A Sermon from Isaiah 66
Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.(Isaiah 66:1-4)
In this text we have the LORD address a group of his own confessing people. Yet within this address it is obvious that he is really addressing two peoples, a congregation within the congregation.
The larger congregation is impressively active , going about the business of worship. They are building an elaborate temple for the LORD and offering multitudes of sacrifices also. But their entire enterprise is rebuked and rejected by the LORD in shockingly harsh terms.
For example, the LORD himself ordained that oxen be sacrificed, but here he tells the larger congregation that their sacrificial killing of the oxen was similar to the sin of murder! We all know that lamb also was the God ordained offering for certain aspects of worship, but He tells this congregation that their lambs were no different than if they hd offered dogs, with broken necks!
Perhaps the harshest condemnation of their worship, was when he likened the lighting of incense (as proscribed by the LORD) to pagans blessing an idol. How could doing so many right things be found to be so wrong?
The passage begins with a God given glimpse into the doctrine of the immensity of God himself. Heaven is His throne…do we even have an idea of what that means? There are three “heavens” in Creation, the atmosphere around the earth, outer Space and the place called Heaven, the abode of God.
How immense is the second heaven, outer space? The late Dave Hunt gives us an idea of it in his book Cosmos,Creator and Human Destiny,
Even if we could build space vehicles that might travel at the speed of light, it would take 100,000 years to cross The Milky Way, our relatively small galaxy, and billions of years to reach the trillions of galaxies beyond. These facts show how foolish is man’s dream of “space exploration.”
But God made the heavens and calls each star by name. He doesn’t merely number them, He knows them ll by name.
When Solomon was used to build the Temple of the LORD, he dedicated it with a prayer, part of it being a humble acknowledgement that there is no way possible for any man to truly build a house for God,
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? ( I Kings 8:27)
The Holy House was a God ordained concession to man, God needs no House, and man would be inadequate to build Him one in any other sense.
But the larger, busier congregation actually imagined that they were building for God, and doing for God and that their activities were a credit to God and something which He needed and they were providing. Man centered religion is intoxicating, it feels good but isn’t based on reality, and particularly it is ignorant of the reality of the Majesty of God.
Such man centered religion is corrupting, it is based on confidence in the flesh, and a sense that ‘we are doing something for God’ as if the Most high needed us!
It is called “Will worship” in the New Testament. Worship indeed, but willful, and self oriented and exalting. The Will-worshippers have created for themselves a religious system, run on their energy and zeal.” We have built a house for the LORD!”,
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.( Collossians 2:20-24)
We see a similar admonition given by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount;
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.(Matthew 7:20-23)
Once again these people are busy. They run about casting out demons, prophesying and performing signs and anders, but they are utterly shocked to find out, at the judgment day, that Jesus disowns them! They would have sworn up and down that they were in the cutting edge of God’s work on earth, they were the warriors, the end times company, the real “inner court”Christians, better than the more staid and quiet Christians around them.
This verse frightened me when I realized as a young Christian, saved in the charismatic movement, that these manifestations were all charismatic. It seemed as though Jesus was describing everyone I knew! The Power people! How could we be disowned by God after serving him so powerfully?
What is he saying here?
Perhaps help comes to us when we look closer at the phrase “Depart from me, you that work iniquity…I never knew you”. The Word ‘Iniquity’ is another name for “lawlessness”.
Jesus isn’t repudiating the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit here. What He is saying, in our own vernacular is simply this,
“When it comes down to it, You people always did your own thing, you never submitted to me (Jesus) for your approval.”
The sin is called WILL WORSHIP.
Have the followers of Todd Bentley or Bill Johnson seen a lot of powerful things? Definitely? They have seen healings , miracles, heard prophecies, spoken ‘words’ over each other, and many other manifestations in the name of JESUS.
Do they submit to JESUS? No! If they really submitted to JESUS they would insist that all of their ‘teachers’ be biblical, and they would test their ” Prophets” biblically, but they don’t and won’t.
They do what they want to do, hear what they want to hear and pursue power, because they want power.
Yea they have chosen their own ways…
As Jeremiah once warned the congregation in His day…
A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jeremiah 5:30-31)
In the end…what will come of the Will Worshippers? Are they even saved?