An Objective Look at Apostasy

Text: Isaiah 1:18

The Lord offered His people an invitation to consider their apostasy objectively. How did they fall away? How did their apostasy affect them? How could they return? These people had fallen away from God and did not realize it. We need to objectively examine ourselves to make sure we do not fall as they did.

Forgetting the Master (Isaiah 1:2-4)

  • How could God’s people fall away from Him? … they forgot who their master was and forgot where they belonged (v. 3)
  • Those who forget God will fall away (Romans 1:28ff)
  • Those who fail to appreciate who God is will not be motivated to remain faithful (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • Those who forget that they belong to the Lord will not serve Him (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

Far-Reaching Consequences (Isaiah 1:5-8)

  • The people continued in their rebellion, despite the punishment they faced – their apostasy affected them in many ways (v. 5-7)
  • Sin has far-reaching consequences – falling away from God means more than just forsaking the assembly (Hebrews 10:25)
  • Sin is progressive (2 Timothy 3:13) and has a compounding effect (1 Corinthians 5:6) – example of David (2 Samuel 11)

Faithfulness of God (Isaiah 1:9)

  • Despite their unfaithfulness, God did not completely forsake them – if He had, they would have been completely destroyed
  • God is patient while the unfaithful rebel against Him (1 Timothy 1:15-16)
  • He continued to extend mercy in hopes that the erring will return to Him (2 Peter 3:9) – but His patience will eventually be exhausted (2 Peter 3:10)

Futile Worship (Isaiah 1:10-15)

  • Despite their apostasy, the people still continued to worship – but because of their sin, God did not accept their worship (v. 11-14) and would not listen to their prayers (v. 15)
  • Many people today worship God, but do so in vain – by not worshipping in spirit and truth (John 4:24) and by teaching the commandments of men (Matthew 15:7-9)
  • We must serve God at all times, not just on Sundays (Romans 12:1)

Forgiveness is Possible (Isaiah 1:16-20)

  • After condemning these people for their apostasy, the Lord gave them a message of hope – they could change their lives (v. 16-17) and be forgiven (v. 18); forgiveness was conditional (v. 19); they could later fall away again (v. 19)
  • No matter what we do or have done, we can always return to the Lord – but we must repent (2 Peter 3:9)
  • His is willing to forgive (1 John 1:9) – but we must obey Him (Matthew 28:20) and remain faithful (Revelation 2:10)

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