Friday, March 18, 2016

Singing With the Exiles: Get Out! - March 6th

Message notes on a sermon by Pastor Ewings based on Isaiah 48:17-22
God gave His people in Babylon the Book of Isaiah.  In it, the prophet sounds the alarm and tells God’s people to get out.  This city was like a house on fire.  God’s people were living in luxury and surrounded by many material blessings.  These things came at the expense of their spiritual security, however.  Babylon was a place where people were forced to give up their faith in God.  You may remember hearing about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—three men who believed in God.  They were thrown in a furnace of fire because they worshiped the true God.  That’s why Isaiah sounds the alarm and says, “Get out of Babylon!” It was a matter of life and death!
Just like the children of Israel, you and I want peace and prosperity.  We want things to go right for us at every time and in every way.  There are times when you and I, just like the people of God we hear about in the Book of Isaiah today, look for these things in places where God knows that we will never find them.  We live in luxurious homes, take extravagant vacations and lavish ourselves in ways that most people in the world would never dream of.  We live in a land of abundance...but would the Lord tell us to get out?  Have we been seeking peace in all the wrong places?  Do we find more peace in our money, our possessions, our vacations, our days off, our houses and homes than we do in the house of God and in His Word?  If that’s the case, it’s time you hear the Lord’s alarm: GET OUT!
The Lord does want us to have peace and He does want us to prosper.  He calls Himself our Teacher (“I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you what is best for you”) and wants to direct us in our search for these elusive blessings so that we might have them and enjoy them.  He makes it clear: we won’t find them among the wicked things of the world, we won’t find them in the illusions of the devil’s lies or in the mirages of Satan’s tricks, we won’t find them by looking at ourselves either.  We find these when we follow the Lord. 
Our God leads us even now through the deserts of our lives—when there is nothing that looks prosperous or luxurious at all.  Yet in these barren wastelands, He directs us in His paths.  In our rebellion against God, we forfeited our home in paradise, and now life is—in large part—a restless wandering, trying to find our way back home.  But thank God!  His program is to bring us back home.  He will accomplish this through Jesus, Who promises a luxurious, Heavenly home with Him!

Lesson 1:  Isaiah 48:17-22
Lesson 2:  1 Peter 5:6-11
Gospel:  Matthew 18:7-9

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