In Isaiah 45:22 our God says, “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth: For I am God, and there is none else.“
Take note of how simple the way of salvation is. One word. Four letters: Look. Too many people are fond of intricate worship; worship so complex they don’t understand what’s happening. They want not a pastor, but a priest. Not a man in normal dress, but a white-robed saint. Not a communion table, but an altar. And what was once a cup, becomes a chalice. The more complicated the ceremonies become, the better they like them, and in the end, they have a religion they love, but cannot comprehend.
We, on the other hand, are committed to the glorious minimum. Our God tells us the way of salvation is plain. It is simple, and we don’t want to overcomplicate it. God is Holy. Man is sinful. Christ has made redemption possible through his cross and resurrection. Therefore, look to Christ, and be saved, all the ends of the earth. And we seek to embody all of that gospel in our weekly worship.
Some of you will say, “But our services are far more complicated than the one’s I grew up with.” That’s true for me too. And that’s because while a portion of the church has added requirements to God’s Word, most of the evangelical church has forsaken the bare minimum. They have preached a God without wrath, who welcomes men and women without sin, into a kingdom without laws, through a Christ without a cross.
We want to proclaim all of God’s truth as simply and plainly as God himself proclaims it. And so, we say, “Look to Christ, all the ends of the earth, and be saved. For he is God, and there is none else.”
This reminds us of our need to confess our own sin, so let’s pray now.
We come to you acknowledging that you alone are God. There is none other. And we acknowledge that your salvation is plain and simple. You have given us your Christ as the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only—but the whole world. And all you have commanded us to do is to look upon Christ with faith.
Father, we confess that we’ve tried, in our own ways, to earn our salvation. We often act as if we could win your approval through our own good works. We have mistakenly believed that more repenting earns us more merit, and we have feared that our doubting has caused us to lose your love.
Father, in so many ways, we have looked to ourselves. We have looked to our own goodness for our security. We have compared ourselves to others to give us confidence. We have looked to our church attendance, our tithing, and even our receiving of baptism and Communion as if there was power within them to wash away our sin, instead of looking through them by faith to see the pierced hands and shed blood of the savior.
Lord God, in this moment of humility before your Word, we confess, that we have overcomplicated your saving work – we have not looked to Christ as we ought. We confess that this is sin, and we ask that you would forgive us according to your steadfast love.
And we know that many other sins are lurking in our hearts, so Father, give us the grace to confess our individual sins to you now in silence.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Isaiah 54:8; 43:25; 44:22
In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer.
I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.