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God is Holy

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Introduction: What’s God like?
God. Is. Holy.
Look with me at Isaiah 6:1-8 (READ THE TEXT)
Israel has fallen away.
Is. 1:4 “Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged.”
Isaiah 1-5 he called out Judah for her sickness and prophesied imminent judgment. Periodically, he called the people to repent and heralded God’s willingness to show grace.
Amid all Israel’s mess, there was hope because there a king that sat on the throne to offer leadership and guidance to the people.
Uzziah also Azariah in 2 Kings 15 was a good king. He became king when he was 16 years old and did what was right in God’s eyes. Except, he did not tear down the high places. Nevertheless, God blessed him, and he ruled for 52 years. But as he reigned, he became arrogant and God struck him with leprosy. At this time we come to our text. Israel has fallen into sin, their king has died, and the Assyrian army is growing stronger.
Yet, in these grim times, God appears to Isaiah as the King of all creation, exposing Isaiah’s own uncleanness and redeeming him and commissioning him to proclaim his message.
In our time today, we will see the glory and power of God’s holiness and how when we experience God’s holiness, we will never be the same.
God’s holiness is Glorious, God’s holiness exposes us, God’s holiness redeems us, and God’s holiness motivates us to go!
God's Holiness is Glorious (Is. 6:1-4)
In his vision Isaiah first sees that God sits on his throne
God is high and lofty
God is higher and superior to any earthly king
God is so great that just the hem of his robe filled the temple
Isaiah only had words to describe the expanse of God's throne and the breath of the hem of his garment
Human language cannot ascend high enough to capture God's holiness. In essence our words cannot even leave the floor with it comes to describing God.
Isaiah’s attention is then turned to the seraphim that attend God’s throne
Powerful beings - Literally translated the burning ones. Only mention of them in the Bible.
The floor shook when they cried out.
They are morally pure and even they must praise God for his complete otherness from them.
God’s holiness is more than just his moral purity.
They have 6 wings
2 cover face, shielding from the radiant glory of God
2 cover feet, further protecting them and concealing their nakedness
2 fly, carrying them all around as they proclaim God's glory
This is their song: God is Holy, Holy, Holy
God's holiness describes his otherness
The repetition expressing just how other God is
The repetition is also superlative, meaning that God is holy to the highest degree
The repetition also reflects how this song is constant. They never stop because God's holiness is inexhaustible.
God's glory fills the earth
All creation testifies to god's glory
One day, all of creation will sing of God's glory
God’s glory also fills the room.
Smoke throughout the Bible signifies God’s presence and serves to conceal God’s glory from human eyes.
Did you notice the audience of the seraphim? Each other! They exclaim God’s glories to each other as a way to invite others into worshiping God. One commentator says this: “They see the Lord of glory, and they cry out to one another what they are seeing, as if they were saying, ‘Proclaim the Lord’s greatness with me; let us exalt his name together’ (Ps 34:3).” Davis, Andrew M. 2017. Exalting Jesus in Isaiah. Nashville, TN: Holman Reference.
In a children’s book titled Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? Robert Wells takes us from a size we can grasp to one we can’t. The largest animal on earth is the blue whale. Just the flippers on its tail are bigger than most animals on earth. But a blue whale isn’t anywhere near as big as a mountain. If you put one hundred blue whales in a huge jar, you could put millions of whale jars inside a hollowed-out Mount Everest. But Mount Everest isn’t anywhere near as big as the earth. If you stacked one hundred Mount Everests on top of one another, it would be just a whisker on the face of the earth. And the earth isn’t anywhere near as big as the sun. You could fit one million earths inside of the sun. But the sun, which is a medium-size star, isn’t anywhere near as big as a red supergiant star called Antares. Fifty million of our suns could fit inside of Antares. But Antares isn’t anywhere near as big as the Milky Way galaxy. Billions of stars, including supergiants like Antares, as well as countless comets and asteroids, make up the Milky Way galaxy. But the Milky Way galaxy isn’t anywhere near as big as the universe. There are billions of other galaxies in the universe. And yet, filled with billions of galaxies, the universe is almost totally empty. The distances from one galaxy to another are beyond our imagination. And the Creator of this universe is God, who with a Word spoke it all into being, who is present everywhere in this universe and beyond, who upholds it all with his mighty power. Our God is great and glorious. Our God is holy!1
Yet, let me read to you what A. W. Tozer has to say about God’s glory: “We must not think of God as the highest in an ascending order of beings, starting with the single cell, and going on up from the fish to the bird to the animal to man to angel to cherub to God. God is as high above an archangel as above a caterpillar, for the gulf that separates the archangel from the caterpillar is but finite, while the gulf between God and the archangel is infinite.” (Knowledge of the Holy, 70)
Oh that God's glory would capture our hearts! Such that we, as we exalt his name, might invite our brothers and our sister to proclaim his glories with us because he is deserving of our praise and of so much more! God's holiness is glorious and we all ought to proclaim his holiness at all times.
If we are honest, though, we seldom worship God like this. Instead, we much more eagerly gawk at the new Iphone 14 with its dynamic island or the new apple watch that can detect car crashes or the next star athlete or a new pop artist and we share the news with our friends and family with excitement and urgency. All the while, we reserve worshiping God for Sunday mornings and church events and our excitement about God's glory doesn’t even compare to our excitement about these things. But I want to remind you that God is far more glorious than these things. So let us encourage one another to proclaim God's glories at all times. Brothers, GOD. IS. HOLY!!!! Say it with me! GOD. IS. HOLY!!! GOD. IS. HOLY!!! GOD. IS. HOLY!!!
Amen? Amen!!
God's holiness is glorious.
God's Holiness exposes us (Is. 6:5)
After seeing God’s holiness, Isaiah’s gaze turns to himself, and he sees himself and the nation of Israel in light of who God is.
Isaiah’s first words are “Woe is me! For I am lost”
His words express weight of his own sinfulness and the guilt he feels overwhelmed him such that he exclaims, “I am lost,” which is also translated ruined. This word means to cause to cease, cut off, or destroy.
Isaiah continues his statement identifying the nature of his sinfulness.
Isaiah’s lips are unclean and he lived among a people whose lips were unclean.
There is some debate about what all Isaiah’s statement implies, but what is clear is Isaiah was a prophet who used his mouth to proclaim God’s will, as we can see in chapters 1-5. But his prophetic ministry did not make him any more clean than the people he was prophesying to and about. In fact, the very instrument of Isaiah’s ministry was deeply sinful, implying that the whole of Isaiah’s person was sinful.
Isaiah realized that his sinfulness in light of God’s holiness meant impending doom and destruction.
He could not even join in praising God because of his sinfulness.
God’s holiness had completely exposed everyone of Isaiah’s faults and he was defenseless and overwhelmed by the weight of his sin. Gold’s holiness had exposed him.
Nathan exposes David’s sin with Bathsheba. “You are that man!”
Sometimes we do not feel the full weight of our sin until we are caught and all our sin is brought to the light. And if there is any light that could fully expose our sin it is the light of God’s holiness. Has there ever been a time when you were caught and your sin was exposed? Remember the guilt you felt. Now consider how much greater your guilt is in light of God’s holiness. You may feel at though there is no way out for you. Certainly you would sense that there is nothing you can do to get your self out of this position.
Yet, this is exactly where God wanted Isaiah to be. And this is exactly where find ourselves before we begin to understand our need for grace and mercy.
One commentator writes this: “There is a strong likelihood that until we come to an understanding of ourselves like this, we will treat the grace of God—his unfailing, undeserved love—as a throwaway item: “Of course God loves me; that’s his job.” No, it is not his job. It is an unimaginable, unexpected, and, indeed, unnecessary wonder of the universe. If we see God as he is and ourselves as we are, then like Isaiah, it will not even occur to us to ask for continued life. Obviously, it is an impossibility. However, to the eternal praise of God, it is not an impossibility. God has found a way, amazing as it is to think of, to satisfy both his holiness and his love.” Oswalt, John N. 2003. Isaiah. The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
So, while God’s holiness exposes us, God’s Holiness also redeems us. (Is. 6:6-7)
At the realization of his sin and the judgment his sin deserved, God did for Isaiah what he could not do for himself.
The burning coal from the altar
The altar is the place where the priest made sacrifices on behalf of the people. There were different kinds of sacrifices, but there was only one sacrifice that was to be burnt up.
Lev 1:3-9
The purpose of the burnt offering was to make atonement for the sins of the guilty party.
Atonement - At-one-ment describes the process by which the punishment for sin has been satisfied and removed from the guilty by the shed blood of an innocent sacrifice. As a result two parties that had formerly been estranged because of sin can now be reconciled, brought back together in harmony and fellowship.
For Isaiah this meant that his uncleanness had been made clean.
But, we also need to ask the question: what, better yet, who was this sacrifice?
Is. 53:2-6
Matt. 27:32-46
Jesus was the sacrifice. He was the one from whom the burning coal had been taken, and his body laid upon that altar. Jesus was completely spotless and holy, yet he took upon himself Isaiah’s sinfulness. He bore Isaiah’s guilt and shame and uncleanness. And by Jesus’ wounds, Isaiah was made clean and holy.
We know from the New Testament that Jesus was God and that all that’s true about God is true about Jesus including God’s holiness. So Jesus was the holiness of God that redeems sinful humans.
Jesus did not only die to atone for the sins of Isaiah, but also for all who would believe in him.
We all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.
But God’s sacrificed his Son in our place so that we would not, because we could not, pay the price for our sins.
And if we would turn from our sin, repent, and believe in Jesus, we can be free of the guilt and shame and punishment for our sin. Jesus paid it all on the cross and by his sacrifice he made atonement for our sins.
Have you believed in Jesus and place your faith in him for your redemption. God’s holiness can redeem you if you would only believe.
Those who believe not only have the punishment for their sin paid, but also receive new life in Jesus because Jesus did not die on the cross and stay dead; he rose again after laying in the tomb for three days never to die again. All who believe also have new life in him.
1 Cor. 15:20-22
So if we have new life in Christ, what does the new life look like?
Let’s look at our last point: God's holiness compels us to go (Is. 6:8).
This is the first time in our text that we see God speak, and it is a deliberation within the Godhead.
notice the trinitarian echos of this text. (Gen. 1:26)
God’s questions communicate his mission.
After salvation, God calls and commissions Isaiah to proclaim his message.
The new life that he has will now be spent serving the one who redeemed him and making his glories known.
“Isaiah did not know the nature of the mission God had designed for his emissary, the length of the responsibility, where this person must go, the content of the message, or the difficulty of the task that must be accomplished. Nevertheless, Isaiah immediately volunteered to go. He did not make excuses like Moses or Jeremiah (Exod 3:11; 4:1, 10; Jer 1:6) but gladly volunteered to serve God. From this example one might propose the theological principle that the clarity and reality of a person’s vision of the holiness and glory of the majestic King of Kings is directly related to the clarity of a person’s sense of call and their willingness to humbly submit and serve God in whatever capacity he desires.” Smith, Gary V. 2007. Isaiah 1–39. Edited by E. Ray Clendenen. The New American Commentary. Nashville: B & H Publishing Group.
Tell story of getting into college.
God calls all who he saves to go out and proclaim his mission. Is is a part of the new life that we have recieved.
Matt. 28:18-20
If you are saved, God has called you. Will you respond to the call? Will you make his glories known? Will you tell others about God’s holiness? How it’s glorious, exposes us, redeems us, and motivates us to go? Will you allow God’s holiness to completely transform your life. Will you go and tell people what God is like?
But maybe you're here and you have no idea want God is like. God is holy.
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