“…I saw the Lord sitting on a
throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his
face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried
to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole
earth is full of His glory!’” (Isaiah 6:1-3)
Will you join with me in a prayerful search in the
Scriptures for the character, the nature of God? It will take us about
half a year to merely scratch the surface in trying to comprehend the
being, the Person of God, but let’s try and you can accompany me on the
journey. Here are some of the descriptive words we will look at over the
next twenty-plus weeks: He is our Judge; but He is also Patient, Loving,
Beautiful, All-Powerful, All-Knowing; He is Everywhere; He is Peaceful,
and infinitely more. He’s Wonderful. Today, as the title of this sermon
indicates, we will look at the Holiness of God. There at least hundreds
of descriptive words that illustrate Him, but Holiness, for this half
year study, is going to be first.
In our Scripture for today, when the Seraphim, those
enormous, wondrous creatures at the throne of God cried, “Holy,
holy, holy is the Lord of hosts…” they were shouting out the
Hebrew “qadosh, qadosh, qadosh” (kaw-doshe),
calling to us who read the words that the Lord of hosts is morally clean.
He has no sin in Him. He is not blinded by the ruinous effects of sin as
we are. He is holy in all His thoughts and ways. We can trust in Him, we
can safely follow Him because He is pure. His thoughts, His actions are
not tainted by negative self-interest, as ours often are. He is holy,
just and true.
When Jesus came to this earth, He took the form of a
human child, and yet He was also the Son of God who became our
Spokesperson, representing us all as He lived and died and rose again
for you and me. He also is the Father’s Representative, His Ambassador,
presenting God to humanity. “… We have a great
high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God…
let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is
unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect
has been tempted as we are, but without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Jesus is Pure, He is Holy, he is True, He is without sin and He truly
understands our weaknesses and our great need.
Most who prayerfully read Scripture, conclude that
Isaiah son of Amoz, the author of the Book of Isaiah, was a holy man.
And he was indeed God’s prophet, a man who faithfully uttered the Word
of God as led by the Holy Spirit of God. But he had a serious defect –
he was a human being like the rest of us. He probably was a rather good
person, though many in history have had bad thoughts and their actions
were questionable, but God used them anyway. The problem with people is
that we are people, and “all have sinned and come
short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). King David observed
much the same difficulty in humanity by observing, “In
Your (in God’s) sight no one living is
righteous” (Psalm 143:2).
We don’t know too much about Isaiah, but we can see
his state of mind at the moment the Lord revealed Himself to the man.
This happened “in the year that King Uzziah died”
and suddenly he “saw the Lord sitting upon a
throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple”
(Isaiah 6:1). Can you imagine? Everyone who was alive at the death of a
notable leader will remember exactly what they were doing at the moment
for the rest of their lives. I remember exactly where I was and what I
was doing in 1963, at the moment we heard about the death of U.S.
President Kennedy. I remember vividly where I was when men walked on the
moon. Something even greater now happened to Isaiah.
He would still have been very upset at the loss of
his king, and then, within that time frame, the man was swept up into
the Presence of the Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth. He reports that
he saw above the Lord’s throne, six huge beings he identified as “seraphim”
(Verse 2). Ezekiel the prophet observed similar creatures which are
described in great detail in Ezekiel Chapter 1. He mentioned them again
in Chapter 10, calling them “cherubim.” “They
had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had
four wings… each had the face of a man, each of the four had the face of
a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the
left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle… their
appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of
torches…” and he continued that their method of locomotion was
somehow “wheels” and the rims of those
wheels were “high” and “covered
with eyes” (Ezekiel1:4-21).
They had “six” wings
according to Isaiah 6:2, but it may be that Isaiah simply was unable to see
the remaining two from his vantage point. Regardless, when Ezekiel saw
the throne of God, he “fell on his face”
(Ezekiel 1:28), which was the response of many in Scripture who had a
vision of God. And we find Isaiah, who may have been satisfied with his
life up to that point, calling out, “Woe is me,
for I am undone! Because 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” (Isaiah 6:5). He, like Ezekiel and others in
Scripture who encountered the Lord, beheld His glory, saw His utter
holiness, the complete purity of God, and like in a mirror, saw his own
terrible need; his sin.
Many are curious about what heaven will be like and
that’s reasonable. Much is suggested by Scripture about how it will be,
and best of all, a complete road map is given to us that will get us there. A
complete summary of the road map is found in the words of Jesus. He
said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe
in God, believe also in Me… if I go to
prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself,
that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the
way you know” (John 14:4). At that point, one of Jesus’
disciples, Thomas, expressed the concern they all had and the concern of
many today: “Lord, we do not know
where You are going, and how can we know the way?” (John 14:5)
Jesus answered in a manner that touches us all: “I
am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except
through Me” (John 14:6). In another place, Jesus remarked with a
sigh that we must become like “little children”
in order to see the kingdom of God (Matthew 18:3). And the answer of
Jesus to Thomas' question lets us relax and trust in the Lord,
for Jesus is indeed the “Way” to God. There is
a children’s song which fully expresses how we can find and have what is
often called, “Saving faith,” and here is that song: “Jesus
loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little children to Him
belong; they are weak but He is strong.” God is holy; without
Him, we're not.
Jesus became a man; He also is God. He, God the Son, IS holy and
we are saved through TRUSTING in Him.
Isaiah the prophet shouted, “Woe
is me…” for He had seen God and knew that he did not measure up.
And so, “one of the seraphim flew to me, having in
his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.
And he touched my mouth with it, and said, ‘Behold, this has touched
your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged”
At the time Isaiah saw the Lord, the Advent of Jesus
was 700 years in the future, but Isaiah would write, “He
was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;
the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are
healed” (Isaiah 53:4-5). The cross of Jesus reached back through
time, becoming the "live coal" that touched
the lips and heart of Isaiah. God is holy. You are not. Jesus died for
your sins. Will you trust and be forgiven?
Lord, I am a lost sinner. Please forgive my sins
and make me clean. I trust in You. Please save me. Thank You. In Jesus