A Sermon Pastor Paul Alexander preached on Isaiah 6:1-13, at REDEEMING GRACE FELLOWSHIP PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH in Owensville, August 7, 2016
I will introduce my message this morning by quoting a Godly Bible scholar, Dr. George Beasley-Murray. In His commentary on the Gospel of John He emphasizes the massive influence of the RESURRECTION OF JESUS over ALL of scripture. Beasley-Murray emphatically insists “…in John the lifting up of the Son of Man on his cross reaches to the throne of heaven; and as the shadow of the cross marks the entire story of Jesus, so the glory of the Resurrection event suffuses every hour of his ministry, and even reaches back to the morning of creation. The eschatological glory for which creation was made was brought to actuality in the deeds and words of Jesus.”
In saying that all of scripture is suffused with the glory of the Resurrection of Jesus, Beasley-Murray is saying that the Savior’s bodily resurrection gives meaning and significance to the entire Bible – that every single text in scripture is impacted by that REDEMPTIVE EVENT.
This text in Isaiah is an example – It is Isaiah’s call into eternal life and into GOD’S SERVICE – His Call ANTICIPATES the whole gospel story. The glory that Isaiah encounters in this 6th chapter is the same quality as the glory the Apostles witnessed when they saw Jesus crucified and then risen from the dead, showing them the wounds in his hands and his side, an invigorating display of His infinite love for them. Isaiah is experiencing RESURRECTION GLORY – An awesome display OF JESUS’ LOVE FOR THEM, A LIFE-GIVING DISPLAY OF HIS LOVE FOR THEM. MY THEME:
GOD CALLS US INTO ETERNAL LIFE BY REVEALING HIS GLORY TO US
God is calling one man, Isaiah, by revealing His glory to him here.
A GLORY OF THE QUALITY OF THE RESURRECTION
THAT is the way God calls people: Moses, at the burning bush
Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus
ESPECIALLLY JESUS: When baptized by John, A VOICE, from Heaven speaks:
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well-pleased”
A VOICE FILLED WITH THE Savior’s RESURRECTION GLORY SPEAKS TO HIM
The voice that created the galaxies and Mankind
CALLING HIM, COMMISSIONING HIM, INVIGORATING HIM FOR HIS MISSION
AS ISAIAH, SO PAUL AND ALL THE APOSTLES
AND SO: YOU AND ME (pause, emphasize)
GOD’S Calling LIBERATES US to enter into eternal life
GOD’S calling enables US, invigorates US to do three amazing things
I. TO OPEN OUR HEARTS TO HIS INFINITE GLORY v 1-4
- Our Fall into sin closed our hearts to God’s infinite glory
- Believing the Devil’s lie in the Garden of Eden was our egotistical rebellion against GOD so that our self-centeredness blinded us to GOD’S GLORY
APPLICATION: THE BIG PROBLEM IN OUR WORLD TODAY
Everything from Jihadist Terrorists and Murder of Policemen, to private quarrels in our families, Divorce, and the rampant sin that is destroying our world!
OUR ONLY HOPE:
THAT GOD WILL TAKE THE INITIATIVE, BY SHOWING US HIS GLORY, as here
- KING UZZIAH HAD DIED BUT GOD REMAINED SEATED ON HIS THRONE
“High and lifted up, His robe filling the temple” = glory filling the universe
HIS INFINITE MAJESTY IS THE KEY FEATURE OF THE UNIVERSE-
The galaxies and beyond – (Harvard, Yale, Academia all denying HIM)
- SERAPHIM = “Flaming Ones” covering faces and feet in reverence for God
- Read v 3 w Rev. 4:6 = 4 living creatures are Enhanced Seraphim
Calling/saying HOLY, HOLY, HOLY –3-fold occurrence unique in Scripture
Ray Ortlund: if possible to give mathematical value to God’s Holiness
Could be HOLY Squared, cubed, raised to highest power
- tPerfect Morality of His Nature
- tPerfect Achievement of all His works
CREATION and REDEMPTION ON FULL DISPLAY
When Moses asked God to show Him His glory, Exodus 33:19-20 “You cannot see my face and live, for no one may see me and live.”
BUT what Moses and Isaiah and the Apostles saw of His HOLY GLORY
ENABLED THEM EMPOWERED THEM DELIGHTED THEM INTO
PASSIONATE LOVE FOR OUR INFINITELY HOLY GOD
What Moses was seeing was prophetic of our Lord Jesus Christ
JESUS LIFE and REDEEMING WORK PUTS A FACE ON THE HOLINESS OF GOD II Cor. 4:6
HOLINESS IS NOT INACCESSIBLE TO YOU AND ME
AS WE WORSHIP OUR LORD JESUS,
THE HOLY SPIRIT PUTS THE FACE OF JESUS ON YOU AND ME!
ENABLING US TO REFLECT HIS ETERNAL GLORY
II. GOD IS ENABLING US TO OPEN OUR SOULS TO OUR INFINITE SIN V 5-7
“SOUL” – Our inner lives, Confessing that our inner lives are full of our own sin.
But “INFINITE SIN”??? What an obnoxious idea!!
How could anybody living in this 21st century accept such an idea about themselves?
Our psychiatrists, educators have been teaching us self-esteem for 2 generations!
Our Politicians have been telling all of us that we are good people and that the
Only problem we have is all those bad politicians who have been mis-governing us!
To talk as though there could be “INFINITE SIN” in the good electorate is unthinkable!!
Isaiah is confessing that HIS sin is no minor issue in his soul!
We are all indebted here to ANSELM, a great lover of Jesus and his sacrifice on Calvary
His 12th century study of sin remains a classic Biblical study of sin, and its horrors
ANSELM was the first to use this INIFINITE SIN language to describe our real dilemma
Noting: Because sin is against an infinitely Holy God, ANSELM appropriately concluded that OUR SIN must be defined as INFINITE SIN
KEY POINT HERE: ISAIAH’S VISION OF GOD’S infinite holiness
ENABLED him TO SEE HIS OWN SIN AS INFINITE SIN
So that He must cry out to GOD (read vs 5 – “Woe is me, for I am lost…”
Not maladjusted, not psychotic, not merely unhappy BUT LOST!
THEN THE SERAPH TAKES COAL FROM ALTAR – SYMBOLIZING CROSS OF JESUS
Remarkable figure of speech, showing how the cross affected apostles, us
Burning away sin, cauterizing it by forgiving Isaiah and all who believe forever!!!
INFINITE SIN RECEIVES AN INFINITE CURE – SUFFERING OF THE SAVIOR
Illus:Ruing Elder John Moore, “Paul, You must learn to control your TEMPER in session meetings!” Can you imagine a mere RULING Elder, having the nerve to talk that way to His EXALTED Pastor,
A very proud young man, who habitually tried to manipulate his Ruling Elders
And everything else in his life, including his wife and children with his temper
I AM ETERNALLLY THANKFUL TO A HUMBLE RULING ELDER WHO REBUKED ME SO APPROPRITELY
ONLY GOD COULD ENABLE ME TO MAKE THAT CONFESSION OF MY INFINITE SIN
MY OWN GOD-GIVEN VIEW OF GOD’S HOLINESS COMPELLED ME!
Then enabled a naturally sinful man like me to serve HIM
III. GOD IS ENABLING US TO PROCLAIM HIS GOSPEL TO INCORRIGIBLE REBELS
Vss 8-13 seem to be a most dismal conclusion to this otherwise great text!
FACT: Crucial to understand our lives and our history
- WE ARE FACING THE INCORRIGIBILITY OF SATAN IN OUR CULTURE
SAME today as in Isaiah’s day, 2800 YEARS AGO
- NOT THAT MUCH CHANGE OVER THE CENTURIES
- BUT GOD REPEATEDLY ENABLES A TINY MINORITY OF BLOOD-BOUGHT SINNERS
TO STAND AGAINST THAT MAJORITY OF INCORRIGIBLE REBELS
RESURRECTION ENABLED SINNERS TO PROCLAIM THIS GOSPEL
FORGIVE ME IF THIS SOUNDS TOO PERSONAL, BUT THIS WASN’T JUST ABOUT ME
GOD ENABLED THIS POOR FALLEN SINNER TO PREACH THE GOSPEL
TO STAND FOR 43 YEARS AGAINST INCORRIGIBLE REBELS
WHILE BEING USED TO MAKE DISCIPLES
GOD ENABLED US TO STAND TOGETHER FOR 43 YEARS
AND THEN WHEN MY WIFE AND I DECIDED TO GO TO UKRAINE
ONE OF THOSE DISCIPLES WITH WHOM I HAD BEEN WORKING FOR 20 YEARS
CAME TO MY OFFICE AND SAID
PASTOR, YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO SPEND TIME RAISING SUPPORT
I AM GOING TO SUPPORT YOU FULLY FOR YOUR FIRST YEAR.
THEN, AFTER THAT FIRST YEAR HE CAME TO UKRAINE, SURVEYED ITS NEEDS
GAVE US $50,000 PER YEAR TO START AND SUSTAIN A CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
WE, WE WERE ENABLED BY GOD
TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL TO INCORRIGIBLE REBELS
SOME OF THEM JOINING OUR TINY MINORITY
TO ENTER INTO THE JOY OF PROCLAIMING OUR ALMIGHTY SAVIOR/LORD
THIS SAME ALMIGHTY GOD, FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT
IS STILL ENABLING YOU AND ME
READ Revelation 5:11-13 WORTHY IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN