AGCC Sun. a.m. 9/8/96
TEXT: Isaiah 6:1-13
INTRO: Sometimes we get so
wrapped up in our own need to ask God questions that we have never come to
realize that God has some questions of His own, ones that He cannot answer but
Usually our relationship with God focuses on what God can or will do for
us. We think in terms of what we need, or what we need to know...yet God has a
need to have some answers that only we can give.
When was the last time you heard God ask you a question? Over the next several
Sundays we are going to explore some of the questions God has for us...and
of course He is still waiting to have an answer from us!
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us
that a real relationship with God involves our answering some questions that God
I. WOE! 6:1-5
A. Holy! 6:1-4
1. Isaiah was a man of education, this can be deduced from the very high
language he wrote in.
2. He probably had a good future ahead of him, Israel had just come through
a relatively prosperous time.
3. In the midst of all this God seeks him out and gives him a vision of Himself
a. King Uzziah overall had been a godly king, well loved by Isaiah
b. Now that his dear friend the king was dead, God gives him a fresh vision
c. This vision is one of a Holy God!
4. This is an aspect of God not emphasized like it once was...and should be
5. Notice the strong hint at the trinity in this section of Scripture:
a. Seraphs were crying "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord Almighty!" - it is no
accident that they shouted this 3 times, once for each member of the
b. God's Holiness is in view here!
6. Isaiah was no stranger to God, but this fresh vision of God's holiness will
have a huge impact on him...as well it should!
a. it will do the same for us today too!
b. God is not just some old man in the sky above!.....
c. the picture here is one of majesty, in light of King Uzziah's death, Isaiah
sees the real KING...the Holy one of Israel!
7. Everything shook in the presence of a holy God.
a. This was reminiscent of Solomon's dedication of the Temple when God's
glory so filled the temple that the priests could not even minister!
b. The tabernacle too had the awesome presence of God over it.
B. Humbled! 6:5
1. Note Isaiah's reaction to this fresh vision from God!
a. rather than make him arrogant, it humbled him greatly!
b. His first thought reflects Jewish thinking of that time, the Jews
believed that if any man ever saw God they would immediately drop
c. The sense of God's greatness was so powerful as to set man very far
apart from God.
2. Isaiah's thought here is that he is "ruined"...that he will die!
a. When a man or woman has a real experience with God, it makes him
or her more humble, not arrogant and cocky about their own deep sense
b. In light of God's greatness, Isaiah realizes how really small he
ILLUS: When an English labor leader was elected to Parliament, he proudly took his daughter to see the great buildings where he would help make England's laws. The little girl was silent
until he asked her, "What do you think?" She said, "Daddy, you look so big in the kitchen at
home, but you look small in this great
3. In light of his life against God's holiness...Isaiah sees himself as he really is
a. a man of unclean lips
b. a man that lives with other unclean people!
c. there is no pretense here of greatness on his part...he cannot help but
himself as unclean in the backdrop of a pure Holy God!
4. His sense here is "WOE"....
a. The very presence of God humbles man!
b. God's presence in the Holy Spirit brings conviction on a sinner.
5. No preacher should ever have to whip up people's sense of sinfulness, just
allow for God's presence to break through in our lives and our service and
God will do the rest.
a. Brokenness for sin has always come when people have sensed and ex-
perienced God's very real presence
b. God's presence changes the entire atmosphere!
II. LO! 6:6-8
A. Help! 6:6-7
1. Isaiah's sense of being unclean could not be solved by his own effort here!
a. notice that it is God that sends the Seraphs (a special type of angel, the
word Seraph interestingly enough literally means, "Burn" or "Burning Ones") to bring a coal from the altar of sacrifice to touch Isaiah and make him clean!
b. Isaiah was helpless to do anything to remove his unclean condition!
c. No human can save themselves...it takes something from the altar of
sacrifice to bring purity to our lives!
2. God provides the means necessary to make Isaiah clean in His presence.
a. the coal was taken from the altar...used for sacrifice
b. this prefigured the great sacrifice of Christ...and the application of
Christ to our lives in order for us to be pure too!
3. Isaiah stands ready to receive, he can do nothing but cry out for help!
a. this is true for us too...
b. salvation comes not by our works, but by our confession of need!
4. Isaiah's sins and guilt is removed as soon as the coal from the altar of
sacrifice is applied to him!
a. all this precedes any call God makes on His life!
b. We cannot do God's work without God's cleansing power first!
B. Honor! 6:8
1. With Isaiah in a proper relationship with God, God now has a question to
ask...one that applies to all those He has cleansed today too!
2. "Whom shall I send? And who will go for US?"
a. God more than anyone is aware of the great need of mankind in all their
b. God does not wish to ignore the plight of man....but for whatever reason
God has chosen to use us humans to take His message to others!
c. God has a question here, one that He cannot answer, only we can!
3. Note here again the hint at the trinity...the last pronoun in the question is
a. God is not indifferent to Israel's needs
b. God is looking for someone who is willing to go for Him!
c. how amazing that the all powerful God has put His message at the hands
of us sinful people!!!
d. God is still asking this question...still waiting for answers from us too!
4. Sometimes it is easy to think that this kind of call is for the preacher, or
that there are so many others that can go...I'm not important!
ILLUS: It was Dwight Moody who said, "I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but
I can do something. And that which I can do, by the grace of God, I will do!" With that simple
commitment, God used him to bring revival to
England and America!
5. It is becoming all too easy in our compartmentalized society where we have
people paid to do special jobs to think that sharing Christ is just not "my
gift" or responsibility!...but this is wrong!
6. we have come to identify ourselves first with WHAT WE DO and only secondly WHO WE ARE:
a. We tend to think of our occupations as defining our main responsibilities in life
b. We would do better to first identify ourselves by WHO we are, then
what we do!
IlLUS: A generation ago there was a wealthy man in the midwest who was an outstanding Christian layman. People used to ask him what he did. He would reply, "I am a witness for
Jesus Christ, but I pack pork to pay expenses."
This man had the right concept of his salvation and his callings!
7. Isaiah responds immediately, "HERE AM I, SEND ME!"
a. What would this country be like if this was the heart cry of every
Christian in America to God's question!?
b. Too often today we pray for God to send somebody else to take care
of the work of the kingdom....we might even tell ourselves we are too
busy with our "job" to get involved!
c. These excuses are unacceptable to a jealous God!
d. Isaiah didn't check his calendar first to see if he was too booked up to
e. He doesn't look around to see if someone else is available to
III. GO! 6:9-13
A. Hard! 6:9-12
1. Now that God has a volunteer, He simply says, "GO"!
a. God will give Isaiah the message
b. All Isaiah has to do is go and deliver it!
2. God makes it clear to Isaiah that in going, there will be little fruit for his
a. This must have been a tough pill to swallow!
b. You enthusiastically tell the Lord you are willing to go for Him and
He tells you that the job will not only be hard, but it will bear little
c. God's call on our lives to share the Gospel is not based on whether we
have great results...it is based on our obedience to follow through with
the call and the message!
3. In a result oriented society that judges everything by what productivity it
can see...this is a tough pill to swallow!
a. Preaching even when people reject serves a function...it judges the sinner of their sins...
b. in the judgment day they will not stand without knowledge of their sins.
4. Too many don't like to serve if they don't get the results they want!
5. Isaiah asks 'HOW LONG O LORD?" will there be this lack of fruit from his
a. The answer wasn't too encouraging either... "until the cities lie ruined
and without 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!"
b. This couldn't have been encouraging...it meant hard work with little to
show for it positively!
c. How many of us are willing to serve when there is little glory in it for us?
d. How many of us are willing to do the more glamorous jobs, but not some
of the dirtier jobs?
e. How many are willing to serve when they can be up front, but don't follow through when the job is hidden and nobody will see it?
6. The call to "GO" for God is many times a hard call, not an easy one!
7. Real ministry has only small moments of glamour, but takes lots of guts!
8. We are setting the pattern for our children to follow in obeying God...what
are they learning?
ILLUS: They have a custom in certain parts of Africa of asking every chief for his "LOSAKO"
or "life motto". A missionary one day met an old chief who asked him for his LOSAKO which
he shared as "LOVE GOD WITH ALL THY HEART"...and learned a very important spiritual
lesson from the chief when he shared his LOSAKO, it was, "WHEN YOU PASS THROUGH THE
JUNGLE BE VERY CAREFUL TO BREAK A TWIG, THAT THE NEXT MAN CAN FIND HIS WAY!"
Are we doing this with our children in our
service to God?
9. Most men and women called by God had a tough road to follow...their work
was hard, and many times the rewards were few...at least here that is, for
our greatest rewards yet await us for faithful service now!
a. Isaiah is not discouraged from ministry by the word of it being hard!
b. God will sustain us in the work He calls us to do for Him!
B. Hope 6:13
1. So that Isaiah doesn't lose heart completely, God does share with him that
his ministry will not be completely fruitless.
a. Though a tithe would be preserved, even they will go through deep waters...but like a stump that is left, life will spring from the few
who remain faithful!
b. Isaiah's preaching will eventually bear fruit, if not in his own lifetime,
then in another generation!
2. Ministry cannot always be judged by the here and now...
3. we must always be ready to go one more time, even after repeated
ILLUS: A noted Evangelist was once holding meetings in a Church where the minister was well
noted for his experience and had great influence. One night as they sat on the platform together the minister pointed out to the evangelist a man in the audience and said, "For 12
years I have tried to win that man to Christ; I have preached to him so long that I sometimes
find myself doing it almost unconsciously!" The evangelist asked him, "you mean from the
pulpit?" He answered, "Yes". Then the evangelist asked the Pastor, "How many times have
you gone to him with the love of God in your heart and said, "I want to see you become a child
of God!"? The Pastor answered, "I must confess, that I have never spoken to him personally
and directly about his salvation." That night after the service the evangelist went to the man
personally and with only a few words spoke to him. His few words were sincere and loving,
and the man with tears confessed his need of Christ...it was the personal touch that worked!
Sometimes fruitfulness in ministry comes in
"ones"...rather than in groups!
4. The question of "Who will go?" is still there today, God is still asking the
same question...and waiting for our answer!
a. Will you go?
b. will you go only if you get spectacular results?
c. will you go only if you the work isn't hard?
d. or will you go simply because God asks for us to go!?
CONCLUSION: There is a question God asks that He cannot answer...but we can! God has a plan to save the lost, but HE NEEDS personnel to meet it! God has a MESSAGE, but HE NEEDS MESSENGERS to deliver it! Today god is still asking the same question...and he awaits an answer, one that can only come from us. What's your answer to God?