↓Audio link to the sermon:(1st worship recording)
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Verse 7 says,「these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”」The following verse 8 says,「The Sovereign Lord declares— he who gathers the exiles of Israel: “I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.”」”Those already gathered” were the Jews who have been released from the captivity, and “still others” refers to the Gentile believers. It is said that “for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”, which means through Jesus, a house of prayer will be birthed into for both Jews and Gentile.
Verses 9-12 describe the leaders of Israel at the time. It says, “Israel’s watchmen are blind,” “They love to sleep,” “They are shepherds who lack understanding;”, “They all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain.” These expressions display their lack of urgency. It should be no surprise to lose the country because of such leaders. In Chapter 57, it is expressed that both leaders and the people have fallen into idolatry, and they were corrupted. However, Isaiah 57:14 says,「Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people.”」
Now, let us read Isaiah 57:15.「For this is what the high and exalted One says— he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.」God continues to love the people of Israel who walked away from God and fell into idol worship. This God provides mankind a way of salvation for He broke his heart for us so much that He sent His only son, Jesus to be crucified. Verse 18 says,「but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners,」
There will be a group of believers who encounter the Lord and their lives are renewed. They are those who serve the Lord, love the name of the Lord, and they are servants of the Lord, as Isaiah 56:6 describes. They are those who rejoice in the Sabbath and keep a new covenant firmly in their hearts. There will be such believers not only among the people of Israel, but also among Gentile. Let us learn that from Ephesians of the New Testament. Ephesians 2:8 says,「For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—」(Ephesians 2:8 NIV) Ephesians 2:11-12 says,「Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and …. remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.」(Ephesians 2:11-12 NIV)
Christ reconciled such Gentiles and Jews. And, as in verse 18, through Christ we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Gentiles become the saints, being accepted as God’s family. Verse 20 says,「..built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.」(Ephesians 2:20 NIV)
If we compare the church to a temple, we describe Christ as the chief cornerstone, the apostles and the prophets as the foundation, and we believers as the stone of the building. Peter calls the church a temple of the spirit. (Reference; 1 Peter 2:5) In verses 21 and 22, he describe the church as a Holy Temple and a dwelling place of God. (Ephesians 2:21-22)
The church is the body of Christ. It is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 1:23 NIV) The church is a house of prayer, a holy temple, and the dwelling place of God.
God’s plan is great and big. The Israelites who walked away from God and fell into idolatry will also be restored and renewed by Jesus. We Gentiles also encounter Christ, receive the forgiveness of sins, and we are invited to renewed worship. Both Jews and Gentiles will be saved by the grace of God. Isaiah prophesies that we will start giving renewed worship as one body. The church is being raised all over the world by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Our church is an international church. It is a church that exists as a temple of God and a house of prayer, regardless of language or ethnicity. Let us welcome the presence of Jesus, and worship together as an international church. “For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Let us experience this word together.