Sermon #1290 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: What Is Really Important To God?
Text: Isaiah 66:1-2
Subject: Things That Matter To God
Date: Sunday Morning - August 17, 1997
Tape # T-97
Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:2
I want to begin my message today by reading Isaiah 66:1-2. Hear now the word of the Lord.
As I observe all that is done in the name of God, all the money that is raised and spent, all the buildings built, all the works performed, all the programs and activities maintained, all the rituals and ceremonies endured by men, all the creeds, confessions, and laws which are imposed upon men and women in the name of God, I cannot help asking myself a question. It is a question which I have been asking a good bit in the last few weeks, as we make final preparations for our conference. Knowing the cost and labor involved in this work, I think the question is worth asking and considering. Here is my subject today - WHAT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO GOD?
I do not pretend to know very much about God. When I begin to think of him, I cry out with Paul, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God? How unsearchable are his judgments and his ways past finding out! Who hath known the mind of the Lord; Or who hath been his counsellor?” I am fully aware that God’s infinite, holy Being is indescribably above me. My puny, pigmy mind cannot fathom the Almighty! “No man hath seen the Lord at any time!” Zophar asked Job, “Canst thou by searching find out God?” Our greatest, deepest, broadest knowledge of the infinite, eternal, incomprehensible, omnipresent, omnipotent God is very, very limited. Yet, our Lord Jesus Christ declares, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” And I have seen Christ by faith. After spending nearly thirty years studying his Word and preaching his gospel, I think I can shed some light on this question - What Is Really Important To God? This much is certain - That which impresses us does not impress him (Lk. 16:15).
1. I know this: Almighty God is not impressed with church buildings, ornate cathedrals, and so called “houses of worship.”
He says, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me?” Paul told the Athenians that God, who made the heavens, does not dwell in temples made with hands (Acts 17:24).
Crosses, altars, stained glass, and crystal cathedrals impress foolish men; but religious buildings mean absolutely nothing to the omnipresent, eternal God.
2. God is not at all impressed with the tithes, offerings, and sacrifices which men bring to him (Isa. 1:11).
Preachers bow and scrape before men, like beggars on the street. They compromise the gospel and sell their souls to get men to give a little money. They even promise rewards from God, in this life and in the life to come, to entice people to give an occasional tip to God, as though grace is something God sells! But the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and all the gold and diamonds of the deep mines of the earth, is not impressed with the gifts men bring to him.
· Which of us ever made a sacrifice worthy of God’s notice?
· God has no need of our paltry gifts.
· It is a blessing of grace that he allows us to give, stoops to receive our gifts, and condescends to use them!
· But the Almighty, Self-sufficient God does not need and is not impressed by a puny man’s gifts.
3. God is not impressed with our rituals, ceremonies, holy days, and sabbath keepings (Isa. 1:13-14; Col. 2:16).
Illustration: Sabbath Day Observance Society
“Do you believe in keeping the sabbath?”
“The Christian Sabbath”
4. The Lord God certainly is not impressed with long, fancy, often repeated, wordy prayers (Isa. 1:15).
True prayer is more than words. It is the voice of the heart seeking God’s mercy, God’s will, God’s glory, and God’s Son.
5. God cares nothing for works of righteousness performed by men (Matt. 5:20).
Our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in God’s sight. God calls them “dead works” to be repented of and forsaken. The Son of God declares…
6. God is not impressed by strictly observed legal religion.
Legalism impresses, allures, and snares blind, spiritually ignorant men and women; but legalism, in any shape, or form is an utter abomination to God. Those who would impose upon God’s saints the yoke and bondage of Moses’ law pervert both the law and the gospel. “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified.” God declares, in speech that is unmistakably clear that we are entirely free from and dead to the law (Rom. 6:14, 15; 7:4).
There is absolutely no sense in which righteousness comes to us by our obedience to the law. Either we are under the whole law to do it all, r we are not under the law at all! And the laws, customs, traditions, and rules of religion invented and imposed by men are utterly contemptible to God!
· Dietary Laws
· Dress Laws
· Do Laws
· Don’t Laws
God almighty, who made Adam and Eve naked in the garden and gave them everything he had made to use and enjoy as they saw fit, is not impressed by what the fallen sons and daughters of Adam wear or do not wear, eat or do not eat, drink or do not drink.
7. I will tell you something else. God is not impressed with preachers (Matt. 7:22).
Orators impress men; and pulpiteers impress themselves; but God is not impressed.
If these things do not impress God, if he has no regard for our buildings, our sacrifices, our prayers, our ceremonies, our righteousness, or our preaching, what does he regard? What does God treasure? What is really important to God?
I have searched the Scriptures and found five things which really are important to God. These five things God treasures above all other things. I am going to give you these five things in a specific order; but you could really put them in any order you might choose, because these five things are of equal importance to the Lord our God. Really, they are so intimately connected and interwoven that they cannot be separated.
I. What is really important to God? Number one - HIS WORD.
Listen to what the Lord God says in our text. “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isa. 66:2).
In Psalm 138:2 the psalmists makes a statement which, at first glance, seems almost out of place.
What an utterly astounding statement! God’s name represents all his attributes and all his works. His name represents the totality of his infinite Being. Yet, the psalmist declares that he has magnified his Word above all his name.
Men may poke fun and make light of it until God casts them into hell, but this blessed Book is God’s Holy Word. It may not be important to you, but you better believe it is important to God! “Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:89). “The word of our God shall stand forever” (Isa. 40:8). “Let God be true, and every man a liar!” God says, “My word shall not return to me void” (Isa. 55:11). All God’s works are by his Word: His Living Word, His Decreed Word, His Oral Word, His Written Word, or His Preached Word.
· The world was created by the Word of God.
· Heaven and earth are preserved and held in tact by the word of God.
· Christ is revealed by the Word of God.
· Men and women are convinced of sin by the Word of God.
· Faith is given by the Word of God.
· Comfort is administered by the Word of God.
· Saints are motivated, edified, protected, and ruled by the Word of God.
No wonder then that John wrote, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they hat hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein” (Rev. 1:3).
Let me tell you five things about the Word of God, the written Word of God, which you hold in your hand.
A. The Word of God is the seed of spiritual life by which chosen, redeemed sinners are born again (Heb. 4:12; James 1:18 1 Pet. 1:23-25).
Illustration: :A sower went forth to sow…The seed is the Word of God.”
B. The solitary basis of our faith is the Word of God (Rom. 4:3, 20-22).
Faith is belief in action. Abraham believed God’s Word of promise. He believed God’s Word and acted upon it.
C. The Word of God is the foundation of our hope (Psalm 119:49, 81, 114).
D. The Word of God will be the basis of judgment at the bar of God in the last day (John 12:47-50).
In that great and terrible day God almighty will judge all men by the light of this blessed Book.
E. The Word of our God shall stand forever (Matt. 5:18; Num. 23:19; Isa. 46:9-11).
God almighty will do all his Word. God is as good as his Word. It will all be fulfilled!
1. His Word of Predestination.
2. His Word of Promise - (Of Grace).
3. His Word of Judgment.
What is really important to God? His Word. That is the first thing.
II. The second thing that is important to God is HIS GRACE.
Turn with me to Exodus 33:`13-19. Notice this fourfold request which Moses made to the Lord.
When God saw the wickedness of the world and destroyed it in the flood of his wrath, what saved Noah? “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” “The law came by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”
Sinners are saved by grace alone; and that grace is bestowed upon chosen sinners only through the mediation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing is more important to God than his grace. He says, “My grace is sufficient for thee!”
A. His grace established and made for us the covenant of grace.
B. His grace chose us in Christ.
C. His grace sent Christ into the world to redeem and save his chosen, covenant people.
D. His grace called us from death to life.
E. His grace keeps us.
F. His grace shall finish (Phil. 1:6) and complete what his grace began “to the praise of the glory f his grace.”
Illustration: No Sound of Hammer or Saw in the Temple
The Altar of Unhewn Stone (Ex. 20:25)
What is important to God? His Word! His Grace!
III. Third, HIS SON is important to him.
God has given his Son all pre-eminence. The triune God has put all fulness in the Lord Jesus Christ, God the Son, as our Savior, Mediator, and Covenant Surety.
God has turned everything over to his Son. He is like Joseph in Egypt. He holds the keys to everything.
Illustration Go to Joseph!
In the New Testament, God the Father spoke audibly to men only two times: once at our Lord’s baptism and again at his transfiguration. His message was the same both times. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
A. All grace is in the Son.
B. Conversion is in the Son.
C. Life is in the Son.
D. Salvation is in the Son.
“What think ye of Christ?” Christ is ALL!”
1. In The Purpose Of God.
2. In The Works Of God.
· Creation: By Him, For Him, In His Image
3. In The Book Of God.
4. In The Church Of God.
Until we have learned this, we are not in union and harmony with God. “CHRIST IS ALL!”
What is really important to God? His Word! His Grace! His Son!
IV. Here is the fourth thing that is important to God HIS PEOPLE.
How important are God’s elect to him? Is it really true that we are equally as important to him as his Word, his grace, and his Son? Indeed, we are!
A. God created all things for us (1 Cor. 3:21-23).
B. He sent his Son to die for us (Isa. 53:8).
C. He sacrifices people and nations of people for us (Isa. 43:1-5).
D. He rules all things for us (John 17:2).
E. He upholds and preserves the world for us (2 Pet. 3:9).
F. He will judge the world for us.
G. He will bestow all the glory of heaven upon us.
H. God the Father loves us as he loves his own dear Son as our Savior and Redeemer (John 17:20-24).
I have shown you four things which are of utmost importance to God: His Word, His Grace, His Son, and His People.
V. Now the last, but by no means the least, thing which is of utmost importance to God is HIS GLORY.
How can a mortal, sinful man talk about the glory of God? God’s goal and delight in all things is his glory. His glory is…
The heavens declare the glory of God. The angels sing, “Glory to God in the highest!” The Son said to the Father, “Glorify thy Son that thy Son also may glorify thee.” The Holy Spirit has come to glorify Christ for the glory of the triune God. All the redeemed in heaven sing, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power.” “Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne!” Read Romans 16:25-27 and Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14.
If you and I could be in harmony with God’s creation, the holy angels, the Son of God, his Holy Spirit, the redeemed in heaven, and the purpose of God himself, if we hope to be accepted of and honored by God, whatever we do in word or in deed must be done for his glory (1 Cor. 10:31; 6:19-20).
This I know: We will, every one of us, sooner or later, glorify God. Ultimately, we will glorify him, either in his mercy, love, and grace, or in his justice, truth, and righteousness. But we will glorify him!
Illustration: Criswell’s Story:
“Where was the Lord…….? He was in his glory!”
What is really important to God? These five things…
1. His Word.
2. His Grace.
3. His Son.
4. His People.
5. His Glory.
Now, I want you to answer one question - What is really important to you? What is really important to me?