QT – Isaiah 6

Vs. 1, “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.”  Uzziah was a strong king, but a king who lacked the spiritual leadership in the end.  Isaiah witnesses none other than the Lord Jesus Christ (John 12:38-41)!  God lifted Isaiah’s head from the death of Uzziah and the question marks for Judah…to look up to Heaven.  There was not much glory or peace on earth during this time…and same with today.  Coming before the Lord Almighty helped Isaiah to realize his own sinfulness (vs. 5-7).  Now God gives Isaiah the call to go forth with courage to be a light to Judah and the world.  God could have used Angels, but he chose to use us.  Unfortunately, God knew that His word would reveal the true nature of so many.  It is the indivduals heart who hardens his/her own…not God.  God’s word simply reveals hearts who are already hard.


Regarding application…Obedience.  This was no easy task…in fact, from a human perspective…impossible.  It took a ton of faith from Isaiah to obey God.  When Isaiah went forth that day, he was no longer a mourner, but a missionary!  He was not merely a spectator; he was a participant. God had equipped him to do the job: Isaiah had seen the Lord, he had seen himself, and he had seen the need. Knowing that God was on the throne, and that God had called and commissioned him, he was ready to preach the Word and be faithful unto death.  Guess what?  The same call God gave to Isaiah is the same call he gives to us (Matt. 28, Acts 1)
There was a time for mourning…God allowed Isaiah some time…but, now was the time to be a light.  Brothers & sisters in Christ…There are so many reasons to mourn in this crazy world we live in.  The death toll continues to rise in Japan.  If you allowed it…it could lead you to a sadness that can literraly cripple you.  But God has a different plan for his children.  His plan is for us to do something about it!  What are you doing about it?  Let us never lose focus of what we are supposed to do.  Remember one day…The Whole earth will be full of Jesus’ Glory (Vs. 3).  Until that day, let us remind people and point the way to freedom!

QT – Isaiah 4

Vs. 2, In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of the survivors in Israel.”  Who is the Branch of the LORD?  It is none other than Jesus! The time Isaiah is looking ahead when we are reminded of the second coming of Jesus!  Soon after the Tribulation…Israel will finally find its peace.
 
Regarding application…Peace of God.  Vs. 6, “It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day, and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain.”  Isaiah looks to the days of peace where the glory of God will reside.  What keeps the nations back then and today in such a state of turmoil?  Lack of Peace.  What brings a lack of Peace?  The condition of the Heart!  While this world will never be in peace until Jesus comes, we as Christians can still find peace because the Lord is with us!

QT – Isaiah 3

Vs. 1, “See now, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah    both supply and support: all supplies of food and all supplies of water.”  The last chapter we applied “trust”.  The leaders of Judah trusted substitutes that would not help them in the coming day of judgment.  Natural resources, material wealth, military might, political experience, and even “religion” (vs.1–3).  God will now take away these things.  But that was not all. God would replace their proud leaders with young foolish ones and ones who would oppress (vs.4–8). Why? Because the nation not only sinned but boasted about it openly!  Isaiah was especially grieved because the women of the land had become addicted to wealth and fashion.  (Beware you girls…and even boys too) and were more interested in popularity rathar than Godliness.
 
Regarding application…Consequences.  Vs. 13, “The LORD takes his place in court; he rises to judge the people.”  It’s something we never liked ever since our parents punished us for the first time.  Yes…it is true…God is a God of forgiveness, graciousness, love etc…  But let us not forget His Power, Wrath and Justice!  And its important to note: Christians are not immune!  Just ask Lot or Annanias & Sapphira for starters!  I know without a doubt that I suffered greatly during those four years of incredible selfishness in my late teenage years.  Yes, God was patiently waiting for me to come to Him…but He was also dishing out some bigtime consequences for living the way I did.  Though I regret the years of pain…I also cannot dwell on the past.  Phil. 3:13, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”  We must look forward to what I can do NOW for God!  Don’t substitute this life on cheap imitations when we can get the real thing!

QT – Isaiah 2

Vs. 2, “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.”  In the previous chapter, Isaiah looked within the heart of the nation; now he looks ahead to the future glorious kingdom God promised His people. Instead of being a place for corrupt worship, the temple will be a center of truth and blessing for Jews and Gentiles alike. Instead of conflict, there will be peace.  But there was a still a problem…Judah was borrowing new religious ideas from the Gentile nations and not walking in God’s truth. Their faith was in material progress and not in the Lord (vs.5-9).  But Isaiah reminds us the Day of the Lord is coming…This is a time of judgment from the Lord that can apply during Isaiah’s time and now in the end times. People’s pride will be brought low, and all that man lives for will be destroyed. God patiently waits as people rebel against the truth, but in the end, sin will be judged and the Lord will be exalted (vs.11,17).

Regarding application…Trusting in God. Vs. 22, “Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?”  The world places it’s trust in many things…and people are most definitely one of them.  Whether it be Movie Stars, Singers, Athletes, the Rich, the infamous, and even Religious figures like the Pope or Billy Graham…People are constantly looking to put their faith & hopes in others rather than God.  It’s natural for us to look up to people…but we must make that conscience effort to put our ultimate trust in God alone!  Who are you trusting in today?  People are not perfect and they will fail you…but God is perfect and will never fail you!  The choice is obvious…yet we tend to believe what we can see rather than believe what we cannot see.  But that is the true essence of faith (Hebrews 11).  Don’t ever give up in this life He has given to you…no matter how hard life gets or how many times people let you down….Trust in God, he will help you to Triumph in Trials!

Introduction – Isaiah

The book of Isaiah is the first of the writings of the prophets in the Bible; and Isaiah, the author, is generally considered to be the greatest prophet.  The name Isaiah means the “salvation of the Lord.” The “office” of prophet was instituted during the days of Samuel, the last of the judges. Prophets stood with the priests as God’s special representatives. The prophet’s role was to speak for God, confronting the people and their leaders with God’s commands and promise.  Isaiah has two parts.  Chapters 1-39, He condemns the sins of Judah and warns of coming judgment.  In chapters 40-66, He prophesies Judah’s deliverance from Babylonian captivity.  Throughout both sections, he announces the establishment of God’s glorious kingdom. The first section primarily highlights law and condemnation, while the second emphasizes grace and glorious redemption. “The Holy One of Israel” is one of Isaiah’s favorite names for the Lord.  The date & time of the writings were 700 years before Jesus came into the picture.  His purpose was to call God’s people back and to point the way to the coming Messiah.  As you read Isaiah, imagine this strong and courageous man of God, fearlessly proclaiming God’s word!

QT – Isaiah 1

Vs. 1, “The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.”   Isaiah had served under four different kings, but his greatest concern was the spiritual state of God’s people.  There is a place for political action, for it is God who established government.  But the leaders’ faith must be in God’s truth and not in man’s schemes.  Outwardly God’s people looked okay…but as we read the first few verses, we see that was not the case.  His people were rebellious children, lower than animals (vs.1–3). They were sick with sin, like lepers (vs.4–6), and their “garden city” had become another Sodom and Gomorrah (vs.7–9).  Their popular religious meetings were futile and a grief to the Lord (vs.10–15). In fact, their religious activities defiled the people instead of making them clean (vs.16–20). The wife of Jehovah was now a harlot (vs.21); their treasures were now cheap (vs.22–26); and their garden was destined to be destroyed by fire (vs.27–31).  There is also a warning to repent and turn back to Him as we read the last half.

Regarding application…Revive Our Hearts through Forgivness.  Vs. 18, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”  Notice how it is contingent upon coming to the LORD.  God could not make Judah clean and Jesus could not make Jerusalem clean by force.  It all depended upon how God’s people respond to His call of forgiveness.  A timely reminder as we have a revival this coming weekend @ our church!  Think of Jesus’ blood that was shed, I think that is why Isaiah uses this example.  Have you allowed God’s healing forgiveness to impact your life?  Live like you are forgiven.  If you do…you will be surprised how much that can change your life.  All those trials and struggles are carried also by Jesus…he lift’s the weight for us!  Let us live a life so we might become the righteousness of God!

QT – Titus 3

Vs. 14, “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.”  Throughout this final chapter, Paul emphasizes “doing what is good.”  Sometimes, we all need frequent reminders because we are a absent-minded people.  We must remember our citizenship duties (vs. 1) , we must remember what you used to be (vs. 3), we must remember what Christ did for us (vs. 5-6) and we must remember what God’s expectations are for us (vs. 14).  Each of these reminders are speaking to you today in God’s word?  Which one(s) are you needing reminding of?

Regarding application….Unproductive Lives.  Vs. 8, “…so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good...”  The phrase “Knowing is only half the battle” comes to mind.  Most of you know the essential Christian teachings…yet how many of you live a life God would be able to say, “Yes ______, you are doing what is good.”  The fact that Paul uses the term “unproductive lives” should be a wake up call!  You may be doing some of the things God is pleased with (i.e. Going to church, going to Bible studies, reading your bible, praying etc.).  But that is just one part of it.  You can do all those thing I just mentioned…yet live a very unproductive life.  Let’s assume you do all these things I mentioned….that would mean you spend 3 hours at church on Sunday, 2 hours at Bible study, and let’s say you spend (this is genorous) at least 1 hour a day reading God’s word & praying.  You total that up and get only 12 hours a week.  The question you must ask yourself is…”What am I doing with the other 156 hours of the week?”  I think this is what Paul meant when he said to be careful to not live “unproductive lives.”  All the leisure time you plan for “YOU” perhaps should be reevaluated.  I’m not saying you can’t spend some time enjoying other things of this world….but I am asking you to be honest before God. 

QT – Titus 2

Vs. 1, “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”  Paul covers the full gambit of people groups in this chapter.  The elder men, the elder women, the young women & young men and even slaves.  In order to exhort each group to Godly living…each group needed Godly teaching with sound doctrine (principles, instructions).  Notice how the exhortations differ for each group.  Each group had their own faults and each had to make their own efforts to bring the unity back to the church.  Here we see how important each group is to the Lord.  God’s grace not only saves us, but it teaches us how to live a Christian life!
Regarding application…Look Within.  Vs. 7a, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good.”  We’ve all heard the phrase “Practice what you preach!”  There is a tendency within all of us to be quick to point out the problems with others.  But Paul is quick to reveal how we need to take a hard look at our own tendencies for the age groups we find ourselves in.  I noticed how Paul encouraged both younger women & younger men to be self-controlled.  You see…even back then, teenagers & young adults had self-control problems =)  I suppose not much has changed today.  God’s word tells us to say “No” to ungodliness and “Yes” to self-control.  For you today…I think some of the more apparent lack of self-control problems would be the use of the tongue (inappropriate language, gossip & slander, singing secular songs (at church).  Yet, those of you who do struggle, it’s very easy to say, “I couldn’t help it.” or even go as far as to say, “what’s the big deal…it’s not bad is it?”  May we live…”upright and godly lives in this present age.” (Vs. 12)  Let’s pray for our upcoming Revival too!

Introduction – Titus

Titus was a Greek Gentile who became very close to Paul…much like the relationship of Paul & Timothy.  It was Titus and Barnabas who accompanied Paul to Jerusalem to show the Jews that God’s salvation was for Gentiles too!  Paul referred to Titus as “my partner and fellow worker” (II Cor. 8:23)  Now we find Titus living on the Island of Crete.  The Cretians were not an easy people to work with (Titus 1:12-13).  Paul wrote Titus to encourage him despite the current condition of the Cretian church.  It is believed one of the proponents were ignorant Christians who exercised their wayward beliefs upon the church.  The problem was the misunderstanding of the word “Grace” and how that should affect our lives.

QT – Titus 1

Titus was a Greek Gentile who became very close to Paul…much like the relationship of Paul & Timothy.  It was Titus and Barnabas who accompanied Paul to Jerusalem to show the Jews that God’s salvation was for Gentiles too!  Paul referred to Titus as “my partner and fellow worker” (II Cor. 8:23)  Now we find Titus living on the Island of Crete.  The Cretians were not an easy people to work with (Titus 1:12-13).  Paul wrote Titus to encourage him despite the current condition of the Cretian church.  It is believed one of the proponents were ignorant Christians who exercised their wayward beliefs upon the church.  The problem was the misunderstanding of the word “Grace” and how that should affect our lives.

Regarding application…False Teachings.  Vs. 16, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”  Titus was asked to do a pretty monumental task.  To bring the young church from false teachings and ways…to a point where the Cretians are living on Biblical truths!   Titus had the job of organizing local leaders/pastors to live up to the standard that is put upon them.  Titus had the job to refute the false teachings and teachers.  The problem with the Cretian Christians is that they were too tolerant to their way of life and the false teachings that surrounded them.  But more importantly for us today….That same problem exists.  We cover our tolerance and justify it with saying words like “Love” and “Grace”….shame on us.  It is an insult to God when we distort His Truth!  If you find yourself not agreeing with me…go back and really read this chapter.  Titus was to deal with such false teachings by stopping their mouths (11) and rebuking them (13).  You may think, “I don’t really know any false teachers?”  While we may not have such a prominent figure head to point too…false teachings and distorted ways to live a Christian life are rampant in the church.  Just go back and look at vs. 16, that I quoted from the beginning.  Part of the problem is when people claim to know God yet live a life that looks like the world.  They pervert the word of “Grace” by saying God has forgiven us, so we can live any way we desire.