Sermon by David May
A bus driver and a preacher entered heaven together. To the preachers surprise, he was given a little cottage why in the back. But the bus driver was given a beautiful dwelling place up near the front. Puzzled, he preacher asked why he was given such a small place in the back of heaven. This is the answer he received. When you were preaching , everyone was sleeping. But as for the bus driver, when he was driving, all the passengers were praying.
At the end of the morning church service, a young boy was over heard telling his mother "When I grow up I think I want to be a preacher." "Why?" asked the mother. The boy said, "I think it would be more fun standing up front and yelling, instead of setting here in the pews."
Now I hope no one goes to sleep. And I promise not to yell at you.
Before you became a Christian, What was your mental image of God? How did you picture Him in your mind?
As for myself, I grew up always believing that God existed without trying to make a mental image of Him. Yet Throughout history, mankind have made idols and images, to represent their idea and need of having something to worship as god or gods.
There are basically three types of thought about the existence of God.
2. The agnostic who believes one cannot know if a God exists; maybe He does and maybe not. One can not know.
3. The Christian who believe in the existence of one supreme God. The God of the Bible.
And the Christian believes that God has the following characteristics.
2. He is omnipresent. He is everywhere at the same time.
3. He is omnipotent. All powerful.
The first verse in the Bible starts with, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Proverbs 1:7 states, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom….." And the writer of Hebrews puts it, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Heb. 11:6.
Now in the beginning God walked with Adam and Eve face to face in the garden of Eden. But because of their disobedience their fellowship with God was broken. And from that time on mankind was not able to see God face to face. In fact from that time on mankind has been hiding from God. Genesis 3:8-10.
In the Old Testament, there are several occasions where God has appeared to certain people. One such person was Moses. The interesting story of his encounter with God is found in Exodus 33:18….34:29.
Today, I would like to talk about another person in the O.T. who saw God. The passage of Scripture that describes the scene is found in Isaiah 6:1-13.
I. Isaiah saw God 6:1
After reading this passage, I think it is interesting that Isaiah didn’t try to describe what God looked like. He only noted that God was high and lifted up and had on a robe whose train filled the temple. The long train of His robe signifies royalty and also that He is ready to judge.
How big is God? Remember what happened when Solomon was dedicating the temple? “A cloud filled the temple so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.” And Solomon said,” But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heavens, even the highest heavens cannot contain You, how much less this temple I have built!” 1Kings 8:10-11, 27.
So what was Isaiah’s response when he saw God?
II. Isaiah saw himself. Verse 5
The nearer one approaches God, the more one realizes his Own sin and corruption. And Isaiah saw himself a sinful man when he compared himself to a Holy God. This too should be our response. Now in our present state, we will not see God Like Moses or Isaiah. But with our spiritual eyes, as we read the Bible, we will see God as a Holy God high and lifted up, and ourselves as a sinful person. As it is written, "….all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
But God has made a provision to correct this problem. In Isaiah’s case, a Seraphs touched his lips with a live coal taken from the altar to purify him. Every time I read this passage I can feel the pain that a hot coal would bring to my lips.
I believe that everyone here has experienced the sensation of being burned at least one in your life. The first time I can remember of being burn was when I was about 5 years old. My parents had bought a new electric stove. The first thing they told me was not to touch the heating element when it was hot because it would burn me. So you can guess what I did when my parents were not looking. That’s right. When they weren’t looking I touched the element. And yes I got burned. Now here is an important point: Jesus took the burn for us by the pain of His death on the cross. "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corin. 5:21
“But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation…” Col. 1:21
And as we walk the Christian life, because we are not perfect, we do sin. And when we do sin, God tells us, "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
Take my case. I realized that my life style was not pleasing to God. For about 10 years, I walked with my back toward God. I quit attending church. I did thinks that I won’t talk about. I am very thankful that God was patient with me during that time. He didn’t have to use a painful experience to draw me back to Him. He, thru the Spirit, gently drew me back to Him. I am glad that when we error in our ways God has proved a way back to Him as stated in 1 John 1:9
When we are right with God, then comes the next step, like Isaiah, to be concerned with the people around us.
III. Isaiah saw the people.
He heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I sent? And who will go for Us?” Isaiah answered, "Here I am. Send me." Verse 8
But in my case it took me awhile to be concerned with people in other lands. At this point in life I didn’t want to be a missionary in a foreign land. I had entered Bible school and was studying to be a pastor. It was after attending Bible school for a year, that I begin to think about foreign missions.
To make a long story short, after graduating from Bible school, I was invited to join a summer short term program called Scum Dendo; program sponsored by LIFE Ministries which is now Asian Access. That summer minister turned into 28 years. Like Isaiah, I heard the call and said, "Here am I send me."
Isaiah lived at a crucial time. A civil war had split the Israelites into North (Israel) and South(Judah). He was to tell God’s message, a message of glum and judgment, to a specific people, for a specific length of time(the Babylonian captivity), to a calloused people.
Like Isaiah, we live at a crucial time. Like Isaiah, we the New Testament Christians, have been given a commission. But our commission is different. We are to take God’s message to every one, every where, until all nations have heard. And right here in Saitama is the best place to start. There is 1 church for every 18,207 people.
And the message we are to tell is not gloomy, but
Friend, if you are tired of hiding from God, tired of running from Him, make today the day you turn to Him. Listen! Jesus is tenderly calling, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30
Christian, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”