[SW263] 12/30/2016 message notes by
Reverend Susan J. Wynn ©2016
[These notes are brief. There is so much more in the video of this message! The links are to the right of this post, on my blog.]
Who does the Lord find acceptable? The outcasts, the unclean, the banned! He heals them when they turn to Him! Many will do so in these last days!
Texts: Isaiah 56:1-8, Matthew 21:31
Isaiah shocked the Jews when he prophesied that foreigners and eunuchs would be IN the house of the Lord, His Temple, and would be accepted by Him.
Foreigners were relegated to the Court of the Gentiles (Numbers 1:51). They were not to enter the Temple! In Acts 21:28, Paul was dragged out of the Temple because there was a rumor he had brought Gentiles inside! In Jesus’ day, there were markers that warned foreigners they would be killed if they entered the Temple.
And eunuchs were prohibited from entering the temple, per Deuteronomy 23:1! They could not bear natural children, who are man’s legacy.
Just to quickly explain why these laws were put in place: 1) so Israel would not worship like the false god-worshiping peoples around them; and 2) as a shadow of what was to come — spiritual eunuchs and spiritual foreigners would be welcomed by Him. On what basis? Keep reading and watching and listening!
You see, Isaiah 56 shows us that God was about to do a new thing, inviting those who were without God in the world — those who were the banned, those who were the outcasts, the eunuchs and the foreigners — to be welcome in His house! And more!
Look at the promises to those who turn to Him, who BY FAITH join themselves to Him, who entwine and unite themselves with the Lord, who love Him, who serve Him, who seize His covenant, His promise to Abraham in Genesis 17:7 . . .
Looking at Isaiah 56:3, the foreigner believes the Lord will separate him from His people. That is what the Law of Moses requires, but it is just a shadow of what God was going to do.
And in that same verse, the eunuch says, “I cannot father children. God will not want me. I am a dry tree I am unclean.” Again, that is what the Law of Moses requires.
But the Lord will look at their hearts! A humble, broken and contrite heart He will not despise (Psalm 51:17)! Those who turn to Christ, He will not cast out (John 6:37).
If the eunuchs keep His sabbaths (for us, the sabbatismos of Hebrews 4:9), if they choose what pleases Him, if they hold fast (seize) His covenant, then —
— IN His house, WITHIN His walls, He will give them a place (the meaning of “memorial” in Hebrew)!
— They will be honored not for natural sons and daughters, but for something better — an everlasting name (honor) that will not be destroyed.
But these are unclean! How are they made clean? By believing and turning to the Lord! In His new covenant, He heals their uncleanness, so they are able to come IN to His house!
And the foreigner who joins himself, who entwines himself, who binds himself to the Lord, in spite of being an outcast who cannot enter the Temple? Who minsters to and loves the Lord, who serves the Lord and keeps His sabbath, who seizes His covenant, His promise to Abraham? Even those, even the foreigners —
— He will bring them to His holy mountain — who can ascend? Those with clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 15)!
— He will make them joyful in HIS house of prayer! In it, no longer banned, no longer considered unclean.
The Lord shocked the Jews in Isaiah 49:6, when He said through Isaiah that His servant would not only be a redeemer of Israel but also a light to the Gentiles — they would also be redeemed! Indeed, it would be a house of prayer for ALL the peoples (56:7)!
And in Isaiah 35, banned ones who were blind, deaf, lame and mute would walk on the Highway of Holiness!
I tell you, He heals the banned, the outcasts, the unclean, when they turn to Him!
Such WERE some of you (1Corinthians 6:11)!
Isaiah 56 pointed to the new thing God would do, sending His Son to establish a new covenant whereby access to God’s presence was not by outward rules and regulations, but by the heart! The Heart Changer was coming, and all those who turned and believed would gain access to the Lord, and would enter His house!
I tell you that since Jesus came, we become His house (John 14:23), regardless of what our lives were like before we turned to Him!
Jeff and I were unclean ones, banned — He was an atheist, and I was a new ager, worshiping many “gods.” And yet, when we turned, the Lord received us, and when we cried out to be filled with His Spirit, He came to dwell permanently in us. We became His house!
And indeed, it is a joyful place — the kingdom of God is not about rules for eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17)!
And indeed, it is a house of prayer without ceasing (1Thessalonians 5:17)!
In Matthew 21:31, Jesus chided the Jewish religious elite, telling them that prostitutes (unclean, outcasts) and tax collectors (thieves who stole from those who paid their taxes) would get into the kingdom of God before the religious did.
Why? The sinners believed the words of John the Baptist, and prepared the way in their hearts for the Lord! They received a baptism by water, for repentance. They confessed their sins! But the religious felt no remorse, even though they saw these sinners repenting. They were sure their good deeds would get them to heaven. But their hearts were far from the Lord (Matthew 15:8)! Thus, Jesus implied that they would not enter at all.
Do not be like them! The wages of sin is death, and in refusing, you condemn yourself to hell.
God invites you into His house, if you will turn. It makes no difference what your outward condition is. If you will confess your sins, He will heal you!
Turn to Him. A humble and contrite heart He will not despise. You will no longer be unclean, no longer a eunuch, no longer a foreigner to Him. Your sins will be forgiven.
And when you obey and stay and wait, your heart will be purified so you will become His house, and you will join yourself to Him, minister to Him, love Him, and serve Him. And you will bring forth spiritual children.
This is His command — Turn! Then stay! Wait! Then watch the kingdom of God happen in you, and be fully assured that you will enter His heavenly kingdom!