Seek the Lord While He May Be Found! (Isaiah Sermon 65 of 80)
March 01, 2015 | Andy Davis
Pastor Andy Davis preaches a verse-by-verse expository sermon on Isaiah 55:6-9. The main subject of the sermon is seeking the Lord while He may be found.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT-
Amen. So, we're right in the middle of Isaiah 55. And so, last week, we had proclaim for us the greatest invitation in history. We are urged every one of us, to come. In Isaiah 55:1-3, "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters. And you who have no money, come, buy and eat, come buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend your money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me and eat what is good and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live." This incredible invitation from Almighty God, an invitation to sit with him at an eternal, a spiritual banqueting table. And to drink water that our souls may live and to drink milk that our souls may be nourished thereby. And to drink spiritual wine that we may be filled with joy, the elation, the fullness of life. And God reasons with us from this text, pleading with us to accept his invitation. Calls to poor people who have no money and to rich people who are wasting their effort and their money on things that don't satisfy. And he pleads with us to listen to him and eat and to drink what is good and be delighted in fatness and richness of fare. The best of all there is in the universe.
He pleads with us to listen that our souls may live. This eternal banquet is Christ. We're invited in under a covenant that God has made with Christ, the son of David. Verse three and four in that text, it says, "I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. Behold I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples." This is the new covenant in the blood of Jesus, the Savior of the world. And he will spread a banqueting table in heaven, and he is inviting people now, from every nation on earth to come and sit with him at that banqueting table. Now, the question that comes up in our minds as we listen to this invitation is, how do we RSVP? What do we do to say yes? How do we tell the Lord of the banquet that we're in, we want to come?
I. Seek the Lord While He May Be Found (vs. 6)
And that's what this text that we're looking at this morning, this portion of Isaiah 55, answers for us. How do we answer this summons from the King? In verse six, we're told, "Seek the Lord while he may be found and call on him while he is near."
The Universal Call to Sinners: Seek the Lord
This is a universal call to sinners to seek the Lord. But what does it mean to seek the Lord? Well, seeking has to do with yearning, with desire, with something that you don't have, but you want. It's a focus, a focus of your life. Seeking him, wanting him, yearning for the Lord. You may be lost, you may be on the outside of Christ and you know it. You know that you're not a Christian, you know that you've never given your life to Christ, you're on the outside looking in, but you sense that there's something wonderful. Spiritually, perhaps you can smell the fragrant aroma coming from this banqueting table. And you know that people are already partaking and they're already enjoying themselves, and you're on the outside looking in, you're not included yet. And you want it but you don't know how, you don't know the Lord and you realize you want to come in. And this call is to you to seek the Lord while he may be found. Saved people, been Christians for years maybe, or weeks, months, doesn't matter, you know that you're saved, you know you're a Christian, your sins are forgiven through faith in Christ. But the Lord is calling you upward. He's calling you higher, to a closer relationship with him. You know that you're not done seeking the Lord, you still need to seek him. In Matthew, chapter six, the Lord reasons with us, as we are anxious people seeking earthly things and living for them.
He says, "So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." All of us are susceptible to this, to seek earthly things and live for them. So, the way a hungry person seeks food, the way a man dying of thirst seeks water, the way a cold, shivering, person seeks a warm coat, so we are to seek Christ, so we are to seek God, so we are to seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. And seeking starts in the heart. Now, Hebrew poetry is set apart in its structure. We do rhyme, generally, rhythm and rhyme, in English poetry, but in Hebrew, it's frequently ideas that are lined up parallel, like parallel tracks. It's the same thing, slightly differently, but similarly. And you get that in verse 6, "Seek the Lord while he may be found. Call on him while he is near." Do you see the rhythm, the parallelism there between the two? And it helps us as you look at the second track, to understand what the first is. "Seek the Lord" is equal to call on him. It's not exactly the same, but there's a yearning in the heart for the Lord and it results in crying out to the Lord, calling on him.
And then, "while he may be found" equals while he is near. They're very similar, if not identical. So then, to seek the Lord means to call on him. Simply put, we're talking about prayer here, crying out to God in your distress. Like a drowning person calls for help from a lifeguard, you call out, you know that you're drowning. And if Jesus doesn't reach out and save you, you'll be lost in that forever. And so, you call out. Or like a desperate mother whose child has taken a serious injury and is bleeding, calling 911. "I've got to have immediate medical attention for my child." Calling out for help. Now, people struggle with prayer. You may feel that you need more theological training to pray better, you need to be theologically insightful, especially trained, you maybe need to go to seminary to pray. Some of you may feel that you need special words or polished prayer. You need to pray just precisely so, just the right words. And if you can't do that, then you can't pray. But in reality, all God wants us to do is to cry out to him in whatever is captivating our heart, just speak our heart's desire to him and tell him what's in our heart. When I'm evangelizing somebody and they have come to the point where they say, "I'm in, I want this, what do I do?"
I don't generally feed them what's known as the sinner's prayer at that moment. I'm basically testing how well I've done in evangelism at that point, how well have I explained these matters. So, I don't feed them a prayer, I say, "What do you want?" "What do you mean what I want? We've been talking about all of these things, God's law, heaven and hell, and all this, I'm a sinner." "Okay, good, you got it. What do you want?" "Well, I don't want to go to hell." "Is that all?" "Well, I'd like to go to heaven." "Is that all?" "No, more." "Alright, well, don't tell me. I'm just the messenger, I'm the evangelist. Tell God, he can give you everything." "So I do it right now?" "Mm-hmm, right now." And then, in halting words, in whatever words are in their heart, they say, "God I want your forgiveness. I want to go to heaven, I don't want to go to hell." And they just speak whatever is in their heart. They're seeking the Lord while he may be found, calling on him while he is near. That's what's going on there. Like in Psalm 50, verse 15. It says, "Call on me in the day of trouble. I will rescue you and you will honor me."
It's a really beautiful rhythm there. "You're in trouble. Alright, call on me, I can do something about it. I can save you. You call on me in the day of trouble and I'll rescue you. And then, you can spend eternity glorifying me for doing it." Psalm 50, verse 15. It's clearly stated in the Book of Romans, what to do. Romans 10:13, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." The word "Lord" there means Jesus. Calling on Jesus, incarnate to the Virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, did amazing miracles, walked on water, fed the 5,000, healed the man that was born blind, raised Lazarus from the dead on the fourth day. This Jesus, this amazing person who died on the cross in our place, our substitute, died under the wrath of God. And God raised him up on the third day. This Jesus, call on him. Call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved. It's that simple. As it said earlier, in Romans 10, "If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with the heart that you confess, or the mouth that you confess, and are saved with the heart that you believe and are justified." So, it's a combination between the heart and the mouth.
The Urgency of This Command
Now, note the urgency of this command. There's an urgency here. Do you see it? "Seek the Lord while he may be found. Call on him while he is near." What do these words mean? It means there's an implied threat here. He's not always going to be found like this. He's not always going to be near like he is right now. And you're saying, "Well wait a minute now, God's timeless, right? Isn't he eternal? He never changes. Isn't he going to be around tomorrow? Maybe he's going to be around in a year. The Bible says he's eternal. Maybe he'll be around in 10 million years." Yes, but you won't. And there's an implied window of opportunity here for us. And yes, God is timeless and eternal, but he sets apart certain times in which he will act in a special way. I think it's very similar to the holy ground of Moses and the burning bush. You remember that? God's omnipresent, right? He's everywhere. I've said this before. Omnipresent, he's not like an AM radio station in which it's stronger here and weaker there, weak under bridges, weaker between mountains, but better in other places. Some of you know what AM radio is, alright? Others don't. But there used to be this radio, and that's all there was and all that, and that's how it was. And it was stronger or weaker signals.
No, God isn't like that. God is equally everywhere all the time. Yes, but still he said to Moses, when Moses saw this burning bush, remember? And he drew aside to look and it was amazing and it was this... The bush was burning but wasn't burned up, it wasn't being consumed, and he was attracted. And as he comes over, he hears this voice, "Moses, Moses," calling from the bush. "Here I am," Moses said. And then, the angel of the Lord spoke out of the bush saying, "Do not come any closer." And then he said, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you're standing is holy ground." Holy ground. I would contend it probably wasn't holy ground the next day. I would say it's certainly not holy ground now. You could probably have the GPS longitude and latitude, triangulate and stand there, but it's not holy ground anymore. But it was Holy ground that day. It was an opportunity to encounter the living God. And so it is here. God is opening for us in the middle of our lives, in space and time, an opportunity to encounter him, to have an encounter with him. But he's not promising it will be there forever. Actually, he's implying it won't. There'll come a time when God will not be found. There'll come a time when he is not near. The ultimate end of that is hell. For those that are suffering in hell, God will not be found by them.
God's not near to them, not relationally. There's no rescue, there's no deliverance. The opportunity for them has passed. It was a narrow window, and they didn't take advantage of it. And God isn't found by the damned in hell, he's not near to them. The time has passed for that. But we are still alive, we're still here, and you're here today. God brought you through the elements, through the storm and the wind and the rain and the freezing and all that, and brought you here today. And you are here to have an encounter with the living God.
How Does God Draw Near?
How does God draw near? How is he near? How is he found by us here? Well, he draws near in his Word, by means of the Word. Later next week, God willing, Isaiah 55, 10 and 11, go ahead and look at these verses. "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth, making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
So, when God sends forth his Word, he is near there. That's how God is near, and that's how he is found, by means of his Word. Again, Deuteronomy 30, God says this to Israel... "Now, what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It's not up in the heavens so that you have to ask, 'Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it, so that we may obey it?' Nor is it beyond the sea so that you have to ask, 'Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us, so we may obey it?' No, the Word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may obey it." God draws near to us by his Word, it's very near to us. Paul quotes this is Romans 10. He says, "The word is near you; it's in your and in your heart. That is the word of faith, [the Gospel] we are proclaiming: that if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." So, God draws near to us by the proclamation of his Word. As we hear what he says through the Bible, we understand that he's near, close, he's speaking directly to our hearts.
But even more so, as the Word testifies to his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God draws near to us by means of Jesus, by means of Jesus, in the incarnation. We're told the Word became flesh and tabernacle to dwell with us. He lived with us, and we saw his glory. When Jesus was born, in Matthew chapter one, that Isaiah prophecy, "The virgin will be with child," was fulfilled. "The virgin will be with child, will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel," which means "God with us, God near to us." God has drawn near in Jesus. And by his Spirit, also, God draws near by his Spirit. The Holy Spirit's work in this world is to take the message of Jesus in the Word of God and press it home to the hearts of lost people, and to also save people. He ministers Christ to people. Now, he delivers Jesus right to us. The Holy Spirit does that.
Today is the Day of Salvation
And so, while the Gospel is being clearly proclaimed and Christ is proclaimed as Savior for sinners, the Holy Spirit is moving. That's the time to respond. That's when God is near. That's when he may be found by us. And so, we are told in Scripture, today is the day of salvation. This is what we have. Today, you have today, right now. It's what you have. It says in Isaiah 49, also 2 Corinthians 6, this is what the Lord says, "In the time of my favor, I will answer you, and in the day of salvation, I will help you."
Paul says, "I tell you now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." Now, today. Now, we don't know that all of these elements will be in place tomorrow, we don't, we don't know that. We can't assume that we'll be even alive tomorrow. Do you know for certain that you're even going to be alive tomorrow? Do you know that? Says in James, "We ought to say if the Lord wills, we will live." I don't know if the Lord wills that I'll be alive tomorrow. I don't know. I'm not being dramatic, I've learned the way of the world and people can die suddenly. Could be me. So, furthermore, even if you are alive tomorrow, if you hear the Gospel preach plainly and clearly today and you reject it, do you know that you'll be different tomorrow because of it, as a result? Yeah, your heart will be a little harder now. You'll be in a different place because you heard plainly and rejected the Gospel. So, we have in Hebrews 3 this warning, really. Hebrews 3:7-8. "So, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." That's for everybody. For me, for everybody. If you hear him speaking, by the Word, he's speaking, the Holy Spirit is speaking Christ to you, by the Word, do not harden your heart.
And the first word there in that quote, Psalm 95, is "Today." So, the author to Hebrews picks up on that in the next chapter, in Hebrews 4:7, he says, "God again set a certain day," he set it, "calling it today." So, that's what you have. You have today. Not tomorrow, you'll never get there. You'll never get... It's never tomorrow, have you noticed that? Tomorrow is always tomorrow. What you have always in your life is today. So, today, if you hear his voice, don't harden your hearts. Day after day, or we could say today after today after today after today, God is at work in the world. He is drawing near to sinners by the Word, he's drawing near by his Son, by the Spirit. There will come a time when this day of amnesty, this day of God's favor, this day of salvation will end. It will come to an end. For you individually, it will come to an end when you die. For the world, it will come to an end when Christ returns. It's very much like the flood. Jesus likened it to the flood. "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man."
It was in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage right up to the day that Noah entered the Ark, and they had no idea what was coming until the flood came, and swept them all away. That's how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Well, you know what happened in Genesis 7, when Noah and his sons and their wives, and Noah's wife got on the ark and they were all there, everything on board all of the food and provision the animals, everything ready, everything done, God shut the door, shut the door. If you're in, you're in, if you're out, you're out. And if you're out, you die.
II. Let the Wicked Forsake His Ways and Thoughts (vs. 7)
And so we have an open door now, we have an opportunity, we have a day of salvation we have a Word of amnesty from the king it's made available to us now and we are told to seek the Lord while he may be found, and call on him while he is near and then it says in verse 7, "Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts let him turn to the Lord and he will have mercy on him and to our God for he will freely pardon." So how do we RSVP, we call on the name of the Lord and we repent, repent of our wickedness and our sins that's what we do? We cannot enjoy the feast of fellowship with God unless we're willing to forsake the sins that have separated us from God, John Piper gives this illustration, he said this:
"If you call out to God, "O God, I need you, help me!" one of the very first things that will happen in answer to that prayer is that God will awaken your conscience to something in your life that needs to be forsaken. If God answers your call in that way and you refuse to forsake what your conscience condemns, then you cease to seek God, and your words become empty. You can't seek God where he is not found, in sin.
It would be like a man who leaves his wife, moves into his own apartment, has a regular sexual affair alongside his marriage, and then gets on the phone and "calls" his wife and "seeks" his wife. And she says, "Have you forsaken this woman?" And he says, "No, I can't." Then she will rightly say, "Then you are not seeking me. Your call is empty. You will seek me and find me as your wife when you forsake her and all others for me alone, just like you vowed!"
Seeking the Lord means forsaking the ways and the thoughts that are displeasing and dishonoring to him. You can't seek him where his is not found—in sin."
It's an analogy, so seeking the Lord means forsaking things that offend him that he hates, forsaking the wickedness and the evil of our thoughts in our lives. We are to forsake our evil ways our wicked ways and our evil thoughts and we are to turn to the Lord. This is the essence of repentance.
A Call to the Wicked and to the Evil
It's a call to the wicked and to the evil to forsake their way and their thoughts, the natural mind, is wickedness. It's hostile to God, it says in Romans 8, the mind of the flesh, the mind of the natural man hates God, it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot. So this wicked thinking leads to wicked living. It's a direct connection between your thoughts and your ways how you think is how you live. And so it says in Ephesians 4, "so I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do in the futility of their thinking, they're darkened in their understanding, and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to the hardening of their hearts" Do you hear all the mental words there? There's ignorance and darkened minds and hardened hearts it's a way of thinking that leads inevitably to a way of living. And we are called on to forsake, that. To turn our backs on wicked thinking and evil living. Now, I think it's helpful, if we just get specific here, if we talk about what we're... What does this mean wicked thoughts, evil lies?
What are we talking about? Well, the law of God is given to describe this. I could talk about the 10 Commandments here, but there are actually numbers of verses, passages or scripture that list out in detail sins, the sin list. So one good and extensive and detailed sin list is at the end of Romans Chapter 1, and there it says, in verse 29, through 31, "They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity, they're full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They're gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful. They invent ways of doing evil, they disobey their parents, they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless." So that's a sin list... So just look at it, look at it carefully, you'll know what God says is wicked and evil right there.
For example, greed, it talks about greed in that list. That means you never have enough, you always want more, more food, more wine, more fun, more money, more always more, greedy, that's sin and then there's envy, that's being jealous of other things that people have, other people have things and you want them, and you're jealous, you're burning in your heart when someone else gets promoted or praised or honored or else someone else gets to buy a nice car or lives in a nice house, or has something you want and you're envious in your heart over it.
Mentions murder. Most of us overwhelming majority of us never actually take someone out of this world through murder. But Jesus said that if you're even angry in your heart towards someone else, it's like you've murdered them in your heart. It's the same heart state. And then lust. It mentions lust in the same way, if you lust sexually after another person. It's as though we've committed adultery in our hearts. We live in a lust craze, the lust, sex saturated age. With the internet and pornography, the kinds of things that are there, it's just evil, and we are to forsake it. And then, it mentioned strife that's arguing conflicts fighting the constant irritation in relationships that makes our world, our companies, our families, our government just unlivable strife. Then there's deceit it mentions lying and falsehood, just being untruthful. And then there's malice, which is deep-seated hatred bitterness unforgiveness for past sins you just will not forgive you're bitter, gossip and slander. That's using your tongue to assassinate the character of someone else, God hating it mentions in your heart you're set against God, resisting him, don't want to hear his word, don't enjoy worshipping with his people, just God-hating.
Insolence, arrogance and boastfulness are all pride words. It all has to do with disrespect for God-ordained authority, a murmuring attitude toward a policeman that might pull you over, or someone who tells you where to go or where to stand. This is an insolent, arrogant attitude, or a negative... You're murmuring against your boss. And then, it talks about inventing evil. This is people who take their creativity and they use it to devise evil things. I wonder, who writes those software viruses that make our lives miserable? Who would do that? Who would sit at home and craft a virus to make everyone's life miserable? They don't even get money for it, why do they do it? It's just inventing evil. And then, disobedience to parents. Of course, that's not you. Or should I talk to your parents about how things actually were? This sin list probes our hearts and God says, "Let the evil man forsake his thoughts and the wicked man his ways. Let him turn away from wickedness to the Lord." That's the essence of repentance.
III. God Infinitely Higher Than Sinners in Holiness (vs. 8-9)
And then, he says, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'" Now, I want to draw out two connections in context. Two. One of them has to do with God's holiness and the other has to do with God's mercy. We need to hear both. And the connection is in the word "For" that begins the Word, verse eight. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts." First, God's holiness. We should repent because God's ways are different than our ways and his thoughts are different than our thoughts, they're just different. God thinks differently than we do. He loves different things than we love. He just says they're different, but then he goes beyond it. He says, "Actually, they're higher. My ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts." This has to do with God's purity, his holiness, his infinite separation from evil. First John 1:5 says, "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light and in him there's no darkness at all."
God's ways are different than our ways, his thoughts are different than our thoughts, so we need to repent. Because we were created in his image and we were created to be like him, and we're not like him. And so, we need to repent. And the measure, the gap is infinite. The Hubble space telescope has taught us how big outer space is, bigger than we thought. Really, really big. And God made this infinite cosmos to humble us, I think put us in our place. "As the Heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." God is just thinking at a different level than the rest of us are. It's just staggering. It's amazing. So, what's the most incredible mental achievement you've ever heard of in your life? I heard about some geek who memorized Pi to 200, 500, or 1000 decimals. What do you need that for? But somebody does that kind of thing. Alright, now, some of you are saying, "Now, I know what you do and you're a geek too, and you have your own habits." Don't... Alright, don't start with me, okay? I understand what you're saying. But the most amazing mental achievement I've ever heard about... I've never heard of a higher one than this.
It was a chess grandmaster named Miguel Najdorf, who was Polish born but lived in Argentina. He was a chess champion. 1947, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, he played 45 chess matches simultaneously. He had 45, they're sat in a big rectangle, and he walked from board to board. Board number one, two, three, four, five... And played all these sequentially, but all at the same time, all of them going... Blindfolded friends, blindfolded. He had the positions of 45 different chess matches going on in his head, to some of them 50 or 60 moves. I once tried to do that with a chess computer. It occurred to me that I needed the plastic pieces and the computer didn't, so I tried to play one game with no pieces. I got six moves in and made an illegal move. Something was in the way. I had forgotten the knight was there or something like that. This guy, not only did he not make illegal moves, he won 40 of those 45 games. That's the most incredible mental thing I've ever heard in my life. Do you realize how much smarter than God... Smarter than that man God is? He made Miguel Najdorf's brain. And not only that, he is orchestrating the lives of seven billion people, human beings, every day of their lives, to achieve his inscrutable, eternal purposes.
IV. God Infinitely Higher Than Sinners in Mercy (vs. 8-9)
"Oh, the depths of the riches, the wisdom, and the knowledge of God. How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out. who has known the mind of the Lord?" It's just higher than ours. So, we need to repent because God is holy and high and lifted up. That's the connection, because of the words, "my ways and my thoughts." Ways and thoughts brings us back to verse seven. But I like the immediate connection, actually, even more. It says, "Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord and he will have mercy on him. And to our God and he will abundantly pardon…" For my ways are not your ways. Do you see the immediate connection is one of grace and mercy? What is God saying? He's saying, "I forgive better than you do. I forgive more totally than you do. I forgive comprehensively. You hold grudges, you are bitter, you still remember, years later, things that were said, slights that were made, insults. And you say you forgive them, but you really haven't." We don't forgive very well. God's not like us. He takes our sins and throws, as Micah says... Micah 7, in the depths of the sea. Also Psalm 103:12, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." God is excellent at forgiving.
Picture in your mind the father of the prodigal son. Remember that his son had squandered half of his estate and now he wants to come back and have a job, because he's got no where else to go. And there, the father of the prodigal son, just filled with compassion, runs to meet the son and hugs him and embraces him, and the son can barely get his confession out. "Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you..." And the father says, "'Quick, Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate." God is excellent at forgiveness. He's really, really good at it. He actually delights in forgiving. He will abundantly, richly pardon, verse seven says. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways."
V. God’s Sovereignty in Salvation
Now, we cannot meet these conditions, we cannot repent, we cannot turn unaided. God must take out the heart of stone and he must give us the heart of flesh, he must make Christ crucified and resurrected obvious. He must tell you and make it plain that your sins deserve death and there's this big debt, but Jesus paid it all. He paid it all. Isaiah 53:5, "he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." The Holy Spirit makes that obvious. And you cry out to him and you say, "I want that forgiveness." he makes that clear in your heart and your mind. So, lost people. Oh, I hope and pray you're not still lost after the last 40 minutes. I hope and pray that you have in your heart been crying out to God, and saying, "I don't want to be left out, I don't want to be on the outside. I don't want to be condemned. I want to sit at the banquet table with Jesus, let me in. I want that." Seek the Lord now while he may be found, don't assume you'll ever feel this way again, don't assume it. If you harden your heart now, you don't know that he'll be found by you tomorrow. Come to Christ.
But I'm saying the same thing to you saved people, too, you're not done seeking the Lord while he may be found. You're not done calling on him while he is near. We get thirsty in life, we get thirsty and we are idolatrous, we tend to go after other things that don't satisfy. It's for us too. So every single day, meet with the Lord, satisfy your soul in him every day, read the promises of Scripture and the accounts of Christ's life, every day, find joy in these promises, every day, get yourself in a happy state in Christ, every day seek the Lord, seek Christ while he may be found. And if you find yourself in life restless as a Christian, moving from one experience to the next, one dashed hope to the next, then find your delight in Christ and in his kingdom.
And if I might recommend, make your quiet time the first thing to you every day. Now, that probably will be first thing chronologically though, I don't want to be legalistic about it, but I just think it's good to say to God, you are my top priority every day, to say that to him. It's not legalistic to seek the Lord while he may be found. Let me tell you a struggle that I've had in the last year or so. I follow a pattern of Bible reading called every day in the Word, and I use a book to do it until about a year or two ago, and I found a website that gave me the same stuff and that way when I travel, I don't have to write down what all the verses are etcetera. And so I just go to this website and I use my iPad Air to do it. The problem is that when I turn on my iPad, it goes to whatever website I was on last night. Usually sports, I love sports. And so there it is, last night's game with a story. Actually, lots of stories connected with that. Many. And the internet, the web. Next thing I know I'm surfing. And metaphorically, spiritually, there's Jesus sitting in the chair waiting for me, when I stop swimming in the world and finally get around him.
And the Bible says God's a jealous God, and he actually may not be found by me after an hour of searching, he may not. He may actually be distant at that point. My heart a little harder and not ready to seek him. And so the Lord, I just... I hear this in my head just about every morning, the text I'm preaching on right now. Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on him while he is near. Yes, Lord. Or again in Matthew 6, seek first his kingdom. Oh, well, Lord, that just means it's a top priority, right? I don't know, for you it means first thing.
Now, if you're not a morning person, either one of two things, become a morning person, or just make sure you have a good quiet time, every day. Seek the Lord while he may be found, and repent of all known sin. Forsake your evil ways and your thoughts. Let the Lord do a work. Confess your sins to him. We had a time earlier, Jared led us in a time of confession. Do that every day. And stand amazed at how high God's thoughts are and how amazing is his mind. Be stunned at that. Say, "Lord, your ways are higher than my ways. Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts." Don't expect to understand everything God is doing. And then finally, look forward to the day when you who now have the mind of Christ will think just like Jesus. Isn’t that beautiful? You will have as pure thoughts and as lofty thoughts and as perfect thoughts as Jesus. You'll be done with corruption forever. Yearn for that day. Close with me in prayer.