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Who Will Seek the Lord, and When?

20/12/2016

Who will seek the Lord, and when?

Text . Isaiah 55:6-7. Luke 19:1. Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

We are all to be seekers…. but who will search for God?

  1. Three Solemn Calls to the Sinner.

There is a general call to all men everywhere to seek the Lord. Matthew 6:33

  1. The Call to SEEK.  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
    1. The object of the search. Look at whom we are to seek. THE LORD. But what are the natural objects of our search?  Happiness, peace, fulfilment, comfort, enjoyment…  etc etc.   Instead we are to seek Christ. Luke 11:10
    2. The opportunity of the search.    We are to seek him while he may be found. Hos 10:12.  Common belief among the dispensationalist arminians is that one must respond to the call of God while his voice is still speaking. How many sermons have been preached on a proof text version of Gen 6:3 3And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man. And from that single, out of context phrase they preach that there will be a time that God’s grace will be extended to you no more, and the door of opportunity will end and you will be lost.  3And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 

The verse is not about A MAN – it is about Mankind.  Gods spirit will not always strive with mankind, for there will be a day when he dies and the probation of man is over, and there will be a day when the church is at home with the Lord, and he will strive with mankind no more.  That’s just the context, – the language contradicts this attack on the effectual call of God also.  The Hebrew word for ‘strive’ is probably better translated as ‘indwell’. A literal translation of the verse could be My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years. To help us with this, see what the Shorter Catechism teaches: QUESTION 31. What is effectual calling? ANSWER: Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.    2 Cor 5:9.

  1. The openness of the one sought. He is NEAR!  Acts 17:27 He is available for those who seek him, he is not far away, he is waiting to be found.
  1. The Call to REPENT7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts We must repent because of our wickedness. We must repent because of our unrighteousness.  We must repent because of our utter depravity. Our WAY and our THOUGHTS. Everything we do and everything we think and say…
  2. The Call to RETURN. 7and let him return unto the LORD, Isaiah’s hearers are the people of God, who have rejected him, and strayed from him, and who have been chastened of the Lord for their rebellion.  Now they must return.      We are his people, chosen and elected by him from before the foundation of the world, and we must and we will return to him.   We must return to our Creator.  We return to his Covenant. In our sins and in our rebellion we are covenant breakers.We return to the God who Chose us to be His.

  1. Three Observations about Seeking.

So we see that there is a duty upon us to seek the Lord.  But immediately that we accept this, there is two observations that we are forced to make:-

  1. a) The problem with seeking.   We are commended to seek the Lord, but we won’t! No-one seeks him!  So, the pointlessness of the ‘seeker-driven’ foolishness, where services are made as worldly was possible to attract ‘seekers’ – when we are clearly taught that there is no one who seeks after God. Why do we not seek the Lord?  Rom 3:10  We are sinners, dead in our sins, and seeking is that last thing we can do.  So what then, is God mocking us, by commanding us to do something that it is impossible to do, then punishing us because we do not do it?  NO! Our seeking God is a response to what God has already done, in regenerating us, and bring us to an awareness of our sins, and predisposing us to seek after him.  And that’s my second observation about seeking…
  2. b) The surprise awaiting those who DO seek the Lord is to find that he is already seeking for them. Do you remember the story of Zachaeus, the man in Luke’s gospel who wanted to see Jesus but was too small? Luke 19:10  Only when we seek the Lord do we realise that that search is in itself a response to God’s grace, seeking us and awakening us to our sin and bringing to us him, who is already seeking for us.
  3. Seeking the Lord is a LIFETIME occupation! We are not to think that seeking God is the equivalent of the ‘sinners prayer.’ We are to seek the Lord in our prayers, in our worship, to continually seek his face and his comforting presence.

Finally, let us see…

  1. The Result of our Search. and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon

What does the sinner find when his search for the Lord is complete?  He finds.,,

  1. Mercy. Undeserved grace.  Mercy is free and unearned.  If you could deserve mercy it would no longer be merciful.  Ps 103. 8-12.
  2. Pardon.   Isaiah is looking forward to the coming Messiah.  He has already explained how this pardon would be brought about, just a couple of chapters beforehand.  Isaiah 53:4-6  Our pardon was purchased for us at Calvary.

It is there, through Christ and Christ alone, that we are pardoned, through God’s undeserved mercy alone, it is there, that we can come and drink and have our spiritual thirst quenched, without money and without price.

But why?  Why would God be so gracious and kind as to pardon rebellious sinners like Israel, people who had spurned his goodness and turned their back on his redeeming love?  We have the answer in verse 8. God is not like us.  He is not capricious or vindictive, he does not hold grudges or seek irrational revenge. His justice is perfect and it is always tempered with his mercy.

From → Bible Study, Isaiah

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