Daily Scripture Reading – Isaiah 6
Verse of the Day – Ephesians 5:1-2
Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
The Wrong View of God – 1 John 4:8
Ask anybody on the street to describe God and eventually they will come around to 1 John 4:8. There the Bible tells us that God is love. Immediately, our fallen minds can lead us astray with just this small tidbit of information about the true nature of who God is and what God is! Fallen mankind, you see, does not understand love at all. To men and women without any spiritual or Scriptural discernment, love is an emotion, a warm fuzzy that accompanies infatuation. It is something that makes you feel good about yourself and about the one you love.
Love is often seen as toleration, or putting up with all sorts of sin, just because after all, we love the sinner. Have we not all heard that line before? Love the sinner, hate the sin? Well, God hates the sin and the sinner! (Psalm 11:5). We are taught though that God loves everyone equally. (Yes, He does love everyone, but not equally! (see 1 Tim 4:10 for example). In fact, this delusional view of love teaches that God loves everyone and so as a result will not send anyone to hell.
This is an overstatement of one attribute of God’s character, His love, and unfortunately, it is an overstatement of an unbiblical form of love that is really a perversion and a misrepresentation of what God is and what love is.
So many people see a god of their own making. They see an all-loving god who is nowhere close to matching the God of the Bible, and is therefore no god at all, but an idol of their own imagination. So how can we have a right view of God?
Defining Love – 1 Cor 13:1-8a; 1 John 2:3-6; 5:3
Love, as we define it Scripturally, is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) that enables is to make choice of the will regarding how we view and treat another person. Love, further, is defined as obedience to God (1 John 5:3). Yes, it really is that simple. To love God is to obey Him.
So how do we define love? 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 does a fine job of giving us the characteristics of true, Scriptural love. Give the chapter a read and meditate on all that it says about love. And remember, God is love!
The Right View of God – Isaiah 6:1-8
Once we see love for what it is and is not, we see that there is more than emotions at work here. Love is a decision. And God is love. So how can we get a right view of Him even beyond seeing how He embodies love?
In this chapter in Isaiah, the prophet sees God. And what he sees tells us much about both God and about men! First we see that God is Sovereign – He is sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. The angels there around the Throne who are guarding His glory proclaim this truth, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”
To give something emphasis in the Bible the author or speaker repeats a phrase. Jesus said often “Verily, verily”, meaning “truly, truly” and emphasizing the truthfulness of what He was about to say. And the one characteristic of God that is most emphasized on the Bible is seen right here. Above all else, God is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY. He is perfect and good and perfectly good. He cannot sin. It is not that He does not sin, He cannot sin, by His own very nature as a perfect and righteous Being. God cannot sin. He is HOLY.
When Isaiah sees this glory, this ultimate holiness and perfection, he is struck by one singular reality. He cries out, “Woe is me! I am undone!” What does he mean here? Well, this in the Hebrew language is actually a curse. He curses himself! Woe is me. I am undone. When compared to the holiness of God Isaiah sees immediately his own utter sinfulness and cries out that he is cursed and “coming apart at the seams.”
He cannot stand in the presence of such holiness. And yet, so many today have such a low view, such a humanized view of God, that there is nothing Holy, extraordinary, or even fearful about Him. If that is true of your view of God, then you are not looking at GOD!
Isaiah’s response is such in this chapter that as he is cleansed by the coal from the altar, representing the atonement of Christ for his sin, then Isaiah immediately changes his cry. It is now, “Here am I; send me.” He is now ready and waiting to serve His Lord. Often I think people do not obey God because they do not know Him and certainly would not recognize Him if they did see Him. When we do recognize Him for Who He is, we can do nothing less than curse our sin and abandon ourselves in His service.
Imitating God – Ephesians 5:1-7
When we see God for Who He is, we are expected to imitate what we see! The imitation of God is best understood as the process of sanctification – being conformed to the image of Christ – to be made like Him. How are we sanctified? By the Word of God! How do we imitate God? “Follow” Jesus! John 17:14-17
Here is a brief outline for your own study from this passage that shows us what it means to imitate God!
Imitate God – vs.1
1. Be Holy
a. We are Commanded – Lev. 11:45; 1 Peter 1:13-16
b. We are Enabled – 2 Peter 1:3-4; James 1:21; 2 Thess. 2:13-15; 2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 8:28-30
2. Hate what God Hates – vs. 1
a. “Top Seven” – Proverbs 6:16-19
b. Lying – Prov. 13:5; Zech. 8:17; Ps. 119:104, 128, 163
c. Evil – Ps. 5:5; 97:10; Prov. 8:13; Amos 5:15; Is. 61:8; Heb. 1:9
d. Idolatry – Jer. 44:4-5; Deut. 16:21-22
e. False Worship – Amos 5:21-24; Ps. 119:113; 139:21-22; Rev. 2:6
f. Violence – Ps. 11:5
3. Love what God Loves (and commands us to love) – vs. 1
a. Our Enemies – Mt. 5:43-48; Lk. 6:27-35; Rom. 5:8; John 3:16
b. One Another – 1 Peter 1:22-23; Prov. 8:17; John 13:34; 1 John 4:7
c. Salvation – Ps. 40:16; 70:4
d. Mercy and Righteousness – Micah 6:8; Is. 61:8; Jer. 31:3
e. Truth (the Word) – Zech. 8:19; Ps. 119:97,113, 119, 127, 159
f. Our Neighbor – Ps. 3:23; 69:36; Mt. 19:19; 22:37
g. Husbands and Wives – Col. 3:19; Eph. 5:25, 28, 33; Titus 2:4
h. GOD – Deut. 6:5; 11:1, 13, 22; 19:9; 30:6, 16; Joshua 22:5; 23:11; 1 John 5:2-3
Live as is Fitting for Saints – vs. 3-7
We are expected to live like what we are – redeemed and holy! In obeying the command to imitate God, we have learned that we are to be holy, be loving, and avoid Satan’s counterfeits, which are the enemies of holiness and love.
1. Avoid these things, not even to be named among saints (vs. 3)
a. Fornication – immorality, any sexual sin, lack of sexual discipline, lack of
1 Corinthians 5:1-5 and 6:13-20 deals with the issues of immorality in the church. This immorality is a lack of discipline and control in the realm of sexual desires. That lack of control proves a perversion of true love. The desire is for self-fulfillment and gratification no matter the means necessary to fulfill those desires. Counterfeits, though, do not ever produce lasting results and the evil desire continues to grow and consume. The immorality leads to the impurity mentioned next. Lack of control leads to lack of purity.
b. Uncleanness – impurity, anything unclean, rotten, decayed, sexual corruption
The unhindered and selfish desires corrupt further. The desires originate in the corruption of our heart and lead to the corruption of our mind and our body.
c. Covetousness – greed, self-will, self-gratification (to take instead of give)
The focus of any counterfeit is to promise the love and purity but deliver the perverse and unclean. Greed is at the root of impurity. We want for ourselves. We are self-serving. We have no regard for others. We actually use others to get what we want!
d. Not to be Named – not tolerated or even suspected
Don’t even let these things be suspected or much less tolerated among His elect! Colossians 3:1-17. Put these things to death if they “pop” up in your thoughts! Don’t excuse selfish desires, crucify them. Deny yourself.
e. As Fitting for Saints – not proper for “holy ones”
These things are not proper for His holy ones. Who are saints? How should saints live?
2. But Rather Giving of Thanks (vs. 4)
In contrast to sexual sins and corruption we are to be thankful people. What does gratitude have to do with proper living?
a. Neither Filthiness – general obscenity, disgraceful
b. Nor Foolish Talking – silly talk, moronic speech, stupidity, low (in the gutter)
c. Nor Coarse Jesting – innuendo, turning something said or done into the obscene (even the innocent is perverted)
(From point 1 – sexual sin leads to corruption rooted in greed. It is all for Self.)
(From point 2 – obscene speech, moronic talk, and innuendo prove the presence of sin.)
These things prove the condition of the heart! They reveal self-centeredness. They expose the corruption of the inward man.
d. But Rather Giving of Thanks – Imitate God – Be Holy, Be Loving, Be Thankful
Philippians 4:4-9 – To not be grateful is to say, “I deserve all I get and have.” Lack of thankfulness proves selfishness. However, to give thanks reveals self-less-ness, we recognize undeserved grace in every area of our lives. Gratitude shows that the heart is not full of self but concerned for others. It is indeed the very opposite of greed. We either want to get or give. Greed or Gratitude!
3. Idolater or Inheritor? (vs. 5)
a. Idolater – unredeemed, worship of another god, especially self
Those who worship at the altar of self prove that they are unregenerate! A saved person CANNOT and will not live like this, participating in these sins habitually. See 1 Cor. 6:9-11, Gal. 5:17-21, and 1 John 3:4-10.
b. Inheritor – kingdom citizens (the sphere of the redeemed)
What have you inherited in Christ? Who you serve shows your “god.” Does your life evidence that you are redeemed or that you serve self in every situation. Is your life all about you – pleasing yourself, being happy and content? Or is it about God – serving and pleasing Him by being obedient to His Word?
4. Wrath Comes on the Sons of Disobedience (vs. 6)
a. Don’t be Deceived – perverted love leads to punishment
b. Empty Words – devoid of truth
Words that say, “It is okay to sin from time to time. We all fail. Just confess it and move on.” These are dangerous words, words devoid of truth. God does not tolerate sin. We cannot excuse it! We must deal with it as He does. The wages of sin is death – anything that causes death is to be held in proper perspective!
c. The Wrath of God – Eph. 2:1-3
d. The Sons of Disobedience – Rom. 1:18-32
5. Therefore, do not be Partakers with Them (vs. 7) – 1 Thess 5:9-11, 16-20
a. Partakers – partners
b. In their Sin – evil companions
c. In their Judgment – suffering wrath
Conclusion – Live as is fitting for saints. Be holy. Be loving. Be thankful.
Avoid Satan’s counterfeits. Enjoy your inheritance now.
It all comes down to who we are serving. Who do we worship? Who has priority in our lives? It is self or is it God? A comparison of God’s love and Satan’s counterfeit, lust, will help reveal the god (God) we serve.
“The world claims to want love, and love is advocated and praised from every corner. Romantic love, especially is touted. Songs, novels, movies, and television continually exploit emotional, lustful desire as if it were genuine love. Questing for and fantasizing about the “perfect love” is portrayed as the ultimate human experience. It should not be surprising that the misguided quest for that kind of love leads inevitable to immorality and impurity, because that kind of love is selfish and destructive, a deceptive counterfeit of God’s love. It is always conditional and is always self-centered. It is not concerned about commitment but only satisfaction. It is not concerned about giving but only getting. It has no basis for permanence because its purpose is to use and exploit rather than to serve and to help. It lasts until the one loved no longer satisfies or until he or she disappears for someone else.” (MacArthur’s Commentary on Ephesians, pages 199-200).
God’s love is permanent. God never changes. He never leaves. Do you love Him and prove your love by obedience?
Be Holy – Ephesians 5:1; 1 Peter 1:13-16
Hating what God Hates – Ephesians 5:1; Prov 6:16-19
Loving what God Loves – Ephesians 5:1; Matthew 22:37-38
Loving as Christ Loves – Ephesians 5:2
Live as is Fitting for Saints – Ephesians 5:3-7