We live in a day and age and a culture that worships the trivial. I pastor a church in one of the greatest metropolitan areas on the face of the earth, that often worships the trivial. If i'm honest, I myself at times, worship the trivial. I at times get more excited about some of the lamest things on earth, than I do about the incredible majesty and glory and brilliance of our God.
People literally told me when I moved here, not to tell people that I am a Yankee's fan or Netcast would never get off the ground. I thought they were kidding, but they we're serious.
The football season has started and churches all around Boston will begin to align their service times, community group meetings, bible studies around when the Pats play. There will be more people who purchase a Tom Brady jersey or Ochocinco jersey than attend an Evangelical Church this season in Greater Boston.
My desire as a pastor.
I want to lead a people who's emotions and affections are far more brought to life at the mere thought of God's glory, than a silly sport where 25 year olds try and get a ball across a goal-line or over the green monster. I want to lead a church who's passion for the presence of God, far outweighs our passion for a comfortable seat in church enough space to gather, playing the right worship song for you, having the right job, getting a good education, or chasing the next girl.
I want to lead a people who see the Holiness of God and are absolutely desperate for His presence in their lives.
In Isaiah 6, we see three things, that I think sum up how encounters should lead to worship.
Recognition of who God is: Do you know who you're messing with?
Recognition of who we are: We think we're a big deal. Do you know who you are, in light of who he is.
Response: Encounters should always lead to some sort of action.
1In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
Ultimately known as one of the greatest kings of Judah.
He took the throne at the young age of 16.
Was king for 52 years.
God was pleased early on. 2 Chronicles says “he did good in the sight of the Lord.”
As he got older and more powerful, he became proud and was unfaithful to the Lord.
Got leprosy and died at age 67.
So, in the year that Uzziah died of leprosy, Isaiah has this vision of the Lord. I think that the timing of the vision is almost symbolic. Its almost like the Lord is saying to Isaiah, “Kings will come and go, but look at me. I am alive. I always was, and always will be. I am the King of Kings.” I am the one "Who was, and is, and is to come." - Revelations 4
2Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3And one called to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!" 4And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.
I think that in an effort to make God seem more approachable, modern evangelicalism, tends to un-intentionally dumb him down a bit. We tend to get a little too casual in our approach of who He is. Saying things like, God's my friend or Jesus is my homie, at times, if we're not careful can remove the necessary reverence that we should have as we approach his throne.
Fiery angelic being. Literally, a blazing angel.
A massive being. Maybe the largest living being that we would ever see.
A 6 winged being unlike anything we can imagine.
A being that could absolutely crush you and I in an instance.
…...wont even show his feet to God, let alone dare look at Him. Instead, it does nothing but continually fly around in absolute praise and worship of God. And their song of choice is simply Holy, Holy, Holy. (There are no other words to describe him.)
How do we approach this God?
Shame on us if in this church ever gets to the place where our worship of Jesus becomes casual. If you have seen Him for who he truly is; if he has saved you from your sin; How can we not lift our arms and our voices, and get excited about singing His great name?
As Isaiah realized who was before Him, The King, King Jesus, this is what he said......
5"Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"
Woe is me!! aka.....Just kill me. I don't even deserve to live. In light of God's holiness, Isaiah saw very clearly his own sinfulness. Not only his sin, but he was even broken over the sin all around him. The second Isaiah saw the all powerful, all knowing, Holy God, he understood his weakness, his smallness, in light of God's power and might. He saw that he was nothing compared to God.
We walk around thinking we're hot stuff, arguing with God, running our mouths, waving our fists in his face, talking about how life isn't fair, if we were God, we'd do things different....and we're nothing in comparison to Him. He could destroy us in a millisecond, and if He did, he'd still be Holy and Righteous in doing so.
I was reminded of Gods power this week as I read of the King of Assyria in 2 Kings.
2 Kings 19:9-20; 32-35
So he sent messengers again to Hezekiah, saying, 10"Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: 'Do not let your God(B) in whom you trust deceive you by promising that(C) Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? 12(D) Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed,(E) Gozan,(F) Haran, Rezeph, and the people of(G) Eden who were in Telassar? 13(H) Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?'"
14Hezekiah received(I) the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the LORD and spread it before the LORD. 15And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD and said: "O LORD, the God of Israel,(J) enthroned above the cherubim,(K)you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 16(L) Incline your ear, O LORD, and hear;(M) open your eyes, O LORD, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent(N) to mock the living God. 17Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands 18and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods,(O) but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 19So now, O LORD our God, save us, please, from his hand,(P) that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that(Q) you, O LORD, are God alone."
32"Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or(A) cast up a siege mound against it. 33(B) By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the LORD. 34(C) For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake(D)and for the sake of my servant David."
35And that night(E) the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.
“You do not mess with our God.” Jesus says in Luke 10:18 “I saw satan fall like Lightning from Heaven.” It wasn't a fight.
Look at God's heart towards the repentant person.
6Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7And he touched my mouth and said: "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for."
Isaiah's sin was atoned for.
Atonement is a theological word that simply means to “Make Amend” or “To make right, what has been made wrong.” As Christians, we believe that men and women are regenerated, redeemed, reconciled to God, justified, forgiven, adopted; by God's atoning work through the sacrificial and substitutional death of Jesus Christ
.....Not religious dedication or trying to be better than your idiot neighbor Bill.
The idea that our Lord died a helpless martyr is nowhere taught in the Bible. Jesus himself said on multiple occasions that “it is necessary for the Son of Man to be beaten and killed.” Christ became incarnate in order that He should die for human sin. It was always the plan.
8And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?"
Look at Isaiah's Response:
Then I said, "Here am I! Send me."
I love how quickly Isaiah submitted; There was no:
Lets talk this over at Starbucks.
Let me put to gether a strategic plan.
Let me change my major or get to seminary.
There was no, let me sleep on it.
He simply said.......”Here I am! Send me.” Encounters always lead to Action.
Isaiah 43:1 “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you, by name, you are mine.”
At the end of the day, I don't know you. I don't know your story, I don't know your calling. However, there is one thing that I do know. If you are a beliver is Christ, you are Called. You are called to GO. To take this message to the nations. Starting on your block, moving to your neighborhood, then to your city, then your region, then your nation and then to the glode. But GOING always starts in your backyard. You are a missionary wherever you are sitting and reading this. I dont know what your part is in this, but you do have a part. Play your part well. For His glory and for his fame.
May God bless you as you GO!