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Nov 17, 2019

Other People are Real as You Are

Other People are Real as You Are

Passage: Isaiah 58:1-10

Speaker: Patrick Lafferty

Series: Isaiah: The Story Beneath the Story

Isaiah pointedly reaffirms a thread running through the whole bible and reiterated in Jesus: any love of God will naturally translate into a love of neighbor. It’s a version of religion in this passage that sadly becomes a pretext for disconnecting those two priorities. But the fault doesn’t lie with the practice--but with the practitioners.

Order of Worship

Pre-Service Text: Isaiah 58:6
Call To Worship: Psalm 111:2-3,7-9 NIV
Sermon Title: “Other people are real as you are.”
Central Text: Isaiah 58:1-10
Response: Communion!
Confession of Sin
Assurance of Pardon: Ezekiel 36:25-26
Benediction: Jude, vv24-25
Post-Service Text: Isaiah 58:10

11.17.19 Sermon Notes


Samsung - Hearing Hands

Readings & Scripture

Pre-Service Text: Isaiah 58:6
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?

Call To Worship: Psalm 111:2-3,7-9 NIV
LEADER: 2 Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. 3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever.

7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. 8 They are established forever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.

ALL: 9 He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—holy and awesome is his name.

Central Text: Isaiah 58:1-10
Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the LORD?

Is. 58:6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.

Confession of Sin:
Father, forgive us for thinking small thoughts of you and for ignoring your immensity and greatness. Lord Jesus, forgive us when we forget that you rule the nations and our small lives. Holy Spirit, we offend you in minimizing your power and squandering your gifts. We confess that our blindness to your glory, O triune God, has resulted in shallow confession, tepid conviction, and only mild repentance. Have mercy upon us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon: Ezekiel 36:25-26
25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Benediction: Jude, vv24-25
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Post-Service Text: Isaiah 58:10
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

Related Scripture

  • Leviticus 23:26-32
  • 1 Kings 18:20-29
  • Ezra 8:21-23
  • Nehemiah 5:10-12
  • Jeremiah 29:4-7
  • Zechariah 7:5
  • Matthew 6:16-18
  • Matthew 23:24
  • Matthew 25:31-40
  • Luke 18:12
  • James 2:1-7
  • 1 John 3:16-17

Discussion Questions & Applications:

  1. What we call a “disconnect” is any time we see one thing and expect something to naturally follow but doesn’t: a loss that should elicit grief but doesn’t, a blessing that should elicit joy but doesn’t, a new set of responsibilities that should elicit new diligence but doesn’t. Name a disconnect you see--in culture or in politics. Now name a disconnect people with religious faith are often accused of by those without such faith.
  2. What is Isaiah chastising in Israel’s version of religion (vv. 1-5)?
  3. What is Isaiah calling Israel to repent of (vv. 6-7)?
  4. What is Isaiah promising as a consequence of their repentance (vv. 8-10)?
  5. What’s similar about Isaiah’s teaching here on fasting and Jesus’s teaching on the same in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:16-18)? What does their common word suggest about the easy distortions of religious practice?
  6. How does this pointed word of Isaiah mirror a similarly pointed word of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46?
  7. How does Jesus himself act with justice and mercy? How so at His cross? Why is that the necessary motivation for any commitment to justice and mercy--a motivation more sound than a humanism that grounds such a commitment in the value of human goodness and potential?


  • I think the hardest thing for anyone is accepting that other people are real as you are. That’s it. Not using them as tools not using them as examples or things to make yourself feel better or things to get over or under. Just accepting that they are absolutely as real as you are and have all the same expectations and demands. And it’s so difficult that basically the only person that ever did it was Christ. The rest of us are very, very far behind. - Zadie Smith (more by Smith here)
  • ...there is no genuine relation with a God that is not at the same time a relation with the brother. - J.D. Smart
  • One early Sunday morning several years ago, I called my 5 yr old son off the hockey rink in the middle of practice to go to church gathering. He complained.  I said "Get in the car son. Hockey means nothing without the Eucharist. - David Fitch
  • Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die: Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, That I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is the LORD?" Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.
    Proverbs 30:7-9
  • The God who would bear the curse in the Person of His Son cannot be a God who is unconcerned about the economy, about the welfare of a nation, about the triumph of justice…. - Joseph Minich, Enduring Divine Absence
  • I wonder what later generations will identify as our biggest idol to which we are oblivious? No doubt it will be our economic idolatry and our blindness to consumerism. It will be our lives immersed in mindless consumption in a world where there is so much poverty and hunger. - Lesslie Newbigin (cited in Michael Goheen’s The Church and its Vocation)
  • [The] connection between belief and behavior runs right through Christian literature. The two cannot be separated without disastrous results, among them the end of effective evangelism. - Michael Green
  • If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither.
    - C.S. Lewis
  • There is a direct relationship between a person’s grasp and experience of God’s grace, and his or her heart for justice and the poor. . . Before you can give this neighbor-love, you need to receive it. Only if you see that you have been saved graciously by someone who owes you the opposite will you go out into the world looking to help absolutely anyone in need. Once we receive this ultimate, radical neighbor-love through Jesus, we can start to be the neighbors that the Bible calls us to be. - Tim Keller, Generous Justice