen.   – C.H. Spurgeon, Light for Those Who Sit in Darkness

If you are unhappy at the thought that you do not love God as you ought to, that is a wonderful proof that you love Him. Love is never satisfied with itself; it always feels it is insufficient. The men and women who are unhappy because they do not love God more are, in a sense, people who ought to be very happy, because their very unhappiness at their lack of love is proof that they do love.  – D. Martyn lloyd-Jones, Life in Christ

Though [repentance] be a deep sorrow for sin that God requires as necessary to salvation, yet the very nature of it necessarily implies delight. Repentance of sin is a sorrow arising from the sight of God’s excellency and mercy, but the apprehension of excellency or mercy must necessarily and unavoidably beget pleasure in the mind of the beholder. ‘Tis impossible that anyone should see anything that appears to him excellent and not behold it with pleasure, and it’s impossible to be affected with the mercy and love of God, and his willingness to be merciful to us and love us, and not be affected with pleasure at the thoughts of [it]; but this is the very affection that begets true repentance. How much sovever of a paradox it may seem, it is true that repentance is a sweet sorrow, so that the more of this sorrow, the more pleasure.  – Jonathan Edwards, The Pleasantness of Religion

Spoiling the Gospel

You may spoil the gospel by substitution. You have only to withdraw from the eyes of the sinner the grand object which the Bible proposes to faith – Jesus Christ; and to substitute another object in His place… and the mischief is done. Substitute anything for Christ, and the gospel is totally spoiled! …

You may spoil the gospel by addition. You have only to add to Christ, the grand object of faith, some other objects as equally worthy of honor, and the mischief is done. Add anything to Christ, and the gospel ceases to be pure Gospel! …

You may spoil the gospel by interposition. You have only to push something between Christ and the eye of the soul, to draw away the sinner’s attention from the Savior, and the mischief is done…

You may spoil the gospel by disproportion. You have only to attach an exaggerated importance to the secondary things of Christianity, and a diminished importance to the first things, and the mischief is done. Once alter the proportion of the parts of truth, and truth soon becomes downright error! …

Lastly, but not least, you may completely spoil the Gospel by confused and contradictory directions.  Complicated and obscure statements about faith, baptism, Church privileges, and the benefits of the Lord’s Supper, all jumbled together, and thrown down without order before hearers, make the Gospel no Gospel at all! Confused and disorderly statements of Christianity are almost as bad as no statement at all! Religion of this sort is not Evangelical.  – J.C. Ryle as quoted in The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies

The full tract from which Challies quoted is available online here.