God's Remedy for Sin

Text: Isaiah 58:1-11


I.         In our Scripture reading, God has Isaiah loudly proclaim the sins of His people.

            A.        A fact that surprises the Israelites.

                        1.         They delight in knowing God. They consider themselves righteous and followers of God’s Word.

                        2.         They delight in the nearest of God, but God doesn’t seem to be paying attention to them.

            B.        God, through Isaiah, points out how they act like worshipers of God, such as through fasting, but even while fasting and asking God for mercy they act unkindly towards their fellow men.

            C.        It reminds me of the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35

                        1.         He beg for mercy from his master, but was unwilling to show even a small kindness to his fellow servant.

            D.        But it is Isaiah 59 that we will focus our attention on today

II.        The lack of salvation is due to man and not God - Isaiah 59:1-2

            A.        It is not that God is unable to save.

                        1.         There is no weakness or inability on God’s part.

                        2.         God is able to do more than we can ask or even imagine - Eph. 3:20-21

            B.        The problem is with man’s sins.

                        1.         It is our sins that separate us from God.

                                    a.         Notice that it is not God who is erecting the barrier. But we in our sins barricade ourselves from God.

                                    b.         Isaiah 1:15-20

                        2.         The problem is not that God cannot hear our cries. God is not deaf.

                                    a.         I remember so often our children saying “Mom” or “Dad.” “What do you need?” we ask, but all we get is a mumble because the child’s attention is already elsewhere.

                                    b.         How often have we said, “If you want to talk to me, you have to talk to me and not the window”?

                                    c.         That is the problem God is describing. We call on God, but because we are focused towards sin, God cannot hear us. - Psalm 66:18

                        3.         We have walked away from the only one who can help us!

III.       Isaiah documents the sins the people have committed - Isaiah 59:3-8

            A.        Violence - verse 3

                        1.         Micah 3:2-4 - Israel was a violent society

                        2.         They plotted wrongs against one another - Micah 7:2-3

                        3.         And it is not just against strangers - Micah 7:5-6

            B.        Lying - verses 3-4

                        1.         No one stands up and calls for justice.

                        2.         Instead they prefer to trust empty words and lines

            C.        Corruption spreads - verse 5

                        1.         They are depicted as adders breeding more adders.

                        2.         Even feeble attempts to stop the spread (crushing an egg) just generates more evil (hatches an adder).

            D.        They weave wicked plans - verse 5-6

                        1.         They devise evil schemes like a spider weaving a web.

                        2.         Clothing is to cover and protect.

                        3.         They cover themselves with their schemes, but they provide no better protection than a spider’s web.

                        4.         Evil cannot atone for evil. These people conceived evil, engaged in perversity and violence, and then offer sacrifices to God to cover the sins they have committed. - Jeremiah 7:9-11

                        5.         Is it a wonder that God has rejected their sacrifices? - Isaiah 1:11-15

            E.        They attack the innocent - verse 7

            F.        They have caused so much harm, there is no peace - verse 8

                        1.         How often have people said “Why me Lord?”

                        2.         The man wheezing in the hospital from emphysema wonders why he must suffer, never considering the lifetime of smoking that lead up to his hospitalization.

                        3.         The young man who works long hours trying to get ahead on the bills and wonders what he ever did to deserve this, never considering his frivolous spending habits.

                        4.         The parent who wonders why their children do not follow righteousness, never considering the example they left – that their children are following them.

                        5.         “Why me?” because we chose to be there.

                        6.         “Why can’t I have peace in my life?” because they made for themselves crooked paths.

            G.        Can you see the problem?

                        1.         God is not weak or unable to save.

                        2.         The problem is that the sinners are not ready to be forgiven.

IV.      The consequences of their choices - Isaiah 59:9-15a

            A.        What is desired and what they have gained by their choices are two entirely different things.

            B.        They hope for light, but they brought the darkness of sin upon themselves.

            C.        They hope for justice, but their sins prevent justice from being given.

            D.        They hope for salvation, but they stay in their sins away from God.

            E.        Even when one tries to turn from evil, he becomes the target of the rest.

V.        God takes matters into his mighty hands - Isaiah 59:15b-21

            A.        God was unhappy with the mess that man had made with their lives.

            B.        He saw was no man. There wasn’t an intercessor.

                        1.         There wasn’t a Moses or a Joshua or a David to work on behalf of God, to plead on behalf of the people.

            C.        So God rolled up his sleeves and took matters into his own capable hands.

                        1.         Depending on no one else, he would intercede and bring salvation to his people.

                        2.         God prepared to do battle for the salvation of mankind.

            D.        He came to Zion as the Redeemer.

                        1.         This is the Christ, the Messiah. Immanuel - “God with us.”

                        2.         God saw no intercessor, so God became man to intercede on our behalf. - Romans 8:31-39

VI.      Summary

            A.        Sin has the same effect today. It separates us from God.

                        1.         We cannot live an unrighteous life and think it will have no impact on our relationship with God.

                        2.         I John 1:6-10 - Fellowship with God depends on walking in the light.

            B.        When people turn from God, they turn to lies

                        1.         Remember Isaiah 59:4?

                        2.         You cannot turn from God and expect good things to happen.

                        3.         Things will get worse - II Timothy 3:13

                        4.         Like a person on drugs, they cannot see the damage they are doing to themselves and others. Sin is deceptive and the more you get involved in sin, the more unclear your view of the world becomes.

            C.        There is no solution to the problem of sin, except for our redeeming God.

                        1.         You can dig yourself into the pit of sin, but you can’t dig your way out.

                        2.         Man uses sin to fix his sins and the result is simply more sin.

                        3.         Jesus is the only answer, the only solution.

                                    a.         John knew what he was saying when he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” - John 1:29

                                    b.         Jesus paid the price for your sins when he died on the cross.

                        4.         Do not let you sins separate you from God, but if it has then do the only thing possible – surrender to the Redeemer and serve him with all your heart.