A King On His Throne

Posted: September 26, 2018 by keystoneyouth in Strange Encounters Lessons
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Attention Funnel:Close Encounters with Animals

  • What’s the wildest encounter you have had with an animal?
  • There’s something about encountering a wild animal in which you are both drawn to try to get close and yet fearful of getting to close.

Series Introduction:

  • Throughout the Bible we see God show up in some unusual and extraordinary ways.
  • This is not to say that God is not always present and working in the world.
    • God does not show up in the world on Sundays and then catch an UBER back to Heaven until he comes back later in the week to pick up his weekly Chick-Fil-A.
    • God is always present and always working. Everything that happens, happens because of him.
  • But at certain times, God pulls back the curtain so that people get a clearer glimpse of who he is and what he’s doing.
    • This is where a Stranger Things comparison is fitting. In Stranger Things there is a parallel world called the upside down. Most people don’t even realize it’s there. And yet and certain times people get a glimpse into the upside down to see what’s really happening. The upside down was there all along, but it’s only when the curtain is pulled back that people actually see it.
    • Now this metaphor breaks down, because it’s not as if God lives in a parallel world where he is constantly trying to break into our world. He is as real, even more real, than the chair you are sitting on right now. But we don’t always see him clearly.
  • These encounters are not regular or often, but they reveal God clearer than ever for us to see.
  • Although our experience may look very different, we still have the opportunity to encounter God.
  • And what we learn from these strange encounters will hopefully make us hungrier to encounter God
  • Tonight, we start with Isaiah.

Big Idea: Encountering a Holy God will change us.

Main Points:

  • God is Holy because no one and nothing else is like Him.
  • Without God’s holiness, sin isn’t a big deal.
  • Without God’s holiness, His love is cheap.
  • Without God’s holiness, we are self-focused.

Read Isaiah 6:1-8

What Isaiah Saw:

  • Isaiah tells us that his encounter happened in the year that King Uzziah died.
    • King Uzziah had been King for 52 years. Imagine if we had the same president since 1966. And under him, the people enjoyed peace, prosperity and power.
    • However, the people of Israel had grown cold and dull to God during this time. It’s not that they rejected God. They believed in him and did a lot of religious things, but many people didn’t really love God.
    • As one person says, “Peace and prosperity, in a curious chemistry, produce spiritual decay.” We would be wise as wealthy, comfortable Americans to hear that clearly.
  • In the midst of this, Isaiah comes face to face with another King. He sees God sitting on a massive throne, with a giant robe that covers all of the temple.
    • What’s the point of this? God is showing Isaiah He is a King unlike any other. God does not die. He does not give up his throne.
    • Every event that happened in history… the very reason you are sitting in here tonight… everything that will happen tomorrow, and until the end of your life, and thousands of years after you are dead will all happen because God planned it and carries it out.
    • He is not elected by popular vote for 4 years. There is no congress or supreme court to check and balance his power. He rules and reigns forever, PERIOD.
  • Next Isaiah sees two creatures on either side that have six wings and look like fire (that’s what Seraphim means)
    • Are you getting a feeling for how strange this encounter was?? This scene would make Barnum’s Greatest Show seem like a midnight infomercial.
    • These two beings can’t even look at God. They are perfect and yet before God they must cover their eyes.
    • And they cover their feet to show they only creatures and belong to the one who sits on the throne.
  • Just as Isaiah finishes taking in these creatures, a deafening roar breaks out like the sound of thunder.
    • The Angels boom, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts.”
    • Why do they say it three times? It’s like me trying to describe the desert and all I can say is it was very, very, very, very, very hot!
    • Words seem inadequate as the Angels try to describe God… how much more are my words inadequate tonight??
    • They follow up by saying the whole earth is full of his glory.
    • What do they mean by that? That are laying out God’s credentials.
    • It’s like introducing a person by using their greatest accomplishments
      • If I had someone introduce me tonight they might say, “Please welcome the third best runner on his freshmen cross country team, two-time fantasy football league winner and one time runner up, the man who once touched Nick Foles hand, Mr. Kyle Kauffman. (My Credentials aren’t that impressive)
    • But what about God’s credentials? Take a look around you. It’s all here because God created it. It all points to him. The 8.7 million species of animals, every mountain, river, and ocean, every star in the sky, and you and I sitting here tonight. It all belongs to him and displays how great He is. And so, the Angels erupt in praise to him.
  • The voice of the angels is so loud that the building all around Isaiah is shaking.
    • Imagine sitting in tiny house as a tornado passes overhead. That’s what Isaiah is feeling.
  • Oh and the room is full of smoke…
  • You get a feeling for how strange this was?
  • So what is happening? Why does God show Isaiah himself in this way?
  • God is showing Isaiah his Holiness. What does that mean?

 God is Holy because no one and nothing else is like Him.

  • He is supremely valuable because he is unique, perfect, and permanent.
  • Think about the most valuable diamond in the world – It’s the Pink Star that values at $71 million. It’s so valuable because it is utterly unique, it’s as close to flawless as a diamond can be, and it will last as long as any earthly thing can.
    • And yet if we put the pink diamond beside God, it would look like dog poop.
  • So why does any of this matter?
  • God’s holiness is a hard thing to grasp and understand, so why should we try to understand it and ask him to give us a greater grasp of it? Let me give you 3 reasons by looking at the rest of the passage.

Without God’s holiness, sin isn’t a big deal.

  • I wonder what comes to mind when you hear me say sin… I wonder if immediately you think – drugs, alcohol, sex. Or I wonder if you think murder, child abuse, and rape. If only specific actions come to mind when we think sin then we think about it wrongly.
  • Sin is anything about us (thoughts, feeling, actions) that fails to treat God as God.
    • In other words, any time I think or act as if I know better than God, I sin.
    • Any time I value something more than God.
    • Any time I do something good that is motivated by anything but honoring God, I sin.
  • But without God’s holiness, we treat sin as no big deal.
    • We often weigh how “good” or “bad” of a person we are by comparing ourselves with other people around us.
    • Sure, I yelled at my parents, but at least I’m not off getting drunk on the weekends. Or sure, I’m getting drunk on the weekends, but at least I’m not a judgmental prick
    • This is like picking up two piles of dirt and comparing them to each other. You likely can’t tell which is dirtier than the other because both piles are dirt. But put one of those piles next to a gold bar and you will quickly see how dirty it is.
  • Sin looks at God, who is perfect, created us, holds our lives in his hands, is the source of every good thing we have… and gives him the middle finger.
    • All our sin is like poking God with a stick. If we think God is a Teady Bear, then we continue to poke assured that he doesn’t care. But when we realize God is Lion we realize how close we are to getting destroyed.
  • This is why Isaiah says, “Woe to me, I’m undone for I am a man of unclean lips.”
    • Isaiah says he is like a man condemned literally about to be tore apart.
    • Why? Because he had a potty mouth and told some dirty jokes? I don’t think so.
    • Because he realized he was guilty of praising God with his lips meanwhile he lived on a daily basis as if God didn’t exist.
    • He had been comparing himself to everyone else thinking it was fine and only now does he see that he’s been poking a crouching lion in the eye all along.
  • If sin doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to us. If we don’t think we really struggle with sin. Or if we constantly justify our sin and say “It’s not that bad.” It’s because we have a deficient view of God’s holiness.

Without God’s holiness, His love is cheap.

  • When our sin is no big deal to us, it also means that God’s love is no big deal.
  • Christians in the United States love to talk about God’s love. As long as your God is a God of love (and by that we mean never judges or condemns anyone) we are okay with that God.
  • But here is the reality, without God’s holiness, his love is cheap.
  • Sure, we sing about “How he loves us,” and “Amazing love, how can it be”
  • But we think, Of course God loves me! What’s not to love about me??
    • I get straight A’s, I’m a pretty big deal at school, I show up to church on Sunday and sing songs to him. I even show up to youth group and that’s not mandatory. What’s not to love about me??
    • The flip side is just as dangerous… saying “God could never love me. I’m too much of a mess. Too much of a failure. I’m worthless like everyone says that I am.”
    • Both of those make God’s love dependent on us and therefore makes it a cheap love.
  • Or we think of God’s love in terms of he’s just up in heaven to bless me, pat me on the back, and tell me how great I am.
    • God is my best friend in the sky. He’s always got my back. He’s there to tell me how great I am.
    • That’s not real love, that’s cheap love – like a friend who always tells you what you want to hear.
  • God loves us, but His love is beyond our understanding. His love is different. His love is anything but cheap.
  • When Isaiah sees God in his holiness, he learns that God’s love is a costly love.
    • The angel takes a coal that comes from the altar to cleanse Isaiah. Why does that matter? Because it’s a coal that would have been burning the dead carcass of an animal. The point is that something else had to die so that Isaiah could receive God’s love.
  • Here we see the spotlight of the gospel shining brightly through this story. For us to know God and experience his love, someone else had to die. Why? Because he is Holy and we are not.
  • But here’s the incredible part… He doesn’t just kill some unsuspecting bystander. He kills his son, who freely offers to take our place and die.
    • Think about that… what is the most valuable thing God has – his son. God takes what is most valuable to him and gives it up… why? Because we are so great? NO because God is so Holy.
    • And the beauty of the gospel is now we get to enjoy this Holy God. The best part of the gospel is not that we get to go to heaven, it’s not even that we are forgiven of our sins, it’s that we get to know and enjoy God .
  • The next time you sing about the love of God, remember the cost it took for you to be able to say, “How he loves us,” rather than “How he destroys us.”
  • And if we can sing along on Sunday morning with your lips while our hearts are bored, it’s because God’s holiness doesn’t captivate us.

 Without God’s holiness, we are self-focused.

  • We so easily think the world revolves around us.
  • We even make God revolve around us. We think he exists to tell us how great we are. We think he exists to make life easier for us. We think he exists to make us more comfortable.
  • We are like people who stand on the edge of the Grand Canyon and are too busy looking in a mirror to be amazed by the view right in front of us. We are people who go out and look at the night sky just so that we can take a picture of us looking at the night sky to brag about it before others. We are people who overload and weigh down the internet with pictures of who else: US!
  • And in the midst of all our self-focus we miss that this life is not really about us. We miss that this world is not really about us. We miss that we are here for someone else… God.
  • I’m about to give a couple examples that may step on toes.. and I want you to really think are these things true of me? And what do they say about how I view God?
  • We can approach church with a self-focus. It’s all about how it makes me feel. Did it make me feel good? Did the worship give me the holy goosebumps? Okay, well then, I’ll go back again. But was the message a little too boring, a little too serious, a little too convicting? Was the worship just a little too quiet or loud? Did not enough people have their hands raised or did to many? Well then, I’ll go 5 miles down the road to a church that makes me feel better.
  • But Church is not about us… it’s about God.
  • We even do this with Missions sometimes. We’ll go to Vermont, Memphis, and Costa Rica, but if we are asked to serve other people at youth group or serve our community… Nah.
  • We’ll post, “Here I Am, Send me” while we head off to our next adventure that we call missions.
    • I wonder how much of our “Missions” is motivated by selfish desires instead of a desire to see God absolutely glorified even if it costs us everything.
  • That’s what happens to Isaiah when he sees God’s holiness. He says “Here, I am send me.”
    • And what does God do? He says, “Go preach to your friends, family, and fellow citizens. Tell them what I say to you. And just so you are ready in advance, hardly anyone is going to listen. They’re going to make fun of you, say you’re stupid, and reject your message. And eventually you are going to watch them go into exile.”
    • Talk about a great promo for a “GAP Year” – come here where no one will listen, people will make fun of you, and eventually the city is going to be destroyed.
  • Look don’t get me wrong… we need foreign missionaries, we need people who are going to go to Gap Years in some really awesome places and we need people to go to Vermont, Memphis, and Costa Rica.
  • But we also need people who are going to go to the friends, families, schools, sports teams, and other places they are every day and boldly live for God and seek to share the gospel they believe in… come what may.
  • We need people who are going to wake up every day and say it’s not all about me. It’s all about God.
  • If instead we wake up every day to a mission of comfort, ease, and focusing on me… it’s because we have a small view of God’s holiness.

Conclusion:

  • A Holy God convicts us of our sin, a Holy God amazes us with his love as he takes care of our sin, and a Holy God sends us on a mission in response to his love. It’s all about him. It always has been and it always will be.
  • I want finish tonight by singing worship to this Holy God and then coming back up to close in prayer.

So What??

  • We need to encounter a Holy God or everything else about Christianity gets watered down.
  • If you’ve never encountered this God before and something was stirring in you tonight – talk to a youth worker before you leave. Or ask them if they can talk sometime this week. Don’t simply move on without figuring out what it means to know this God and experience Him.
  • If you’ve encountered this God but you feel how your sin has become more acceptable to you, how his love has become less incredible to you, how you’ve made life more about you then anyone else… my encouragement to you is to make the Summit we are having on October 23rd-26tha priority. Yes it’s a big commitment. But we are gathering as a church that week prayerfully and hopefully to see God show up in extraordinary ways. That doesn’t mean you’ll see a giant throne and angels. But I hope for me and for you that it means we will see a clearer glimpse of God’s holiness.
  • Spend time seeking God where we most likely encounter Him today. Open up the Bible (don’t just read it because that’s what Christians should do). Read it to meet and encounter the Holy God. Ask, beg, plead with God to show himself to you and open your eyes to Who he really is. Come to church expecting and asking to encounter a Holy God. That’s been my prayer recently and I would love for it to become yours as well.

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