Formless Back to all sermons
Date: January 3, 2021
Speaker: Sean Grossman
Scripture: Isaiah 24:1–24:23
1 Behold, the LORD will empty the earth and make it desolate,
and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
2 And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
3 The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered;
for the LORD has spoken this word.
(Isaiah 24:1-3, ESV)
4 The earth mourns and withers;
the world languishes and withers;
the highest people of the earth languish.
5 The earth lies defiled
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed the laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched,
and few men are left.
(Isaiah 24:4-6, ESV)
7 The wine mourns,
the vine languishes,
all the merry-hearted sigh.
8 The mirth of the tambourines is stilled,
the noise of the jubilant has ceased,
the mirth of the lyre is stilled.
9 No more do they drink wine with singing;
strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
10 The wasted city is broken down;
every house is shut up so that none can enter.
11 There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine;
all joy has grown dark;
the gladness of the earth is banished.
12 Desolation is left in the city;
the gates are battered into ruins.
13 For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth
among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done.
(Isaiah 24:7-13, ESV)
14 They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west.
15 Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD;
in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,
of glory to the Righteous One.
But I say, “I waste away,
I waste away. Woe is me!
For the traitors have betrayed,
with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.”
(Isaiah 24:14-16, ESV)
17 Terror and the pit and the snare
are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!
18 He who flees at the sound of the terror
shall fall into the pit,
and he who climbs out of the pit
shall be caught in the snare.
For the windows of heaven are opened,
and the foundations of the earth tremble.
19 The earth is utterly broken,
the earth is split apart,
the earth is violently shaken.
20 The earth staggers like a drunken man;
it sways like a hut;
its transgression lies heavy upon it,
and it falls, and will not rise again.
21 On that day the LORD will punish
the host of heaven, in heaven,
and the kings of the earth, on the earth.
22 They will be gathered together
as prisoners in a pit;
they will be shut up in a prison,
and after many days they will be punished.
23 Then the moon will be confounded
and the sun ashamed,
for the LORD of hosts reigns
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and his glory will be before his elders.
(Isaiah 24:17-23, ESV)
› These verses describe the judgment which will come against the world
› Thought he world thinks it’s safe, secure, and strong, it is anything but
› The world thinks it’s capable without God
› This only leads to destruction
› First: destruction caused by their actions
› Second: Through the deserving judgment from God
› God will judge the people and He will be seen as the only true Sovereign over all
– When something is formless there is wastefulness to it
– What doesn’t go hand in hand is the concept of a city being formless
– What we have seen…humans who continue to try to build their own understanding of the world
– No matter what the world is unable to give us our assurance
– A formless city is akin to a city which has no real purpose
– The buildings look good, but they are able to collapse with a strong gust of wind
– This is the way of the world without God
– There is no reason for people to do what they do
› Formless (2)
– What happens when individuals believe in nothing?
– It means they view themselves and others as nothing
– They can hurt, hinder…because in the end nothing really matters
– This is a sad and miserable view of reality…yet this is the ultimate outcome of their beliefs without God
–They would find themselves emptied of anything of substance
– They are inhabitants of the formless city
– All their experiences…hopes, dreams, passions, feelings, thoughts, would have no value because they come from nothing
› Formless (3)
– We can imagine individuals such as this
– Imagine a society which consists of such individuals
– In the end, the whole of that society would crumble
– Individuals who do not seek truth, but whatever truth and narrative best fits them at the moment
– This is exactly what we are finding with individuals in our society and therefore our society
– We allow the wicked to roam because we justify their wickedness
– Meanwhile the righteous are condemned
– “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.” (Proverbs 17:15).
› Formless (4)
– What does that lead to?
– It is no longer about finding truth but appeasement
– By becoming a society which everyone does what is right in their own eyes it leads to a moral and societal breakdown
– They eat, drink, and play but cannot quench the emptiness within
– The first doom: Living a lie
– The second doom: The judgment of God
– The destruction which comes upon the earth is quite real
– Nature itself feels the pangs of sin which we cause in it
– The repercussions of our choices are felt not only within ourselves but all of natue
› Formless (5)
– These are the repercussions of our formless society
– This is what happens when we cease to seek the truth and only attempt to find our truth
– These are the results when we believe all reality is formed only by us
– Meanwhile, God has set up His statutes and given us His Law
– We have discarded He who is the creator and sustainer of all things
– We do not need to live formlessly! We can find and know the truth because God exists!
– It is because God exists that nothing is formless
– It is from Him life comes
– He has given us His Laws and statutes not as a way to tie a rope around our necks but to provide us with the greatest possible outcome
› Formless (6)
– He is capable of this because He knows sinfulness and brokenness and knows how to reverse it
– What does it require of us?
– To humbly submit to Him
– If we trust in Him and His ways we would find a more peaceful, righteous, just, and loving society
– To reject Him means more turmoil, more immorality, more wickedness, more hatred
– Apart from God we are formless
– God, however, is fully capable and has done just this
– Let us turn toward God, knowing that every step with Him a step with the One who has given us our very reason, purpose, meaning, and form
› The Gospel of Christ