Sermon – Is this the God of your Christianity? (Isaiah 6:1 – 6:13) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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Is this the God of your Christianity?

Tom Sweatman, Isaiah 6:1 - 6:13, 29 May 2022

This week we take a break from our series in John’s gospel as Tom preaches to us from Isaiah 6:1-13. In this passage we see Isaiah’s awesome encounter with God himself - we see what Isaiah saw, heard, and tasted, and what it means for us today.

Isaiah 6:1 - 6:13

6:1 In 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. Above 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. And one called to another and said:

  “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
  the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “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!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people:

  “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
  keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
10   Make the heart of this people dull,
    and their ears heavy,
    and blind their eyes;
  lest they see with their eyes,
    and hear with their ears,
  and understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.”
11   Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
  And he said:
  “Until cities lie waste
    without inhabitant,
  and houses without people,
    and the land is a desolate waste,
12   and the LORD removes people far away,
    and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
13   And though a tenth remain in it,
    it will be burned again,
  like a terebinth or an oak,
    whose stump remains
    when it is felled.”
  The holy seed is its stump.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Isaiah chapter 6, and we're starting at verse 1. In the year that king Isaiah died, I saw the lord high and exalted seated on a throne, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with 6 wings. With 2 wings, they covered their faces.

With 2, they covered their feet. And with 2, they were flying. And they were calling to 1 another. Holy. Holy.

Holy is the Lord Almighty. The whole earth is full of his glory. At the sound of their voices, the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. Woe to me, I cried. I am ruined.

For I'm a man of unclean lips, and I live among the people of unclean lips, and my eyes has seen the king, the lord almighty. Then 1 of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it, he touched my mouth and said, see. This has touched your lips. Your guilt is taken away.

And your sin atoned for. Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send? And who will go for us? I said, here am I. Send me.

He said, go and tell this people be ever hearing but never understanding. Be ever seeing but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people callused make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed. Then I said, for how long Lord?

And he answered Until the cities lie ruined and without an inhabitant. Until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged. Until the lord has sent everyone far away, and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will be it will again be laid waste. But as the cherubimth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be will be the stump.

In the land. And then John chapter 12 and verse 37 to 41. Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet. Lord, who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the lord been revealed.

For this reason, they could not believe because as Isaiah says elsewhere, he has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts so they can neither see with their eyes nor understand with their hearts nor turn, and I would heal them. Isaiah said this, because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him. Tom. Thank you, Rory, 2 magnificent passages for us to be looking at this evening. As you'll tell from the readings, we are taking a bit of a break from our regular series in John's gospel.

A couple of weekends ago, the students who went away looked at this chapter. We spent a whole weekend looking at Isaiah 6 And I just thought it would be good to share it with you all because it's just 1 of those big god passages, isn't it? And it never does us harm to revisit the lord who has revealed to us in these in these words. 1 quick notice for men in the church, if you belong to the reliable men group, you'll you should know that we've got a meeting on tomorrow night. We're gonna be meeting here at 7 30 for food.

And then we're gonna be going on with our program. This time, we are trying to get an idea of numbers because Ben is kinda catering for us. And I guess would like to have at least a rough idea of how many mouths you're gonna feed. Any idea on what we're gonna be eating? Any suggestions?

Welcome. Okay. There we go. I was hoping for a bit more of a sell to encourage the RSVP, but never mind. Do do that anyway.

If you're in the group, you should have already received an email last week. Do respond to that. That would be really helpful. If you're not in the group but would like to be part of it or to know more, come and see Rory and myself after the service. We'd love to have you and to give you some more information about it.

Let's bow our heads and play together. Father the gold, we thank you that as we were hearing earlier, the mission of Bible study fellowship is to magnify God and to mature believers. And we thank you for this part of your word, which like every other part of your word magnifies your works and your nature And we pray that in these minutes this evening, you would take us up by your spirit and give us a better glimpse of reality help us to see you, our lord God, our holy, holy, holy, sin hating, yet, sinner forgiving God. And help us please to be transformed by what we see in these words in the same way that your servant Isaiah was transformed by this vision all those years ago. And we ask it in Jesus' name.

Amen. Amen. Well, as Rory said in the notices, next week, we, as a nation, and as a church, are gonna be celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, 70 years reigning on throne in this country, it's amazing, isn't it? It's a long time to be to be to be raining. And she is Britain's longest serving monarch.

She is the only royal that most of us will have ever known and lived that, and she may well be the only monarch and royal that our parents have ever lived under as well. And so she has been part of the fabric of this society for 7 decades. It's it's amazing. And for that reason, you know, as a nation, there is gonna be a whole host of celebrations next weekend. I was in a little town in Oxford over the weekend, and the whole place is already given over to Jubilee celebrations.

There are free mugs being given out There are flags everywhere. Big Party is planned, and like we'll be doing here and all across the nation to celebrate that remarkable achievement. And of course, when she when the queen does eventually eventually die, that too is gonna be huge state occasion, isn't it? You think about that moment when the queen the queen dies. It's gonna be a big deal for our nation.

And actually, there are a number of commentators who are beginning to say this looks like it could be her last big public celebration. Because she's been pulling out of more and more things recently. People are saying she's looking increasingly frail. And so who knows? Maybe this will be the last big occasion.

That she has. And just imagine that moment, you know, when the queen of this country whose reign for 70 years finally died. It will be it will be a a, you know, a huge state state occasion. And so I want you just to kind of fix that fought in your mind. Those few days after the Queen has died, what the news is saying, the articles that are being written, the photos that are being shared, the mood of the nation, because I think that will help us to capture something of the mood that we have here in Isaiah chapter 6.

We are going back to 740 BC, and the opening words of this chapter are in the year that king Uziah died. Now King Uzziah came to the throne at the age of 16, and he had been reigning for 52 years, which in a time with shorter life expectancy is a long time. For 52 years, he had been reigning. And it's worth knowing that these ancient kings were powerful figures, influential figures. I I think they seem to be a combination of Prime Minister, Arch Bishop of Canterbury, and a royal.

It seems to be all of those things squashed into 1. There's a kind of political power. There's a sort of spiritual oversight, and there's also this royal, they are they are, you know, kings. So they seem to be those 3 things rolled into 1. And Uzziah generally had lived a very good life.

He had done lots for the city of Judah. It had prospered under his reign. The military had advanced and grown under his oversight, And more than that, he is generally considered to be a godly king. He is 1 who, when you take his life as a whole, is said to have done right in the eyes of the lord. That's the general summary of his his reign.

Now sadly, at the end of his life, things did go downhill a bit, and he fell into disgrace. So if you turn in your church bibles to page 459, and to 2 chronicles chapter 26. I'll just show that to you. 2 chronicles 26 verse 16, and then we'll read verse 21. That's page 459.

But after Uzziah became powerful, His pride led to his downfall. He was unfaithful to the Lord his God, and he entered the temple of the Lord, to burn incense on the altar of incense. And in verse 21, King Uzziah had leprosy until the day that he died. He lived in a separate house, leprous, and banned from the temple of the lord. Jotham, his son, had charge of the palace and governed the people of the land.

And so in his old age, King Uziya, because of his own power fell into pride, and he started doing jobs that rightly belong to the priests. He started going into the temple, offering incense, thinking he could fulfill the role of a priest when he couldn't. That was set aside for them. And so as a judgment upon him, he is struck down with leprosy, and for the rest of his days, he's banned from the house of the lord living as a leper. And so as I say, in the sunset years of his reign, he fell into disgrace, but in generally speaking, his reign was 1 of godly, godly prosperity.

And so this would have been a big deal for the nation. His death would have been a big deal for the nation and for Isaiah himself, who clearly moved in these circles. He clearly would have known the kings and had access to the kings and was something of a of a dignitary. So this would have been a big deal for him personally, Several years ago, when the the celebration of the Magna Carta was happening, I don't know if you remember that. I think it was 20 15 or or something.

And and Laura and my wife was working for Suri County Council at that time and was involved in planning this big celebration event down in Runnymede to to remember the Magna Carta, and it was particularly exciting because the queen was going to be there. And Laura had had a hand in planning the event And so she was quite excited about meeting the queen. And so what they had to do when the queen arrived was to create a reception line. You know, when the queen would arrive and she would go down thanking all the individuals who'd had a part to play in the event. The disappointing thing was, there were 2 reception lines.

1 went off to the right, 1 went off to the left. Laura was standing, you know, like a meerkat, proud, and waiting, you know, for the queen to come her way, she walks down, goes the other way. And there was just this sort of crestfallen you know, smile on her face. You know, and I think that's the closest our family has ever been to a royal encounter. Not so Isaiah.

Lots of people think that he really would have been on first name terms, with these kings. There are parts of the bible where he seems to just be able to quote the things that they that they have said. And so he was clearly a very important figure And therefore, this would have been a big deal, not only for the nation, but for him personally. And so at the start of chapter 6, that is the mood Isaiah, it looks like he's going to the temple, perhaps to grieve because the king has died, but also to grieve the state of the nation, And in verse 1, he gets a lot more than he bargained for. In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the lord.

I saw the lord. That's breathtaking, isn't it? And in order to help us appreciate what this must have been like, we're going to unpack the various sensory experiences that Isaiah had. If you notice in the first half of this reading, which really what we'll be touching on tonight. It's all about his senses, the things that he saw, and the things that he heard, and the things that he said and the things that he tasted with his own mouth, all of his senses are touched upon.

And so we're gonna break it up that way. Firstly, then, what did he see? What did Isaiah see? Verse 1, I saw the lord. I saw the lord high and exalted seated on a throne, and the train of his robe filled the temple.

And if we've been reading through the whole of the Old Testament, what would make that even more awesome is that that just doesn't happen. People do not see the Lord. Nobody can see the Lord and live. You think about Moses, and all that Moses was allowed to see. Think about the plagues that he witnessed with his own eyes in Egypt to think about the awesome wonders that he saw, the things that he said, in all his years, as God's prophet.

He was into he was privileged to see so much. But what could he never see will turn with me back to page 92 of your bibles, exodus 33 and verse 18 to 20. Then Moses said, now show me your glory. And the Lord said, I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you. And I will proclaim my name, the Lord in your presence.

I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But he said, you cannot see my face. For no 1, may see me and live. The face of God cannot be seen and survived. And so what does Isaiah see here in this vision?

Well, notice there aren't loads of physical descriptions about the Lord. Quite a lot of descriptions about everything else, but it's not loads. And maybe that is thinking, getting us to think back to exodus 33. But look what we are told. He sees 1 who is seated.

He sees 1 who has a robe In other words, whatever he sees here, this vision is of a God man like quality. A god man seated on the throne, reigning in the temple. And in John 12 verse 41, We learned that Isaiah saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him. In other words, as Isaiah goes into the temple that day, he sees nothing less than the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. The god man who is ruling upon the throne.

And John really wants us to get that in chapter 12, because what part of Isaiah does he quote in chapter 12? He's quoting chapter 6 So he's not just saying Isaiah generally at some stage in his life, saw the glory of Jesus. He's saying Isaiah said that, chatting chapter 6 because he saw Jesus' glory, that's who he was speaking about. That's the God that he saw in that heavenly vision. And so how do we put these 2 things together?

Well, there is a sense, isn't there? From exodus 33, in which no 1 can gaze upon the the essence of God and survive it. And yet we know that in the new testament, Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, that he is the fulness of the deity in bodily form. That he is the exact representation of his being. And so when people like us gaze upon the risen, Jesus Christ.

We see God. That is the great hope of the New Testament. In 1 John chapter 3, that 1 day we are going to be like him, why for we will see him as he is. Nobody can see the lord and live. Unless there is a mediator to make it possible.

Only in and through Christ, can god be seen, and survived, and enjoyed, and approached. We can see him because of Christ. That's just verse 1. What else does he see? Well, have a look if turned if you've turned away from Isaiah, turn back to Isaiah at chapter 6, and look at verse 2.

Above him was seraphim, Each with 6 wings. Above him was seraphim, each with 6 wings. And that word seraphim, as we sang about earlier in the song, as it literally means burning ones. And so we're up there in the throne room with Isaiah, and you're meant to feel the heat that is coming off these things. Here, the flames crackling as they beat their wings and speak.

These are creatures servants of the lord who are ablaze. That is their nature. They are burning ones. And it's amazing because like all kings and queens, Uziah would have had his servants, those who ministered to him around his throne, but who of his servants could compare with these ones? These ones who surround the Lord God and are aflame.

They are ablaze with the glory of God. And just look at their wings in chapter 2 in verse 2 as well. Each with 6 wings, With 2 wings they covered their faces, with 2 they covered their feet, and with 2 they were flying. Now normally, how many wings does a creature need to fly? Well, only only really 2.

I know there are some exceptions, but only really 2. And yet these creatures have 6. Why? Because they need an extra set of wings in order to shield their faces from the white hot glory of God and they need another 2 in order to shield their feet to say that they are unworthy to even be here. And so the Lord had to make them with extra wings in order to shield them from the holiness of his own character.

If they were gonna live in his presence, they needed security, body armor, something to shield them from the glory of the 1 that they that they serve So Isaiah sees this vision and it is breath King Uzziah had died, and for a time his throne would be empty. But the Lord wants Isaiah to know that there is a throne that is high and lifted up, and on it is a king who never leaves. On it is a king who reigns forever. You see, our own queen, 70 years of faithful service to this country, A time is coming when she will leave that throne. But on this throne is Christ the Lord, and he reigns forever and ever.

And God wants Isaiah to know that he is still sovereign even in the turmoil of what's happening. That's what he saw. Secondly and a bit shorter. What did he hear? Verse 3, and they were calling to 1 another holy, holy, holy, is the Lord Almighty.

The whole earth is full of his glory. And so the very first words in this chapter come from who? They don't come from Isaiah, and they don't come from the Lord they come from these burning ones. And their simple sermon to the world is holy, holy, holy. And in this original language, to repeat something 3 times in that way, is the equivalent of highlighting it putting it in bold, selecting italics, block caps, and underlining it.

It's giving maximum emphasis to something. If you wanted to draw attention to something, you might say, whoa, whoa, or great great. But to put it 3 times like this is to say, the the I mean, this is the absolute most emphasis that we can give it. Holy, holy, holy is the lord. And what does it mean?

Well, that word holiness is like a a marriage of otherness and total perfection. The god that he sees here is unlike him. He's unlike any created thing. He is the creator. He is other and separate and different from us.

And yet in his difference, he is morally perfect in every way. He is spotless and pure and other And Isaiah wants us to know that because God is like that, he cannot be confined just to a temple, that the whole earth is full of his glory, that the earth just radiates with the holiness of this God. The whole earth is full of his works and his wonders and his glory. It's why the Lord's prayer starts with that wonderful request. Father hallowed be your name.

That's the prayer of a disciple. We want the holiness of your nature to be seen and loved throughout the world and in our low own lives. That's what we want. And so Isaiah sees this God on a throne and he hears this simple sermon. Holy Holly.

Holy is the lord almighty. The whole earth is full of his glory. That's what he heard. What did he say Have a look at those 5. Woe to me.

I cried. I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the king, the lord, Almighty. Just turn back with me probably 1 page or 2 to chapter 5 and verse 8. Now in chapter 5, the lord is describing the sin of Judah.

That's what he's doing. He's just outlining listing off the sins of Judah. And from verse 8 onwards, there's a series of woes. So have a look with me at verse 8. Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no spaces left and you live alone in the land.

You selfish people. Space to space, field to field, blocking out everybody else, no poor person, no foreign person, because you've just got more and more woe to you. Verse 11, woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are in flamed with wine. Verse 18. Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of seat and wickedness as with cart ropes.

Verse 20, woe to those who call evil, good, and good evil. Who put darkness for light and light for darkness. Verse 21, woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and clever in their own sight. Verse 22, woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and champions at mixing their drinks. And so as we turn to chapter 6, We're meant to be thinking, where's the next Woe gonna fall?

There are 6 woes in chapter 5. Where is the seventh and complete and perfect woe gonna fall? Who's it gonna come down on? As I says, woe to me. It's 1 thing to call judgment upon another nation, but to call it upon yourself for your own sin is quite another.

He saves the seventh and perfect woe for himself. And yet as a sinner in the presence of god, What else can he do? And you notice what is most difficult for him in verse 5. It's his lips. For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.

And my eyes have seen the king, the Lord Almighty. Maybe he was comparing himself to those burning ones. Night and day without stopping, they use their mouths to praise God. But Isaiah and his people and me and you, well, we don't. The third commandment is to not take the name of the lord in vain.

And it means so much more than just using his name as a swear word. It means to speak in a way or to live in a way which minimizes God, which makes it out as if the god we serve is a light thing to as if he is trivial and unimportant and makes very little difference and need not be known by anybody else. It is to speak to other image bearers in a way which demeans them, and so dishonors the God who made them. It is to make his name a light thing, to take it in vain. And on that basis, who is innocent When we first moved into our house a few years ago, we made what I think was the wise decision of buying some dark sofas.

You know, very dark so that, you know, when kids came along and milk was spilt upon them and food was ground into them, you know, it wouldn't discolor them too much. Would just look a couple of shades darker than what they already were. And that largely, that's worked quite quite well. And they've they looked like the original sofas. Until, of course, you you wash them from time to time.

And when you actually put clean water, through those sofas which you think are clean, you realize just how filthy they are, and the water that comes out the other side is like tar. And all of this all of this dirt is washed out, which you didn't think was there. And, you know, we can be a bit like that, can't we? You know, we actually think most of the time that we use our words quite well. We don't blaspheme the Lord.

We even sing Christian songs compared to other people, we treat his name quite well. And yet when the pure water of God's word comes through us, We realize that we are, in fact, a people of unclean lips, and we live among a people of unclean lips And although we haven't seen the lord in this way, we stand condemned by our words. That when it comes to what we say, we have no reason to boast before God and every reason to cover our mouths in shame. It's interesting today, isn't it, that self esteem and self belief and self assurance is is so important to us these days. It is the great commandment to be self assured.

But before a holy god, Isaiah is like a garment that is coming apart at the seams. It's like taking a garment with stitches or buttons and just pulling it apart. He's undone. He's ruined he's falling apart before the living god, his his his own lips, and the lips of his people are his undoing. And you know, Jesus says in Matthew 12 that by your words, you will be acquitted.

And by your words you will be condemned. By your words you will be acquitted. And by your words you will be condemned. Why? Because like nothing else, our words reveal what's going on inside of our heart.

And on that basis, who of us can say, I would be acquitted. By my words. That's what he saw. That's what he heard. That's what he said lastly, verse 4, what did he taste?

Have a look at verse verse 6 Then 1 of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it, he touched my mouth. And said, see, this has touched your lips. Your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for Now this is the really good news part of this passage for sinners undone before the Holy God. But, again, you know, this is this is holy good news, isn't it?

What have we got here? We've got a we've got a burning angel with a burning coal from a burning altar flying at his face. That's what he's seeing now. This flame thing coming towards him, leading with this flame coal, which is coming towards his mouth. And I think the point is that the grace of God is wonderful, but it's not to be messed with.

God's even God's grace is a holy grace. It is a fiery grace. And look at verse 7 again. With it, he touched my mouth and said, see, this is touched your lips. If you've got children or if you've ever watched parents feeding young children, you'll know that 1 of the things they do with hot food is before they put it into the mouth of the child, they will test it on their top lip.

And the reason they do that is because that's 1 of the most sensitive parts of the human body. They test it on the lip to see if it's fit to go in the mouth. It's 1 of the places of most intimacy where a kiss is shared where things can be felt so closely. Will imagine a burning coal placed on his lip. And for Isaiah, that is huge, because what did he identify as the place of his sin?

Because his lips, And so where does the grace of God come to him? He comes to his lips. And that says something about the grace of God. It's not just a coverall non specific forgiveness. The grace on offer in the gospel is targeted grace for individual sinners who've committed real individual sins.

It is a specific grace to take away the very sin that you have committed in your life. It's not like that scene from Bruce almighty. You know when they all make prayers and he just he's just overwhelmed by the size of his inbox, and he presses reply all. Yes. You know?

And everybody's prayers get sort of answered in this non specific, general, unpersonal way. The grace of God is targeted at you and is targeted at your sin God knows your sin, and he's come with a call for your sin, not just a reply all, cover all, approach. Isaiah knew that sort of grace. And, of course, that's what the altar is all about. It comes from the altar.

That's not just a detail. The altar was the place of sacrifice. Where an animal would be prepared and given and burnt to cover the sins of the people. And so with this cold, the Lord is saying, Isaiah, a sacrifice has been made for you. I'm not letting you off, and I'm not covering this up, and I'm not sweeping under the carpet.

Your sin is real, and it needs to be punished, but that punishment has been laid on another so that we can be at 1 And the most glorious thing here is that the lord Isaiah sees on the throne. Becomes that sacrifice for the world. You remember John chapter 12, Isaiah saw Jesus' glory And what verse? What part of Isaiah was quoted there in John 12? Well, it was John 6, But where did the other quote come from?

It came from sorry, Isaiah 6. It came from Isaiah 53. John puts together Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 6 and says Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus and spoke about him. Isaiah 53 verse 5, Jesus Christ was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities.

The punishment that brought us peace was on him. The Lord Jesus Christ who sits upon this throne, left the company of these angels to be our sacrifice to die in our place, to absorb the wrath of God that we deserve, to be buried, and to be raised on the third day so that everyone who turns to Christ as lord and savior renounces their sins and takes him to be their lord, will hear these words from the throne, your sin has been atoned for, and your guilt has been taken away He tasted this burning but cleansing sacrifice. That's the sensory journey that he went on. What he saw, what he heard, what he said, what he tasted. And I just want to simply ask 1 question of us in light of all of this, Is this the God of your Christianity?

Arcy Sproll, who was an American theologian has now dies. He wrote a book called The Holyness of God, which I would really recommend. I think it's a wonderful treatment of this subject. It's very accessible It's funny. It's great.

If you wanna do some deep diving into the holiness of God, I picked loads of goodies for this talk from that book. So it's really worth it. And he he has a really sort of fun point about this chapter, and he says that often Christians have less sense than the doorposts in this chapter. And what he means by that is verse 4, at the sound of their voices, the doorposts, and the thresholds shook. In other words, when the glory of the Holy Sin forgiving God is proclaimed, They have the good sense to shake in his presence.

But sometimes Christians have less wisdom and are more foolish than even a doorpost because we don't. We don't tremble. We don't worship in the present this god. And now, of course, it's true that we are not going to be this conscious of God all the time, that we're not going to have this experience of him every morning when we wake up. But the point he's making is that if in some at least in some measure, if we haven't felt what he felt, If we haven't seen what he saw, if we haven't heard what he heard, if we haven't tasted what he tasted, then we're not converted people.

We're not converted people. This is this is Christianity. This is the God of our Christianity. 1 of the problems that we face is everything around us, and we breathe it in all the time, is just whispering to to minimize God. To shrink him down.

He's not that important. Don't let him rule your life. Don't live your life in such a binary black or white his way or this way way. Don't don't just it's shrinking all the times. Just d goding all the time.

D goding God. But this is the 1 who we need to see. Because 1 day every single 1 of us is gonna see the law And friends, we we we will be seen for what we are on that day. And in that moment, his verdict is all that matters. See if Isaiah was compared only with the people of his day.

I guess he would shine. But in chapter 6, he is matched against his creator, and he falls. And that is the standard that we are gonna be judged by, not your friend at work who sits on the desk next to you, not the person who serves you in the shop each week, not your numb not your neighbor at number 94, but by this 1, on the throne. And you know in every other religion, basically, the teaching is that we can approach God in our own that we can relate to him in our own way, that he is just like a very good version of what we might be. And that we can we can come near to him in our own strength.

But this vision demolishes that. God is not a creature that we can control and shape how we approach him. He is the creator. And without Christ, we cannot stand before him. And it is good news this.

Because the fear of being rejected motivates us so often, doesn't it? We do things, or we say things, or we cover up, or we even change who we are because we're afraid of being exposed But before this god, you are already exposed, and yet he loves you. He sees you, and all your history, and all that you're done, you are you are laid out before him. And yet he loves you. And so if you don't know this 1 upon the throne, who left this glory to be your savior, then you need to come to him before you see him.

And if we already have, let's remember that first question of the catechism we're going through this reliable men, the Hidalburg Catechism. This is the first question. What is our only hope in life and death? That we are not our own, but belong body and soul both in life and death to God and to our Savior, Jesus Christ, our only hope in life and death is him. And therefore, to live and to be in the presence of God, Christians need Christ every day.

Just as much as they did the first day because he is our only hope in life and death. And so in what ways does your view of God need refining by this chapter? If we're in danger of being too trivial, minimizing him, then we need verse 3. Holy. Holy.

Holy is the lord. If we're crushed and weighed down by our guilt, feeling paralyzed, that he'd never love us, that how could we serve him, then we need verse 5. 5 to 7, this hot cleansing coal. Let this chapter reshape how you think about your Lastly, there's an old phrase to describe the Christian life, and it's Coram Deo. If you've heard that phrase before, and it means before the face of God.

And it's a way of describing the Christian life. That when we live and when we work and when we teach and when we learn and when we sing, we do it all before the face of God. We live Korumdeo, before the face of this God who is our heavenly father who is our 3 times holy Lord God Almighty, and who is Christ, our Lord and Savior. Let's take a moment just quietly, and to give you the opportunity to reflect on the God of this chapter, and to talk with him about the things that we've learned. Follow big knowledge that we are people of unclean lips and we live among a people of unclean lips, and that we in so many ways have dishonored you by the things that we've said and the things that we've done, and we have taken your most holy name, and we have treated it as a vain light thing.

And we are sorry, and we know that when we see you in your holiness, we we the only thing we sensibly say is, woe to me, I am undone. And yet we thank you, Lord, that you came to Isaiah in His sin, and you met him with the most amazing grace that not only dealt with the sin but cleansed all of the guilt and the shame that went with And we thank you that that little stunning picture points us on to the death of our great savior, whose blood was shed for us at the cross, to atone for our sins to make us right with you and to to wash away all of the shame that goes with our sin. We thank you that we are right just before you because of Christ and cannot only survive your present. But can even boldly approach the throne, and be with and reign with Christ forever in perfect forgiven happiness. And lord, we just pray that you would help us to regularly come back to passages like this to to help us just to see as clearly as we can this side of heaven, what you are really like, and help our lives to be lived before your face each and every day we pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Preached by Tom Sweatman
Tom Sweatman photo

Tom is an Assistant Pastor at Cornerstone and lives in Kingston with his wife Laura and their two children.

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