How To Get God’s Attention – A Sermon on Isaiah 66:1-10

How To Get God’s Attention – A Sermon on Isaiah 66:1-10 July 5, 2009

Today I went to the Newfrontiers church in Basildon where I preached on Isaiah 66. You can download the audio or read my notes here:

1.The God we come to.
These opening verses seem to encourage us to fix our gaze on the God who made a universe that is at least 100 billion light years across and says it is just a throne for him. His hands flung stars into space as easily as a child flicks paint. The ESV study bible says “He cannot be walled in”. So he says, you cannot build for me a house. We mourn at the state of the church v10 BUT, Jesus says “I will build MY church” (Matthew 16:18)

There is an onward purpose. The gospel must advance we have a part to play in this! We carry a glorious message that is guaranteed to succeed we mustn’t hold onto it selfishly.
We can draw close to this God, and these verses tell us the kind of people that draw his attention God chooses to bless:
2. The attitude that God loves
V2 But this is the one to whom I will look:
 he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word. . .
What God looks for in us is humility, brokeness, trembling. He is God and we are not.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:19-21)
It is the Word of God that can save us and our friends. So quote it!
The implication of this is teachability, submissiveness to leaders. Desire to learn from the wisdom of others. Not above the word but under it.
GRACE of God says its just receiving the simple IMPLANTED message that saves us.
“Romans 10:9 “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
3. The Attitude God hates
The religious attitude is as rejected by God in these verses as the true unbeliever for both of them reject God’s ways.
“These have chosen their own ways…. when I called, no one answered,
 when I spoke, they did not listen;
 but they did what was evil in my eyes
and chose that in which I did not delight.”
Description of the world, but we can be tempted to be like that even as churchgoers! “I did it my way…” had not been written but the attitude was the same.
4. God’s Vindication of Us
The sarcastic mockers who call us “extreme Christians” will get their comeupance! We go against the flow and will receive opposition BUT,
5 “Hear the word of the Lord,
you who tremble at his word:
“Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for my name’s sake
have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified,
that we may see your joy’;
but it is they who shall be put to shame.”
Some of us have had to risk family for this business of following Jesus. It matters!
God vindicates those who follow him.
5. The Glorious Expansion of God’s church
7 “Before she was in labor
she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her
she delivered a son.
8 Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
For as soon as Zion was in labor
she brought forth her children.
9 Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”
says the Lord;
“shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?”
says your God. 10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;
There will be a great multitude that no-one can count from every tribe and language. We don’t passively wait for revival, we wake up and work for many to follow Christ.
What Kind of Church is God building? What is worth giving our lives to and our money to?

1. One where he is the Lord and we tremble at his word – not “this is how it has always been” – we live to PLEASE GOD! Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ”
2. One that recognizes the sovereignty of God in all things –salvation, and ordering our lives
3. One full of the Spirit – because of word, and therefore allowing Jesus to rule thru his Spirit. Spirit wrote the book, and says in it that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
4. One full of grace – that is the gospel after all. Massive implications for how we do church. For example it means we have to show acceptance to others when they come to us under conviction. We don’t look down our noses at them, we minister God’s grace.
5. One full of obedience to God’s word ie holiness characterises
6. One that is full of faith and expectancy for GOD to act!
7. One where people understand the full gospel package and it is the norm for them to be saved, baptised with water, with the Spirit and JOIN the church, giving of their life and money to support it.
8. One which is governed by godly men who form a team and receive input from outside the church (ie Ephesians 4)
9. A Church which is committed to learning from other churches in its family of churches, but also outside- and to both being a provocation and receiving provocation from others as we grow up into our head
10. One where we are all maturing in God.
11. A Church which reflects God’s multi-colored wisdom.

Ephesians 4
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds [2] and teachers, [3] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, [4] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

And so we return to where we begun. Those that give themselves to this glorious mission that is bigger than themselves, to follow this great God and savior humbly, trembling at his word, will find themselves close to God. We don’t wait till God sorts us out to serve him. As we serve him, he will sort us out.

God wants to draw near to us and meet our needs as we gaze on him and worship him.

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