What will you do now… having encountered the Lord?

 

What will you do now…

having encountered the Lord?

Isaiah 6:1-8

In Jesus Name

 

The grace of God, the abundant love, the incredible mercy, the peace that comes from being in the presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is yours!

928,000 hits for hell, 597 million for heaven

If you look up two words on the internet, one word will return some 597 million references – web pages that deal with the subject in part or are on that topic – just for that one word.  The other word is even more astounding, some 920 million web pages reference it. A combined total of 1.5 billion webpages referencing these two words.

The first word is heaven…
The second…hell.
It amazes me that there is more attention paid to that second word, half again as many webpages referencing something that by definition cannot be compared to heaven, except to say that everything heaven is not, Hell is.

I wonder if humanity is more comfortable with the second word than heaven, and therefore uses it more, because it doesn’t take any imagination to picture what it is like.  We witness hints of it everywhere, as we see suffering lived out, as we witness the broken lives, as we hear the lyrics of music, country, rock, hip-hop – it doesn’t matter the style,

But heaven?  How do you imagine it, much less describe it? Even St. Paul, who indicates that he was taken up to heaven in a vision, when he writes to the church in Corinth struggles, and describes it this way..

What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualise; all that God has prepared for those who love him; (NJB)

Perhaps, because we cannot visualize it, our mind cannot comprehend being in the presence of God, in all of His glory… we struggle to tell people, to describe to them this relationship that we have with God, and what we expect of eternity, walking with Him.

Our knowledge of what heaven is like comes from the brief glimpses of it in scripture, the brief times where God reveals a little of our what heaven looks and sounds like.  I think we deal enough with the other place way to much – so today – let’s spend our time in heaven, and see what happens when we encounter God in all his glory.

It’s a bit… overwhelming

As Isaiah describes where God resides, the incredible, majestic, throne room of God, there is one word that I think describes his emotions better than any other.

Overwhelmed!

Isaiah cannot even describe the Lord God Almighty who we have praised in song – about the closest he comes is describing the hem of his robe – he quickly describes the angelic beings surrounding the throne, singing the praises of God, praises that ring so loud they shake heaven and earth! Which leads him to focus to God, for the focus point of their body, their voices, everything they are focused on Yahweh – the sight is so awe-inspiring that the translators have always replaced God’s name – YHWH, with His title, for it seems so wrong to address One who is the purest form of holiness by His name.

Isaiah, overwhelmed by it all, all of a sudden remembers that he is part of this picture, In this midst of all this purity, in the middle of the hosts of heaven adoring God in all His intimate majesty!  There stands Isaiah, whose “woe” is a phrase that escapes his mouth, before he can control it – one which leads him to identify himself as a man of “unclean lips.”  Unclean being a reference to a flow of mud or sewer waste that has infiltrated your home, something that no matter how hard you try to clean it, infests and infects every part.  Because that is what sin is – no matter how hard you try to clean it – to fix it – you cannot!

Any of you out there dread public speaking and standing before 1000, 10,000 people?  Or have you ever had one of those nightmares where you find yourself at center court of a basketball game, or in the middle of a mall on the day after thanksgiving clad only in an old torn pair of underwear?  Yeah… that’s pretty much how Isaiah feels, as he realizes the only sin in heaven at that point… is him.

No wonder, as he gasps,  that Isaiah confesses that he is a man of filthy lips – not because of anything that he ate – but because of what has come from him!  Such a statement calls to mind Jesus words regarding that it is not what goes into a man that pollutes him, but what comes out reveals how rotten we can be inside.

Like with most of us, having one’s sin revealed is never easy, it is as overwhelming as being found in the presence of God….yet it is then… as Isaiah is standing there, that something incredible happens…

It’s incredibly healing

         

For being found in God’s presence in not just incredibly overwhelming, it is incredibly healing.

Even as the Heavenly choir is singing the Sanctus’ holy, holy, holy, even as Isaiah realizes how exposed he and his sin is, an angel who knows God’s heart, who grasp His desire takes action.  From the altar something is taken, it touches the lips of the man of unclean lips, and those lips are purified, as is the heart and life of the man.  Those lips are cleansed and can praise the God who created them, and cleansed them.  That heart no longer fears being found in the presence of a holy and righteous God, but stands in awe… and basks and rejoices in the love of the Lord God who reveals Himself to us, in order to bring us back to Him, to restore the relationship!

The sewerage, the uncleanness that once polluted us, is diverted, it cannot reach Isaiah, it cannot reach us.

Our is atoned for – an incredibly deep word picture there – as it is removed and the wounds it caused are covered as they are healed!  You see, the roots of the word attone is tar or pitch – the kind used on trees when you remove a diseased or broken limb – and cover that which remains, so the weak bare would cannot be infested!

That is what God’s love, revealed to us in the shedding of Jesus’ blood does to us – is cleanses, and heals and covers and protects.  It’s that simple – takes that ugly spots out of life and makes us whole…just as the fiery coal in Isaiah’s vision did, so does Christ do, as He enters our lives.

But what is best about what God does in our lives – is that He makes us comfortable in His life – in His presence.  The “woe” disappears and the question of Isaiah falls aside, no longer even needing to be considered!

That is what our faith, our religion, what walking and trusting and believing in Christ is all about my friends.  We need to grasp that because what God has promised us in His word was clearly revealed in Christ – that we now know His love – and that name of His – is ours to use, to call upon, to praise – to ask Him to deal with all that burdens us –that we may know He is God – our loving father!

Wait…there are people

          Note – they too will be overwhelmed…

         

As we realize this incredible promise is not just Isaiah’s but ours – we hear the same words as Isaiah does – the Lord’s voice crying out – who can I send?  Who is going to let the people of La Palma, and Cerritos, and Artesia, and Norwalk and Torrance, those who work with the students at Cal State and USC, and in hospitals and at the senior center and even in St Louis – who will God send?  Who else needs to go to the people of unclean lips and unclean lives and tell them that there is cleansing, there is healing, there is life?

As you respond – for you know what God has done for you – and you realize their need for it – realize that their reactions will be as yours were – overwhelmed by the presence of God, in fear that their sins, their struggles in life stand out. Going out with the message isn’t easy, and people’s reaction will be one of struggle – yet, because of Christ, the lamb that was slain, the message that comes from the heart of God’s altar – the message that cleanses – it will cleanse and heal, and cause them to do as we do…

To find ourselves in the presence of God, cleansed, healed – and able to in the midst of a broken world know a peace and rest that is unexplainable – yet calls us to look to an eternity of peace, as we adore the God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who has made us His own…..

AMEN!


About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on June 3, 2012, in Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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