Intro: How does one become passionate for something or in someone? When I was first introduced into playing golf, I did not really enjoy it. It was frustrating at first when I would sometimes miss hitting the ball. It was difficult to discipline my eyes because in a split second that your eyes are not on the ball before hitting it you will miss it. They call that butterfly. It is a very challenging sport and you cannot learn it overnight. But once you get hooked to it you will have the passion to keep on improving yourself. Gina called herself a golf widow because I would spend more time in the golf course than spending it with her. And when betting was involved in the game it became a challenge and the passion to improve and get better grew more and more. The night before a game I would already plan out in my mind how I would play the course and imagine where I would drive the ball and learn from my previous mistakes. That was my passion and the more I played the more I became passionate. Thank God that passion was replaced.
Last Sunday we saw the passion of Christ and Paul’s passion for Christ. I believe that as he grew in knowing his Lord and grew in his love for Christ he became passionate to serve His Master out of his love and gratitude for what He has done for him. Today we will look how one’s passion can grow.
“Passion for Christ Grows Out of Worship”
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I.” Send me!” He said, “Go tell this people: “Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and turn and be healed.” Isa. 6:1-10
Isaiah was already a prophet of God and given the revelations of God in the first five chapters of this book. At this time God showed him in a vision at the time when Judah’s king died. God showed him the true King and Lord Almighty. He saw God in His temple. He saw the holiness of God that even the seraphs which are heavenly beings, covered their faces and feet in the presence of a holy God and declaring the holiness of God. They were saying it three times and I believe they attributed the holiness of God to the three persons in the Trinity. Isaiah saw the holiness of God, the power of God that shook the temple and the glory of God. He was worshiping God.
How did he respond to what he saw? He realized who he was in the presence of a holy God. He saw himself a sinner and pronounced judgment on himself saying woe to me. What was the sin that he was convicted of? Unclean lips. What would that sin be in God’s commandment? “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” That is the sin of lying and deceitfulness. Not being truthful. Even a careless and unkind word that is hurtful to others. Where does this unclean lips originate? It comes from the heart. According to the prophet Jeremiah this is the condition of our hearts. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” There is only one who never sinned with his lips, Jesus Christ.
“He committed no sin and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 1 Pet. 2:22
When one sees the holiness of God only then will we see how filthy we are.
Isaiah have also seen how the people around him lived with deceitful lips, and guilty of bearing false testimony in other words, they were not truthful, gossipers and deceiving one another and even themselves.
So what hope did Isaiah have after realizing how he has also sinned with a lying tongue? The seraphs flew to him with live coals coming from the altar and touched his mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken out and your sin atoned for.” Live coal stands for fire coming from God. I believe for us today that is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sins and so that when we confess our sins, our guilt is taken away, giving us the assurance that all our sins forgiven and are atoned for. How significant this is to us today under the New Covenant, when we come together for worship, God has this promise for us? That God will be in our midst. We already have the Holy Spirit in us so when we come together to worship and lift up the name of Jesus, the Triune God is present for as we honor the Son, God the Father is glorified. In the last book of the Old Testament, here’s what God said to the priests,
“And now this admonition is for you, O priests. If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me.” Mal. 2:1-2.
Do you know that we can come to worship the Lord and still be displeasing to God? This was true before we became Christians and can still be true even after becoming a Christian. Here is what God sees in our hearts,
The Lord says, “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up of only of rules taught by men.” Isa. 29:13
Jesus also quoted this in the New Testament, when he called the religious Pharisees as hypocrites in Matt. 15:7-9. When our minds wander when the Word is preached and check our I-phones for messages from time to time.
Do you know that under the new covenant every believer is a priest who can come to God’s presence and intercede in behalf of others and for himself?
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Pet. 2:9
God gave us this promise when we worship Him with a pure heart.
“Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry and be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.” Ex. 23:25-26
Is God referring only to women who will miscarry and be barren? I believe this means also that when we worship the Lord, God will use us to reproduce offspring He will save through our witness and preaching of the gospel.
Isaiah hears the call of God. God opened his eyes to see God in all His glory and his ear were opened to hear and listen to the conversation of God. “Whom shall I send and who will go for us.” Notice that there are two pronouns in their conversation. I and us. We see the reference of “I” here as being the Lord Jesus Christ and “us” the Triune God, Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. This is what Jesus said after His resurrection.
Again Jesus said,“Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:21-23
Jesus left His throne in heaven to come down and become flesh in order to be the sacrificial lamb to take away the sins of the world. He alone and no one else have the authority to forgive sins. He is also the one who sends his disciples to go and preach the gospel. When he said, “if you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven” Christ is giving every believer the privilege to have the sins of their love ones, relatives and friends and anyone when they share the gospel with them. We are not the one who will forgive but only to bring to them the message how their sins can be forgiven. If we don’t, then their sins are not forgiven and remains lost and may be lost forever.
When Isaiah heard the call and because his guilt was taken away, how did he respond? “Here am I. Send me.” Was this his choice. Yes, it was. I say that because God did not say to him, “Isaiah I am sending you.” It was his response to the vision that he saw and the voice of God he heard. I believe that when one sees the glory of God and God Himself he will do anything for God and especially when he recognizes and considers the grace of God that saved an unworthy sinner from going to hell. Isaiah saw himself cursed because of his unclean lips but God sent the seraphs to remove his guilt and his sins atoned for by the promised Messiah to come.
After Isaiah responded to the call, what instruction did he receive from God?
“Go and tell this people.” Who are the people God was sending Isaiah to? He was sending them to the Israelites, the chosen nation though not every one He will save. He was sending them to this people with hard hearts, with deaf ears and blind eyes. This was the condition of the people that Isaiah will be preaching to. Notice now the specific message he was to tell the people.
“Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing but never perceiving.” The Israelites were the first people that God has revealed himself yet they did not believe and became more rebellious to God. Has this changed today? When God opened heaven to the Gentiles who are far more numerous than the Israelites, are they all responding to the Christ?
Statistics show that in Nevada 90-95 percent are un-churched. And the rest are all those who claim to Christians though not all are true believers. At that time when God sent Isaiah to tell the people only ten percent heard and responded to the message. It was a hard message because it was a rebuke to people who knew God thru their forefathers. Then Isaiah asked the Lord,
“For how long, O Lord?” And he answered: “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 every one away and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.” Isa. 6:11-13
This was God’s prophecy for the Israelites that was fulfilled when they were exiled to Babylon for seventy years. But who is the holy seed referred to as the stump that remained after the oak tree was cut down?
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Isa. 11:1
That shoot is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ the holy seed. Jesse is the father of David in the line of Jesus. All those He saves are His fruit.
So, who did Jesus send just as Isaiah was sent by God? Who will be given the privilege to be used by God to bear fruit, fruit that will last meaning souls saved by Christ through the preaching of the gospel.
“Then the eleven disciples (minus Judas) went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said,“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt. 28:16-20
These eleven were the ones who followed Jesus and spent three years to be with Him as His faithful disciples. Believers who were willing to be taught and received instructions from Jesus how they were to live their lives and how to serve Him. When they saw Jesus who was raised from the dead in all His glory, “they worshiped Him.” This was their first formal worship of their Lord who paid the price of their redemption. They were with him as a man in flesh and blood. They saw him die on the cross and buried to fulfill what He said in advance. Then finally saw Him as He said that he would be raised to life in a new body with all His glory. So when they saw Him they worshiped Him on the mountain where Jesus said He will meet them, they saw their God just as Isaiah did in all His glory and splendor.
What happened to them after that? They were never the same for after they received and filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter became the first evangelists proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. And after his preaching together with the others, and about 3,000 were saved on that day. He was passionate to preach his Lord Christ. He pleaded with them as though God were making his appeal through them.
“With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted the message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number.” Acts 2:40-41.
When you come to worship with your heart set to honor the Son, you will hear from Him through the still small voice just as Paul and Barnabas heard from the Holy Spirit.
“In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Branabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen ( who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” Acts 13:1-3
They were the first missionaries to the Gentiles. Can that be anyone of us? Yes. We are already given the appointment as Ambassadors of Christ at large. We need only to respond when we hear the call of God to us. But what is our heart attitude when we come to worship Our Lord Jesus Christ? Do we have a heart set to worship out of our love for Him and desires to honor and glorify Him? Then expect God to speak to your hearts even as you see Him only by faith. You are blessed and will bless Him.
You may be here today and God’s call to you is to come to the Lord Jesus Christ in order for Him to forgive you and receive eternal life? Then come.
God may be speaking to you to follow Him in water baptism, Come. Or you may be here and called to be added to this body. Come. God may be speaking to you for a special assignment, Come. Whatever you are hearing from the Holy Spirit respond as Isaiah said, “ Here I am.” Send and use me.