Wholly Holy (Isaiah 6)

September 11, 2022 | Brandon Cooper


The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

Well, good morning, you can go ahead grab your Bibles open up to Isaiah chapter six. As Kyle mentioned, that’s where we’ll be this morning, Isaiah chapter six, we are starting this new series people got killed. And while the title of the series was meant to be a little bit startling, it is certainly not intended to be flippant, or anything like that, because we are dealing with a deadly serious topic here. As Carl mentioned, these are the stories that make us uncomfortable. When we come to them in Scripture, we got to deal with that fact we got to we got to talk about these are the stories that raise questions for us, the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love, and you’re going, then explain that, to me. That part where that guy got zapped? Is God as loving as we make him out to be? These are the sorts of questions of course that we’re all asking or have asked at different points in our lives. Or if if you’ve never asked them, you probably should have asked them I’m not sure what’s wrong with you. These are the questions that are keeping some people from coming to church in the first place. And these are the questions that are causing other people to leave the church to keep them from staying. These are questions that worry us questions where we’re worried that if we dig in and get answers, we might not like the answers we get and might not feel the same way about God that we felt before we got those answers. If God is so good, why did he condone the slaughter of innocents, and the so called the Holy Wars? Which certainly feel unholy from our perspective? How is it that God this loving God is contented damn people who’ve never heard his name to condemn most of humanity to a fate that makes concentration camps seem nice by comparison. And for eternity, I might add. Even asking these questions makes us a little bit nervous here. Like can we just sweep this under the rug? Let’s talk about the other parts. Let’s talk about love. Let’s talk about the cross instead. Or else, maybe we’re gonna see that Jesus is a bit of a fraud, not who he claimed to be. What if God? What if God isn’t actually worth loving? At the end of all these questions, and so we close the door like you do on crazy uncle Herbert when company comes over. But here’s the thing. God does not close the door on these questions. He does not sweep these stories under the rug. He’s not hoping that you won’t notice the stories. He put them in His Word. And he’s really hoping you’ll read His word, which means he’s hoping you come across these stories regularly. God is not ashamed of these stories, because God has no reason to be ashamed of these stories, because God has never do anything wrong. And so there’s no reason to feel shame, which means we shouldn’t be scared to ask, and certainly shouldn’t be scared of the answers that we will find. Now that doesn’t mean though, doesn’t mean that the series won’t be painful for us. We say this upfront. And clearly my aim in this series is to precipitate a crisis of faith in your life. I want your the foundations of your faith to be shaken a bit by looking at these stories like testing systems fail safes, to see if the system will actually endure the hardest questions. Or if you prefer, it’s a little bit like my aim here is to to renovate a hastily constructed faith with a solid edifice. Like you come to Christ and you you kind of throw up with a ramshackle hut. But then what happens? We talked about wolves a lot in the last series, the wolf comes along and Huff’s and puffs and blows the house down. Those are those hard questions we want to house is built out of steel and brick and mortar so that when your college professor, your friend, your colleague, or even just your own interior thoughts, start to ask these questions. You don’t go Oh, know what that means, though, if we’re gonna do this kind of renovation, we know what renovations like, yeah, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better. If you ever done a renovation in your home or something, you know that sometimes they like take the back of the house off. So good news, you’re gonna have central heating at the end of it. The bad news is I’m gonna expose you to the elements in the meantime. And so you might feel chilly at a few points. Why why why are we doing this again, because I want your face to be real and I want it to be strong. And I also want it want us to do this together. These are questions that we need to ask in community.
Not on your own, not going down some YouTube rabbit hole looking at who knows who talking about who knows what. These are questions we asked in community. So we want to be one of our The main goals here at Cityview is that we’d be a place where you can get honest answers to honest questions. We’re gonna ask those honest questions together even now, not by ourselves, not at home. Now, to get answers to these questions, we’re gonna have to proceed by steps. I just got I got bad news for you. I can’t do in 40 minutes answer all those questions. Okay, it was one would take a little bit of time here. I strongly encourage you to commit to come in the whole series. Just don’t miss it. Otherwise, you can get half an argument and go I didn’t get my question answered. That’s because you missed the time where we answered it. Okay, so show up. So you get the whole thing. We’re gonna proceed by steps. The first step is simply knowing God, who is he really, and not settling for social media caricatures of who God is? Or what you remember from flannel graphs in your days of growing up in whatever it used to be kid city? What does the Bible say about who God is to get that answer we’re gonna talk about today when Isaiah sees the Lord Almighty on his throne, and here’s the song that we sang today, holy, holy, holy, is the Lord Almighty. And here’s my contention. He’s going to try and show you the rest of our time here today. Until we understand God’s holiness. We will never understand His justice, or his grace, because we can’t make sense of really the rest of the Bible if we don’t understand His Holiness. When I look at three scenes, three aspects of God’s character as we go. So the first scene God is holy, holy. Isaiah chapter six, when you read verses one to four to start us off. In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord high and exalted seated on a throne, the train of his robe filled the temple. Above them were Sarafem, each with six wings with two wings, they covered their faces with two they covered their feet and the two they were flying, and they were calling to one another, holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty, the whole earth is full of his glory. The sound of their voice is the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
Alright, if you were with us this summer, back in June, you know that we covered Isaiah chapters one to five, and we were looking at the woeful spiritual state of the nation of Israel, which is why Isaiah is ministry was necessary in the first place. And that’s something we got to keep in mind as we look at this passage. This is a nation that was struggling spiritual. Isaiah gives us the setting, though, this time in the year that King Uzziah died at 740 BC, by the way. And it’s kind of an appropriate week for us to talk about this, because we just had Queen Elizabeth passed away this week after a 70 year reign, this era of stability that all of a sudden came to an end. That’s what happened with Zion as well. He was Israel’s longest Judah’s longest serving King at 52 years, which is like unthinkable back then that’s how long he reign. So this is, this is a significant moment, for sure. Significant, it’s also not coincidental, like God doesn’t do coincidences. So if Isaiah is starting his ministry in this moment, there’s a reason for it. And it’s because Uzziah is symbolic of the nation as a whole, long, prosperous, peaceful reign that sort of fizzled, near the end, made some really bad choices, spent the last part of his reign holed up in a house not in the palace couldn’t go into temple. Why? Because he had leprosy at that point, because he had disobeyed God badly. So there’s the spiritual state of the nation right there spiritually leprous, dying and unclean. It is really unusual to date historic events, by deaths. You’re always going to read in the first year of King so and so’s re not in the year that so and so died. But again, His death is significant sign if it can’t, especially given what Isaiah sees, because he sees the king. It’s almost like we’ve got this moment implicitly, the king is dead long live, the King, the eternal King, the King who lives forever. I saw the Lord Isaiah says, and this is kind of exciting. We’re like, Alright, we’re gonna get a description of the Lord here, excuse and describe the Lord does he? It’s quite clear that he doesn’t actually lift his eyes, he kind of gets a sense of okay, the Lord is there and he keeps his head down. Because he knows to look up and look, the Lord is got like the Raiders, the Lost Ark face mounting vibe to it, and he’s not going to try that out. So he’s reticent to describe God. A little bit like we saw with his Ico last week. Remember, his Ico was like this was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of God. We’re getting like impressionist painting, not a photograph here, anything like that. Isaiah gets no higher than the hem of God’s robe as he describes him. But it doesn’t matter because he knows that God is on His throne. The king live See, and he is high and exalted. That is the nature of his reign. He’s surrounded by Sarafem only time the word Sarafem shows up. I don’t know that this is actually a class of angels or anything like that. The root word of Serafin is like burning. So these are just the burning ones. As in they’re kinda, you know, look like flames very bright, very pure. And all of that fits the story, this description of what the angels look like fits where we’re going in the story. This is a nice corrective for a lot of us though, because if you look at like Renaissance art or something like that, you might have a vision of angels as being fat babies. Let me help you out here. Angels are not fat babies, were you to come into contact with one and see when you would probably fall on your face before them. Because people often do that before these flaming beings. And yet these awesome creatures before whom you would probably fall in wonder are themselves awed in the presence of God. We see this because they’re covering their eyes. They don’t want to look on the Lord either. They’re covering their feet. No one’s quite sure exactly why they’re covering their feet. It’s definitely got a Moses before the burning bush, you feel you’re on holy ground, take your shoes off. I don’t know why exactly. There’s something about the feet that suggest their creature leanness, these are created beings also. And they recognize that and so they cover themselves in humility before the Lord. What are they doing? As they’re flying? They’re covering their eyes and feet before the Lord. They’re calling to one another. They’re singing to call and response song like an old gospel spiritual, holy, holy,
holy is the Lord Almighty. That is there is an audible response to the awesomeness of God. That’s why we sing by the way. It’s so weird, isn’t it? That we sing? When do you sing with people? Like you sing in your shower? Are you singing your car? I know that you need to confess it. I know it already. Okay. When do you sing with people? Happy birthday, really out of tune? That’s a difficult song. Y’all should not sing that one. Right? It’s difficult. Okay, happy birthday. Take Me Out to the Ballgame. And the national anthem if you sing along. And yet every week we come together and we’re like, you know, we should do? We should sing together. That’s so weird. Why do we sing? Because we can’t help but sing. Because when you see the awesomeness of God, it calls forth response and you go My words are certainly not enough. I better put some melody behind when I need drum learning crashing cymbals. We’re gonna need some amplification here just to begin to express the depth of feeling within us. Can you imagine walking out of the service last week we looked at the doxology in June. I mean, you’re talking about the awesomeness of God. I close the sermon with a prayer we say amen. And we all get up and leave. Well, that was nice. Like No way. We had to sing the doxology together. Did you care that you were five minutes later than you want it to be? Oh, I hope not. Because we did is saying the awesomeness of God. But the content of the song they sing is interesting to see is the only place in Scripture except when it’s quoted in Revelation, where we get a three fold repetition, describing the character of God. Weird to us, except we’ve heard the phrase so many times that it’s no longer weird to us but Hebrew is a different sort of language. It’s not that far removed from like cavemen grunting kind of thing, okay? So in when it’s trying to express superlatives, it just says the same adjective a couple times in a row. So give you an example. Second Kings 25 Verse 15, they’re talking about the the treasures in the temple basically. And they say they were made of gold, gold. You know, a gold gold is don’t you? Really nice gold, like the high carat stuff and it translated pure gold. Now, threefold repetition. Again, this is like exponential. So this is like, whatever we’re talking about. Multiplicity of cube that’s going to, we’re trying to express a a meaning that goes beyond words. But it’s so interesting to how they refer to that one time in Scripture, we get a description of God’s character with a threefold repetition. It’s not love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, or power, power power, not because God isn’t perfect in all of those attributes. He certainly is. It’s just his holiness, captures who he is, especially now, the problem for us of course, that Holi is one of those religious words we use a lot without having the faintest idea what it means. What’s the only time we use holy outside of church When you meet somebody you don’t like, who’s a little uppity, and you call them holier than thou. That’s it. That’s about the only place we got left here. So what does it mean when we when we use the word holy? Of course, it suggests moral purity, yes. But it also seems to imply then, you know, somebody who’s judgmental, probably mean and gossipy smile, Lis joyless, and kind of a dull, boring person, because fun is, of course, sinful. And if you can be holy, you’re not allowed to have any fun. Is that what it means? Probably not. Purity is a part of it. Don’t get me wrong. Absolutely. God’s moral perfection is expressed in this phrase, but really, it’s an implication of his holiness, not the heart of it, the root word behind the holy is to cut. And from cut, we get to separate. We do use language like this a little bit in English, we’ll talk about when these are cut apart, or especially a cut above, you get a particularly superior person or product and it’s a cut above the rest. Well, that’s got he is a cut above just infinitely more so. So the idea of holiness than is God’s being transcendently other transcendently removed from who we are, he is above and beyond us. He’s not just simply the best we can imagine multiplied by an infinity now that we can imagine anything multiplied by Infinity anyway, but it’s just completely beyond us. It is his unapproachable, incomprehensible, God NISS.
And this is a good thing. Some people get a little nervous when they we talked about God being incomprehensible. It’s a good thing that God is incomprehensible. If you could figure God out. He wouldn’t be God. If you could get your mind around him, he certainly wouldn’t be God, we know this, because humans haven’t invented a lot of gods. And what are those gods look like? Us? This is Zeus, right? What is Zeus? He’s just a dude. Like, he’s just a guy like the rest of us only more, just bigger, stronger, that kind of thing. And that would be if that’s all God was. If God was just somebody we could get our mind around, because he’s just a little bit more than we are. That would be cause for despair, because we need some transcendently other help in this world. Okay, so that’s holy, holy, holy. Let’s remember for a moment that it is the Sarafem who are singing this. This is not Isaias response. This is the angels response, these beings before whom we would shake. They’re the ones saying Holy, holy, holy. Why? AW Tozer, whom I will quote a lot in this series helps us out here he says this in his book, The knowledge of the holy, we must not think of God as highest in an ascending order of beings starting with a single cell and going on up from the fish to the bird of the animal to man to Angel to cherub to God. God is as high above an ark Angel, as above a caterpillar for the gulf that separates the archangel from the caterpillar is, but finite, while the gulf between God and the ark angel is infinite. He’s transcendently other. He’s not like us only bigger and better. He stands apart, holy is the way God is. And like streaks of light radiating forth from the sun than his glory, the glory of that transcendence fills the Earth. This is infinite worth made visible and creation in His Word in history, all the things we talked about last week. So in light of that, of course, there’s no surprise then that the temple is shaking. Although I sometimes wonder, is the temple really shaking here? Or is it just that Isaiah is shaking? And so it looks like the temple shaking because I’d be freaking out at this point. There’s this deafening song Sure, maybe that’s shaking the temple, you know, the subwoofers, Boomer boomin or something like that. But no, it’s a it’s a daunting presence of God causes things to shake. We see this at Sinai also when God’s revealing himself to the nation of Israel, the Sinai, the covenant with Moses the 10 commandments, when we read Exodus 19 Verse 18, The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently evens mountains are shaking in the presence of God. So let’s imagine you’re you know, neighborhood kid kind of thing and a friend asked you if you want to play a pickup game of baseball in the neighborhood, I got some friends who are coming I haven’t played before, but I think a lot of fun. You’re like it’s awesome. I’m a kid. That’s what I do. I play pickup games of baseball. You can When you’re batting leadoff for your team, who’s on the mound, one of your kids friends kind of thing? It’s Jacob deGrom. The best pitcher in baseball without question when he’s healthy, which is where? How do you feel as you’re stepping in the batter’s box? You’re gonna shake a little bit, right? Why are you shaking?
I don’t want you I be shaking because I’m scared of the fastball. I am not going to Anthony Rizzo and Crowden plate here, right? Like, I’m gonna stay in the on deck circle, I’ll just take my three strikes and go home. I’m shaking because I’m in awe of his skill. But I’ll also be shaking because I’m just excited, like do Jacob grounds on the mound? This is awesome. That’s what the Earth does in God’s presence. Is there an element of fear of all absolutely but there’s an element of excitement to be in His presence and we get the smoke on Sinai and here also, most likely, so that we can’t see him Raiders Lost Ark all that stuff again. Now, given our topic, we got one last point to make before we press on. If the Creator who made all this is himself holy, then let me quote Tozer again, holiness is the moral condition necessary to the health of his universe, like holiness is what it means to be healthy. How many times does God say the Scriptures say some variation of Be holy, because I am holy. Because whatever is not holy, cannot stand in His presence and must be removed. And that’s a problem that takes us into the next section. So let’s keep reading second attribute of God he is holy, holy, He is holy gracious, as well. Let’s look at verses five to seven. Woe to me, I cried, I am ruined. For I’m a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips in my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty. And one of the seraphim flew to me with a lie of coal in his hand which he had taken with tongs and the altar. With it, he touched my mouth and said, See, this has touched your lips, your guilt has taken away your sin atone for so Isaias response when he sees the hem of God’s robe and hears the angels is not to join in the song. This is a rockin concert. I want to sing to his responses to say Woe to me. He had pronounced woes on the nation and the last chapter. And now he includes himself in this category as well. He is not feeling holier than them. There is no one holy, no one righteous no one who does good not even one. Like we talked about that infinite chasm of being right archangel and Caterpillar, and God is on the other side of the Andromeda Galaxy. Well, there is an infinite chasm of holiness as well. That moral purity. So, uh, you know how we work right? God is here in terms of holiness, Satan’s down here, Hitler’s pretty close to him. Mother Teresa, where are you? You know, above the 50% line was not get cocky but, but a lot closer to Mother Teresa and to God than we are to Hitler. Not a chance. Not a chance like the archangel in the caterpillar. We and Hitler are like this. And God is on the other side of the universe. That’s what Isaiah figures out here. That’s what Isaiah figures out. The most righteous guy in Israel at this moment is ruined when he sees God. He is undone. unmade in God’s presence. The man of integrity disintegrates That’s what the word means that’s used there for ruin it means to fall apart he disintegrates in God’s presence. This is like your middle school science fair. You’re feeling pretty good. You did the one about how long it takes teeth to dissolve and coke and water and milk and it’s pretty borrowed somebody’s Cricut machine so all your you know graphics are really cool and stuff and you’re walking in straight A student feeling awesome. And the kid that you didn’t even no one to your schools got a cold fusion reactor that he made out of things he found in his garage. And you just drop your project because you’re stunned and the glass shatters and the T Fallout and coke spills and that’s the end of it. That’s what happens here this the the disintegration Did you notice where it happens for Isaiah to will to me because I am a man of unclean lips. What does Isaiah do for a living?
Talks? He’s a prophet of God, He sent to declare God’s truth. So what is it that disintegrating it’s his identity? This is who I am. This is my PR campaign. This is all my pretension right here before you and it’s gone in an instant in the presence of God. Were his lips cleaner than the idolaters in Israel who were worshiping bail. Sure, absolutely. And who cares? Because before a holy, holy, holy God, they were filthy. And he knew that he could not see God and live. There’s the whole tension of Scripture, by the way, because we are not holy, holy, holy, and only those who are holy can see God and live how can we possibly stand in His presence? Now hear me so clearly on this. This is the response we will all have when we stand before God, and you will stand before God. Regardless of how you feel right now about God, this is how the story ends, you will not utter excuses or rationalizations every now and again. Somebody be like, Well, when I stand before God, and he says, How many unbelieving, I’m gonna say, not enough evidence, no, you won’t hear what you will say before God. Not a damned thing. And I’m not swearing there. I’m just saying, you’re not gonna be able to utter damnable lies in God’s presence, your mouth will be shut, you will fall silent, you will not dispute with God, you will beat your breast in shame, because you’ll see him for who he is, and you for who you are. In seeing God. We see ourselves at last. You see, we can’t understand our sin, or filthiness, or wickedness without first understanding God’s holiness. But once you see God for who he is, it’s quite clear we know this because we see this throughout the Bible. Like here’s Peters story, Luke, chapter five, says early on and Peter’s acquaintance with Jesus, he hears Jesus teach for a bit. And Peter, you know, Peter, right, like, shoots off his mouth, things like that. Peters first response to hearing Jesus teaches teaching is kind of like mitt, you know, sounded fine, better than I could do. But whatever. Jesus says, Hey, how’d you do fishing last night didn’t do so great. Didn’t catch a thing. Thanks for bringing that up. My wounds are open, if you wanna sprinkle salt in that would be awesome. And Jesus says, Why don’t you cast your nets right there. And this is really dumb advice because they’re parked on shore. It’s the worst place to fish at the worst time of day, because it’s the middle of the day. And Peters got that? Like, can I kind of argue with Jesus for a minute, whatever, fine. Look, I’ll show you how dumb Your advice is. And the catch is so large, that boat almost sinks. It’s a miraculous catch. How does Peter respond? How do you respond to that moment? Oh, thanks, Jesus. I’m gonna be able to pay my bills for a long time. You stand in awe. Surely this is the Christ, the Son of God. You know what Peter says exactly what you and I would have said, Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man. I can’t be here in your presence. In essence, we would pronounce judgment on ourself. cast me out. I don’t belong here. Like I’m a fourth grader has had two flute lessons sitting down with a CSO. This is not where I should be. This is not where I belong.
I mentioned this because before we can see God as holy gracious, we have to understand that we are wholly sinful. You get the bad news before you get the good news. But thank God that’s not the end of the scene. Well, to me, I’m a ruin Sarafem flies to Isaiah with a burning coal. And fire is very appropriate here. Because what is fire that fire is an appropriate image for the holiness of God. What does fire do? It can cleanse, it can purify. It can destroy pretty quickly. And fire is cool. You know this if you got kids, because every time you like candles, they’re like, I need to blow it out. I get to blow it out, you know, and you bring a candle close to them what happens? They back up. Because fire is cool and fire is scary at the same time. Now in the Old Testament, fire is a symbol of God’s wrath, his fierce and righteous anger at our sin. We’re going to see this in a few weeks. But this is fire from the altar, specifically, the altar is there to move us beyond wrath. The altar is the place that God has made instituted, where we can offer sacrifices for our atonement, where we can be made right with God where we can be forgiven. So this fire this coal that’s coming for Isaiah is a symbol of God’s wrath, satisfied and forgiveness offered just exactly what Isaiah experiences as the coal touches his lips. Your lips are clean now. But it’s more than that. His takes away his guilt, which is his inward nature, not just the outward expression, and it atones for his sin, root word for atonement there is to cover and is used most often of the debt that needs to be paid, like will cover the expense. So somebody is covering the debt we owe as a result of our sin that raises the question of how of course and here we know much more than Isaiah, especially at this moment, we know that this happens in and through Jesus. And what’s so cool is you know who it is that Isaiah is seeing here. Jesus, he’s standing before Jesus, before he was made flesh, He exists eternally. Here’s John 1241. Isaiah said this, and it’s quoting verse 10, in our passage that we’ll get to in a moment, Isaiah said this, because he saw Jesus’s glory, and spoke about him doesn’t just say, God doesn’t just say, Lord says, Jesus, specifically, he’s there in the presence of Jesus. Is this the Trinity Father, Son, and Spirit? I don’t know. I was not there. But I know he saw Jesus because that’s what the text says, Jesus who is himself, holy, holy, holy, that man who when he lived among us, was a man of perfect integrity, was disintegrated on the cross. He was pulled apart. He was undone on the cross for our sakes. He is the sacrifice offered on that heavenly altar that purifies Kansas. It takes the guilt away. It redeems us. What does he say on the cross? It is finished. It’s covered, that the debt is paid. He is a holy, gracious because that does not square with what we deserve. Psalm 103, he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. He is holy, gracious. What does this mean for us? Oh, for those who trust in Jesus, who are no longer living for ourselves, but living for His glory, it means we do not need to fear judgment. Like when we see God, we will feel our sin keenly, we will feel how we wounded God, but we will know the warmth of his embrace and acceptance in heaven. We know this because again, we can look Peter, Get Peter, Luke, chapter five, go away. I’m a sinful man. I can’t be around you. follows Jesus for a while after Jesus’s death and resurrection. What’s the last thing Peter said, in Jesus’s hearing? By the way? I swear to you, I do not know that man. He’s denied Jesus three times. Last thing he does before Jesus’s death, and resurrection. And what happens? They’re out fishing again.
They don’t catch anything. Again. Peter needs a new profession. I’m glad God gave him one. Okay, so it didn’t catch anything. Again, a guy standing on shore and says, Why don’t you try the other side of the boat. And at this point, they know somebody tells you to try the other side the boat, you just try the other side of the boat. They put the net over. And it’s another miraculous catch. What does Peter do that time? Depart from me, Lord, no, he jumps out of the boat and swims to shore. He can’t even wait for them to get the haul in. He wants to be with Jesus. Because he now understands God’s grace. That does not mean purification won’t hurt. You ever touched a live coal? You want that on your lips? No, probably not. Doesn’t mean it won’t hurt. But we can trust God’s process. We’re gonna be accepted before Him because He is making us acceptable to him. Even now. He is making us holy. Now, if you’re here today, and you’re still questioning Jesus, like all this is not so sure about this. First of all, welcome. We’re so glad you’re here. We’re so glad you’re answering or asking these sorts of questions in this place you are You are so welcome here. Just know that you will also stand before God. And at that moment, you will say, Woe to me. I am unclean. I shouldn’t be here. The question you have to ask yourself is are you going to bow now or bow later? That’s the only choice that we have. See God for who he is holy. And then see yourself for who you are not so holy. See what he’s done on your behalf, and turn until we understand His Holiness, we will never make sense of his grace. There’s one more piece of this though third scene third attribute of God is holy, holy, holy, gracious, and he is holy, just as well. verses eight to 13. And I heard the verse voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send and who will go for us? And I said, Here am I send me he said, Go and tell this people be ever hearing never understanding ever seen but never perceiving make the heart of this people calloused, make their ears doll and close their eyes otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears understand what their hearts in turn, be healed. And I said, for how long Lord, and he answered until the city’s lie ruined and without inhabitant, kind of houses are left deserted in the fields ruined and ravage until the Lord has sent everyone far away in the land is utterly forsaken. And no attempt remains in the land it will again be laid waste, but as the terrapins and Oak Leaf stumps when they’re cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land, most sermons and at Verse seven, which you can appreciate, because the rest of the chapter is frankly a bit disturbing. Like we love to preach a God who is so willing to forgive, not a God who is preventing people from coming to repentance, so that he can pour out the full measure of His judgment upon them. So we’re gonna have to take care to make sure we understand and apply this rightly especially given the New Testaments use of this passage, Jesus quotes it for himself. And we’re all about Jesus being loving and forgiving, as he certainly is. First things first, though, before we start to answer those questions. This chapter sets the pattern for our lies. First, we encounter God. When we encounter God. We fall flat on our faces, we confess and experience forgiveness, which by the way, means if you’ve never had that moment of confession, where you see yourself who you are, you have never actually encountered God. So that’s important. So we encounter God, we confess and receive forgiveness, then we are commissioned, then we are sent. So to get up and go into the world without first falling down is unthinkable. But to experience grace, without immediately following that up with here, my send me is equally unthinkable. We’ve got this in our our mission statement as a church, don’t we? What are we here we’re made to magnify, sent to serve were made. That’s passive tense. By the way, it’s his grace, we don’t make ourself we are being made to magnify Christ, and then we are sent to serve. Because who will tell them about Jesus, if not us, this is our calling. This is what Jesus said, right before he left, Go into all the world and make disciples or tell them about me, we are commissioned. Just like Isaiah is commissioned here.
This has got to be the strangest commission ever given to a prophet, until we dig into it a little bit, at least preach so that they don’t get it preach so that our hearts get harder. Now, we know that Isaiah did not take this to mean speak in such an obscure way, covers such esoteric topics that people can’t even follow what you’re saying, No, quite the contrary, you’re reading Isaiah 28, that his opponents accused him of speaking so simply that he was only fit to teach kindergarten. So he was given a simple, clear, understandable message. He wanted people to understand. So what’s being talked about here really, is the preachers problem. When people don’t respond to the truth. What can you do? You just say it again. And even more clearly this time? How many times have I talked to us here in this room, for example, about things like the importance of being in this room, weekly gathering with the church or about the need for us to evangelize, to talk to the people in our lives about Jesus? And it doesn’t necessarily happen. Our attendance has not kicked back up after COVID. And not a whole lot of vandalism going on? What am I supposed to do? Say it again next week. Say it again next week. That’s the preachers problem. That’s what Isaiah is experiencing. He wanted people to understand, but the people don’t like what he has to say. And so what’s the inevitable result, then they harden their hearts. Where you are right now is the most dangerous place in the world, to sit in church week in and week out hearing the Word of God. It’s also the safest place in the world, because it’s the only place where you can find salvation. But just know that at this very moment, your heart is either hardening or softening before God, the word is the same. Right? The same sun melts the butter and hardens the clay. It’s the same word will soften our hearts or harden our hearts. It depends on our hearts. This whole passage, though, fits with the purpose of this series, right? We’re not shying away from the tough passages we want to remember We’re gonna preach the hard message and get the whole counsel of God. What that means, though, is that you may leave here some weeks angrier than when you came in next few weeks especially, and I certainly hope not, but that is possible and we look at who God is. And yet grace is freely offered. Forgiveness Is Possible. Preach without hesitation, you can turn and be healed. Verse 10. So let the word soften your heart. Needless to say, Isaiah is a little bit perturbed by this commission, though, not a fun job. We often feel that way as Christians, like you’re just sending us out there to get pelted. And so he says, for how long? How long do I have to do this Lord, until Judgment is complete, because holiness cannot abide sin. Word holiness and the word healthy. They’re the same word in English. They’ve got the same root hole hole, hail, healthy, they’ve all got the same H and L in there. That’s the idea like God is holiness, attack sin, like he’s attacking a cancer in the body. This is what we want. By the way, have you read if corruption or rape or war crimes, and you want people in prison, you want drones to take out the bad dudes. Steven Charnock, the the Puritan preacher, said, at God’s justice, is the great witness to his purity. How do we know that God has actually good and holy because we see His justice unfolding. The problem is that we have a low view of our own sin. Which holiness correct. So we expect God to be judging out there, but not in here. We’ll talk about that a lot. Next week. We can’t understand His justice without first understanding his holiness. In the end, not a trace of sin will remain. We’re gonna talk about again next few weeks. So if even 10% is left, God says here, the fire is going to sweep through again. But, but verse 13, there’s always great, there’s always hope. But what happened, you cut the trees down, the seeds scatter, you leave a stump shoots are going to come out? Have you ever tried to get buckthorn out of your backyard, you know exactly what I’m talking about here. And in fact, it’s only a few chapters until we read A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse. And that shoot as a chapter 11 makes quite clear is the Messiah the Savior is coming. There is still hope that people of unclean lips can be made clean, if they duplicate Isaias experience on a national scale. So,
where are we at this point? God hasn’t killed anyone yet. But we’re starting to see why people die in his presence. Because holiness destroys sin like white blood cells of virus until we understand God’s holiness. We will never understand His grace, like Isaiah should be dead, not forgiven. And until we understand God’s holiness, we will never understand His justice. He can’t tolerate evil and if he did, he wouldn’t be God. That last one is harder to understand. I get it. That’s where we’re headed. We’re headed next week. Don’t miss it. Don’t miss If you’re sitting there going. I don’t understand the relationship between holiness and judgment. You have not made your case yet. You better be here next week. You gotta be here. Okay. Your kids got soccer or baseball or wrestling called a coach and tell him he can make it if you’re the coach, cancel the game. Because this matters more. Okay, I don’t know I got a game scheduled then anyway, be here next week. If we can figure out who God is and who we are. That’s for you online also, Okay, time to show up. So that we can feel the trembling together. But like Isaiah, let’s not leave even here this morning without responding. Where do we go from here? What’s our here am I today? I’m gonna speak to a few different groups. One for all of us, though, and I kind of just said it. Don’t do this alone. Don’t do this on your own. Don’t go down those online rabbit holes. You do this in community. I’m gonna say it again. Simply, again, preachers problem again, you need to be in a community group. So you can have these conversations with other brothers and sisters in Christ. I promise you this in this series. I’m going to get inside your mind and I’m going to break things. Not me the word of God. You better have somebody even talk to you about that. You’re going to push back on some of the things that I say. Where’s your group of people to be alone with your thoughts about God is so dangerous. Don’t do it. Parents. what’s your takeaway? Don’t skip the hard passages with your kids. Is there an age appropriate stuff? Sure. They’re probably younger than you think, though, okay, your goal is to answer their questions before they ask them. Or maybe even more. So your goal is to get them to ask questions that they’re gonna ask later on anyway. You’re gonna do it with them. This is why kids leave, like kids leave the faith in shocking numbers. Why? Because they get to college, and they go, nobody ever answered my questions. I don’t think they have answers. I’m done. We have answers. We’ve said this before. So always be in the Word of God together and always talk about the character of God together, his attributes, His names, and above all his goodness, we filter every story through the lens of the cross, because we are so clear on His love and His Holiness, at the cross to the skeptical here this morning. It’s quite simple, right? Turn and be healed. As Jesus Himself said, You must be born again. And we just saw what that looks like in Isaiah six, you need to be unmade. And then you need to be re made. If that’s not happening to you right now, in this moment that keep asking, get those full answers. Don’t settle for characters. Come back, finish the series. Let’s keep talking about this. Together. I, by the way, will make myself very available. You got questions, I’m in the lobby after the service every week, I will meet with you anytime you want. Let’s talk about this to the believers. And those you call Cityview. Home Here you are, guess what? You’re sent. As the Father sent me. So I’m sending you Jesus says John 2021. Go and preach. Preach the gospel, the whole counsel of God, clearly, boldly winsomely lovingly, making sure that they never reject the message because of the messenger. Because we share the love of Christ, but co share the love of Christ. And know how you can hear all this and not tell your friends and family colleagues and loved ones. And last one, make His Holiness your priority. This should be the center of your heart. How did Jesus teach us to pray? Our Father in heaven? I got some things I need from you. Can you help me out with this list? No, no, it shows up. It’s just later on our Father in heaven, hallowed holy, be your name. Are you concerned that you are keeping his name holy? The people in your life are keeping his name holy cities rightly esteemed. Last thing.
Saying saying because you’re so stunned by his awesomeness you can’t help join the angels and declaring God’s holiness. We confess our sin when we see him but then we sing his salvation. Why? Because our debt is paid. It’s paid in full. He’s taken our guilt away. And our sin is atone for Let’s pray. Lord, You are holy, holy, holy. And though we see as through a glass darkly, like the windows got smudges on it still and are fallible, and and finite frame. Still, Lord, we can see your glory, the perfection of your being and as we see that we see that we fall so far short of that standard, nor do we know who we are because we know who you are. And so what can we do except to cry out with Isaiah Woe to me. I need to be unmade. And then would you remake me? Would you forgive me? Would you heal me? Would you make me whole would you make me holy? And then would you send me to share news this good with the world in such desperate need of it be glorified in our lives Lord, hallowed be your name. Amen.

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