Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 14 Unification of Logos & Houtkruis . Gripped by the Greatness of God.

. Gripped by the Greatness of God.

GRIPPED BY THE GREATNESS OF GOD

Isaiah 6:1-5 (ESV) “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. 2 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. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 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!”

Introduction.

One thing I realise again and again is that there is always a direct link between our spiritual commitment and our view of God and our love for God. Unless we are gripped by the majesty or greatness of God we will never be sold out for God. It was at the end of Isaiah's vision that he was able to utter: "Here I am, send me".

 

So, let me start my sermon with a few penetrating questions for all of us here in worship today. What is Christianity about for you? Are you a person that desires the trappings of Christianity with all that it offers, maybe it is just nice to have Christian friends, a place to hopefully have some of your physical needs taken care of, a time to gather for rituals, ceremonies etc.? Or is Christianity for you about desiring God. Do you really desire Him, do you really love Him and do you really desire to serve Him or are you serving your own appetites, or maybe even man or the law? Do you have a real desire to taste the majesty of God, or is it good enough for you to plod along? How deep and how intimate is your walk with God? Have you seen enough of God's holiness to have an unquenchable taste for His majesty? In short, how hard are you going after God?

 

Your answer to the above questions is going to greatly affect your Christian walk and commitment.

 

My prayer for us here at Logos is that our view of God would become larger and larger and that we will realize that out of His omnipotent magnificence flows everything that we need, because only He is the all-sufficient one. Don’t we so often say that what we desire is revival? Many people chase after revival in the same way a dog chases after a car. When you catch it you will not know what to do with it. I believe that true revival only happens when we see God majestic in holiness, and when we see ourselves, as disobedient frail human beings in constant need of grace, like Isaiah  who after he had this glorious vision of God says in verse 5: “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!”

 

True revival is when there is brokenness, repentance, unspeakable joy of forgiveness, a "taste for the magnificence of God," a hunger for his holiness—to see it more and to live it more. That's revival, and it comes from seeing God. Let’s join Isaiah in this sermon as he declares to us at least seven revelations of God which are found in just the first three verses of Isaiah 6.

Point 1:  God is alive.

“I saw the Lord” (verse 1)

There is a Chorus we always sang as children, that says “God’s not dead, He is alive, I feel it in my heart, I feel it in my hands, I feel it in my feet, I feel it all over me.” That is actually a very bad basis for God’s existence or aliveness, namely my feeling. How do you feel in your hands and feet that God is not dead? The only reason I am is because God is. If God was not alive you and I are the biggest fools sitting in this building today. It will make every Christian endeavour beyond any level of reasoning stupid but I declare before you today and proclaim that God is alive. King Uzziah is dead, but God lives on. That is why the Psalmist can say in Psalm 90:2 (ESV) Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

 

God was the living God when this universe came into existence. God is not a product of man’s mind or the offspring of creation. To make God anything less than creator is to insult God. God was not, and God will not be, God is and remains the one who says: “I am, who I am”. He was the living God when you and I were not even a thought. He was the living God when Adam and Eve were created. He was the living God when Darwin proclaimed He was not a living God and sought to find man’s origin somewhere else. And he will be the living God into eternity when all who have questioned His existence will be suffering in eternal hell on the basis of their disbelief.

 

Like Uzziah, all heads of state or rulers will die. I think I can safely guarantee you that there is no significant ruler in the world who will be alive within the next 50 years. It is safe to say that within 120 years from now if the Lord should tarry this planet will be populated by billions of brand new people and all of us alive today will have vanished off the earth like King Uzziah, but not God. He never had a beginning and therefore depends on nothing for his existence. He always has been and always will be God alive.

Point 2.  God rules.

“Sitting upon a throne…” (verse 1)

This is maybe one of the most satisfying images for us as believers. God is seated on the throne. No vision of heaven has ever caught a glimpse of God running around to order things. We so often feel like everything is falling apart in our lives and in this world, but one thing I can guarantee you today is that Heaven is not coming apart at the seams. God is never at wits' end with His heavenly realm. He sits, and he sits on a throne. All is at peace and He has control. The throne is his right to rule the world.

We do not give God authority over our lives. He has all authority whether we like it or not, and we have no right at all to call God into question! God can do what He pleases, when He pleases and how He pleases. God's activity is what it is. There isn't anything else. Without it there would be no being, including human beings presuming to judge the Creator of everything that is. Few things are more humbling, few things give us that sense of raw majesty, as the truth that God is utterly authoritative. He is the final judge of the highest court, and after him, there is no appeal to no other authority.

Point 3. God is omnipotent.

“high and lifted up” (verse 1)

The throne of his authority is not one among many. It is high and lifted up. The fact that God's throne is higher than every other throne signifies God's superior power to exercise His authority. No opposing authority can nullify the decrees of God. What He purposes, He accomplishes. In Isaiah 46:10 (ESV) God says: “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.” Daniel 4:35 (ESV) says: all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

 

To be gripped by the omnipotence (or sovereignty) of God is either marvellous because He is for us or terrifying because He is against us. Indifference to His omnipotence simply means we haven't seen it for what it is. The sovereign authority of the living God is a refuge full of joy and power for those who keep his covenant.

Point 4.  God is marvellous.

“and the train of his robe filled the temple." (verse 1)

Many of you will still remember the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. Remember that dress she had on with all these bridesmaids having to assist her just to gather up her train of her dress which covered the steps and part of the platform.  Now, what would the meaning be if the train filled the aisles and covered the seats and the stage, and draped the walls and all of this woven as one piece?

This is such a glorious image that Isaiah puts before us. Try and comprehend it. The fact that God's robe fills the entire heavenly temple means that he is a God of incomparable splendour. The fullness of God's splendour shows itself in a thousand ways. All you need to do is study creation to see the splendour of God. It is often scientists who make the most amazing statements of disbelief when they should be the very people who have no reason but to believe that there is a creator of the universe who did everything according to His glorious plan. David Block, South Africa’s leading astronomer did a presentation at our previous church a few years ago under the title ‘how can a scientist believe?’ I went to him afterwards and set to him, that after hearing his presentation and seeing all the beautiful images of outer space, his title is wrong, it should be: ‘how can a scientist not believe?’ The problem with atheistic scientists often is that they get so caught up in the beauty of God’s creation and the microscopic working thereof that they get stuck and worship their own intelligence which itself comes from God.

Because God is lavish in splendour. His creative fullness spills over in excessive beauty. And if that's the way the world is, how much more splendid must the Lord be who thought it up and made it!

Point 5, God is revered.

2 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. 3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”

This is such a glorious picture of the seraphim or angels who are gathered around the throne. God is so glorious that we see them here before the throne crying “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.” Eight hundred and fifty years later we turn to Revelation 4:8 and we see the same guys when John says to us: Revelation 4:8 (ESV) 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” How glorious God must be that the angels will go on and on and declare His holiness, and today so many Christians struggle to worship, we frown on the privilege of worship, we battle to get out of bed on Sundays to worship with God’s people, and the angels go on and on declaring His holiness. Wake up call people.

 

Oh that we would at the present moment so be filled with an unquenchable taste for his majesty that we will not tire in proclaiming His holiness. Oh that we will use every opportunity faithfully and not just Sundays to gather with God’s people to proclaim His worth.

 

We must be careful how we view this scene; otherwise it will affect our worship. Given the grandeur of the scene and the power of the angelic hosts we had best not picture chubby winged babies fluttering about the Lord's ears; otherwise this will change your view of God. According to verse four, when one of them speaks the foundations of the temple shake. There are no puny or silly creatures in heaven, only magnificent ones. Even in Revelation they speak with a loud voice. And the point I want to make is this: not even they can look upon the Lord nor do they feel worthy even to leave their feet exposed in his presence. Great and good as they are, untainted by human sin, they revere their Maker in great humility.

I want to tell you today that if you were to encounter these angels the way they are presented here, you will be terrified with their brilliance and power, but these angels themselves hide in holy fear and reverence from the splendour of God. How much more will we shudder and quake in His presence who cannot even endure the splendour of his angels!

Point 6, God is holy.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;”  (Verse 3)

How do you explain God in His holiness? The possibilities of language to carry the meaning of God in His true holiness run out. Our dictionaries just cannot explain Him for who He really is.  The word "holiness" can only take us so far, but from there on the experience of God is beyond words. The reason I say this is that every effort to define the holiness of God ultimately winds up by saying: God is holy means God is God.

 

Let me explain. The root meaning of the word holy is to cut or separate. The Greek word ‘hagios’ means to set apart or cut off. A holy thing is cut off from and separated from common use. Earthly things and persons are holy as they are distinct from the world and devoted to God. So the Bible speaks of holy ground, holy assemblies, holy Sabbaths, a holy nation; holy garments, a holy city, holy promises, holy men and women, holy scriptures, holy hands and even a holy kiss. Almost anything can become holy if it is separated from the common and devoted to God.

 

But notice what happens when this definition is applied to God himself. From what can you separate God to make him holy? The very god-ness of God means that he is separate from all that is not God. There is an infinite qualitative difference between Creator and creature. God is one of a kind and in a class by Himself. In that sense He is utterly holy. But then you have said no more than that he is God. Or if the holiness of a man derives from being separated from the world and devoted to God, to who is God devoted so as to derive His holiness? To no one but Himself. It is blasphemy to say that there is a higher reality than God to which he must conform in order to be holy. God is the absolute reality beyond which is only more of God. When asked for his name in Exodus 3:14 he said, "I am who I am." His being and his character are utterly undetermined by anything outside himself. He is not holy because He keeps the rules. He wrote the rules! God is not holy because He keeps the law. The law is holy because it reveals God. God is absolute. Everything else is derivative.

 

What then is his holiness? Listen to three texts. 1 Samuel 2:2 (ESV) “There is none holy like the Lord; there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God.” Isaiah 40:25 (ESV) To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? Says the Holy One.” Hosea 11:9 (ESV) “I will not execute my burning anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and not a man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath.In the end God is holy in that he is God and not man.

 

He is incomparable. His holiness is his utterly unique divine essence. It determines all that he is and does and is determined by no one. His holiness is what he is as God which no one else is or ever will be. Call it his majesty, his divinity, his greatness, his value as the pearl of great price. In the end language runs out. In the word "holy" we have sailed to the world's end in the utter silence of reverence and wonder and awe. There may yet be more to know of God, but that will be beyond words. That is why Habakkuk can say: “But the Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.” Habakkuk 2:20 (ESV)

 

But before the silence and the shaking of the foundations and the all-concealing smoke we learn a seventh final thing about God.

Point 7. God is glorious.

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

The glory of God is the manifestation of his holiness. God's holiness is the incomparable perfection of his divine nature; his glory is the display of that holiness. God is glorious" means: God's holiness has gone public. It is God showing Himself as Holy as we read in Leviticus 10:3 (ESV) “Then Moses said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘Among those who are near me I will be sanctified (show myself Holy), and before all the people I will be glorified.’” When God shows himself to be holy, what we see is glory. The holiness of God is his concealed glory. The glory of God is his revealed holiness.

When the Seraphim say, "The whole earth is full of his glory," it is because from the heights of heaven you can see the end of the world. From down here the view of the glory of God is limited. But it's limited largely by our foolish preference for trimmings. Let me illustrate. Go out into the middle of the bush at night where there are no lights anywhere close and look up, and what do you see? You see God’s glory on display, and if you keep quiet you hear the night. As long as our head is surrounded by this artificial light the sky overhead is empty of glory.

Maybe it is time for the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow out our spiritual earthly lights, and then in our darkness God's heavens are filled with stars. Someday God will blow and turn away every competing glory and make his holiness known in awesome splendour to every humble creature. But there is no need to wait. Isaiah and many of you have humbled yourselves to go hard after the Holy God and have developed a taste for his majesty. To you and all the rest who are just beginning to feel it, I hold out this promise from God, who is ever alive, authoritative, omnipotent, splendid, revered, holy and glorious. Jeremiah 29:12-13 (ESV) “12Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. Israel had to experience 70 years of captivity, and see a generation die out before they understood this.

I challenge you today, Go hard after God and bask in the radiance of His glory and your life will never be the same again. May God give us the grace to do that because I am confident of this, that all of us should desire to be amongst those of every tribe and nation and people who gather before the throne of God one day, to join the angels in crying Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty, and just like them we will never tire for all eternity.

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church:- 23 October 2016