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6-16-24 On a Mission from God

On a Mission From God

David Peterson / General

Holiness; Mission; Grace / Isaiah 6:1–13

Sermon Type: Textual-Topical

Proposition: We (the church) are sent into our world as those who have caught a glimpse of holiness in Christ and are to call the world to holiness, which is true wholeness and fulfillment of our humanity in excellence. This holiness comes as a gift in Christ.

Introduction

Key Text: Isaiah 6:8 NIV84

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!”

I. We are the Sent ones

1. Explanation

a. God works through agents—Father’s Day

b. There is a special call

c. There is the corporate call to be God’s people

2. Application

3. Illustration

The Unique and Important Role of Fathers

Dads are designed by God to be different than mothers. In Aeon, Anna Machin explains the unique and important role of human fathers. For starters, Machin argues, fathers are designed to relate to their children through what she calls “highly physical [play] with lots of throwing up in the air, jumping about and tickling, accompanied by loud shouts and laughter. Of course fathers also cuddle, but this fatherly play has two benefits:

First, its exuberant nature allows dads to build a bond with their children quickly using hits of neurochemicals required for a robust bond. Second, due to the riskiness of the play, it begins to teach the child about the give and take of relationships. Even from a very young age fathers are teaching their children crucial life lessons.

Why do kids need this dad rough-and-tumble play and not just a good cuddle? Machin says,

Because analysis has shown that fathers and children get their peaks in oxytocin, indicating increased reward, from playing together. The correspond­ing peak for mothers and babies is when they are being affectionate. In contrast, a father’s attachment to his child has elements of affection and care, but it is based on challenge. A father turns his children’s faces outward, encouraging them to build relationships, succeed in the world, and developing a child’s sense of worth.

She concludes by saying that we need to change our cultural conversation about fathers. Some fathers are absent or inept, but Machin argues,

But the majority of fathers are not these people. We need to discuss the dads who stick around for their children. Who coach football, read bedtime stories, locate missing school socks, and scare away the night-time monsters. Who encourage their children’s mental resilience, and train them to enter our increasingly complex social world.

Anna Machin, “The Marvel Of The Human Dad,” Aeon (1-18-19)

II. A Vision of Holiness

1. Explanation

a. Holy, Holy, Holy, for Isaiah would have meant the superlative of holiness

Hebrew uses repetition to express superlatives or to indicate totality. Only here is a threefold repetition found.6 Holiness is supremely the truth about God, and his holiness is in itself so far beyond human thought that a ‘super-superlative’ has to be invented to express it.

Motyer, J. A. (1996). The prophecy of Isaiah: an introduction & commentary (pp. 76–77). InterVarsity Press.

b. Holiness is excellence

We can conclude that holiness is exemplified by completeness. Holiness requires that individuals shall conform to the class to which they belong. And holiness requires that different classes of things shall not be confused.

This idea of wholeness or normality as the notion implicitly assumed to be essential to holiness and cleanness is the key determining the divisions of the animal kingdom according to Douglas. [This is more fully discussed below. See comments on ch. 11.]

Gordon J. Wenham, NICOT Leviticus

To be in Christ is the source of the Christian’s life; to be like Christ is the sum of his excellence; to be with Christ is the fulness of his joy.

CHARLES HODGE

2. Application

3. Illustration

Devotional writer Henry G. Bosch once wrote in Our Daily Bread that when he was a boy he would often work with his father during the summer months. Leaving home each morning, they would stop at a particular store for a newspaper which they read at coffeebreak. One day, arriving at work, Henry’s dad discovered that he had taken two papers by mistake because they were so thin. After a moment’s thought, he decided to return to the store immediately to pay for the extra paper. “I don’t want the owner, who isn’t a Christian, to think I’m dishonest,” said Mr. Bosch.

About a week later, some expensive items were shoplifted from the same store. The police calculated that at the time of the robbery only two men had been shopping in the store—Mr. Bosch and another man. “I know John is honest,” said the storekeeper. “Just last week he came all the way back here to return a newspaper he’d taken by mistake.”

The police questioned the other man instead and, in so doing, apprehended the culprit who made a full confession.

“Father’s honesty and Christian character… not only made a deep impression on the storekeeper,” Henry later wrote, “but his actions also left an indelible mark upon my young and pliable mind.”

Morgan, R. J. (2000). Nelson’s complete book of stories, illustrations, and quotes (electronic ed., p. 446). Thomas Nelson Publishers.

III. An Experience of Forgiveness

1. Explanation

a. In the bright light of his vision, he saw the truth about himself and his people.

For years the king had lived in alienation and separation, under divine displeasure (2 Ki. 15:5; 2 Ch. 26:16ff.), and as his death approached he remained, to the human eye, uncleansed. Thus, Uzziah, as the darkness of death closed in upon him, was symbolic of Isaiah’s view of the nation, its plight and its problem. The prophet saw in respect of one what he feared for all—that the time had come when even the Lord was saying ‘What more ought I to have done?’ (5:4). But in this hour of death Isaiah discovered that the Lord still had a word of new life to speak (cf. verses 7–8).

Motyer, J. A. (1996). The prophecy of Isaiah: an introduction & commentary (pp. 75–76). InterVarsity Press.

Isaiah is mentioned as the recorder of the events of Uzziah’s reign (2 Ch 26:22). One unfortunate event came as a result of Uzziah’s pride. In his later years the king tried to offer incense in the temple. Azariah the priest and 80 other priests confronted him and condemned his action. The king became angry and raged at the priests. The Lord did not let the king’s pride go without discipline. Because of his unfaithfulness, the Lord afflicted Uzziah with leprosy until the day of his death (2 Ch 26:21). The leprosy kept Uzziah out of the temple the rest of his days, and Jotham, his son, governed while Uzziah lived in a separate house.

Unknown Source

This narrative is tightly organized, without a single wasted word. It begins with a vision of God (6:1–4), in which his majesty, transcendence, and holiness are emphasized. There follows Isaiah’s cry of dereliction, in which he testifies to the terrible self-knowledge that has come because of the vision (6:5). He recognizes that what separates him from God is not finitude but moral corruption, and he knows that such corruption cannot coexist with the God who has been revealed to him. But, amazingly, God is not willing for Isaiah to be destroyed, because one of God’s flaming ministers comes to the prophet with a blazing coal from the altar. With it he cauterizes Isaiah’s lips and pronounces him clean (6:6–7). Only then is the voice of God heard asking in a rather off-handed way who might be willing to carry a message for him.

Oswalt, J. N. (2003). Isaiah (p. 125). Zondervan Publishing House.

The perpetual fire (Lv. 6:12–13) on the altar went beyond symbolizing divine wrath, for the altar was the place where the holy God accepted and was satisfied by blood sacrifice (Lv. 17:11). It holds together the ideas of the atonement, propitiation and satisfaction required by God and of the forgiveness, cleansing and reconciliation needed by his people. All this is achieved through substitutionary sacrifice and brought to Isaiah, encapsulated in the single symbol of the live coal.

Motyer, J. A. (1996). The prophecy of Isaiah: an introduction & commentary (p. 78). InterVarsity Press.

b. The lack of holiness of Israel

Isaiah 1:16-17 NIV84 – Stop doing wrong,

17 learn to do right!

Seek justice,

encourage the oppressed.

Defend the cause of the fatherless,

plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 1:23 NIV84

Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.

Isaiah 2:6-8 NIV84 – They are full of superstitions from the East;

they practice divination like the Philistines

and clasp hands with pagans.

7 Their land is full of silver and gold;

there is no end to their treasures.

Their land is full of horses;

there is no end to their chariots.

8 Their land is full of idols;

they bow down to the work of their hands,

to what their fingers have made.

2. Application

3. Illustration

Conclusion

A Father Worth Waiting For

Author and YouTube video producer Kim Tate shares her story of finding an intimate relationship with her Abba Father in heaven.

It’s one of my most vivid memories as a girl: sitting on the edge of my bed, face angled toward the window, eyes peeled for my daddy. My heart would race as a new set of headlights approached—maybe that’s him—before sinking as the car passed into the distance. Still, I’d hold on to hope. From the time my parents divorced—I was four—I looked forward to these planned outings with my dad.

Where is he? Did he forget about me? Daddy was always out and about. All I could do was wait, even as daylight turned to dusk and dusk to night. Tears would gather as I realized he wasn’t coming. Again. More than once I thought, I must not really matter. He must not really love me. I was longing for a relationship with my father.

Kim lost her virginity before she turned 16. This brought feelings of shame, because her mother had always preached abstinence until marriage. After that summer, she decided to abstain, but without God she was a slave to sin. So, during college and law school she gave in to living life on her own terms.

During her second year at law school, she fell in love with a fellow student named Bill. After graduating, they moved to Madison to start their careers. But Kim was miserable, so she had a strange idea, “I could pray and maybe God would miraculously intervene to get us out of Madison.”

As I prayed, I started thinking, If I want God to do something for me, I should probably do something for him. Like go to church. Before long I felt convicted about our “living in sin.” So, Bill and I decided to have a private wedding ceremony on Valentine’s Day.

About one year later, Bill couldn’t wait to tell me he’d visited a new church that morning. The following Sunday, we visited together. By the end of service, I was in tears. For the first time, I heard the true gospel preached, and it rocked me. Finally, I understood why Jesus died on that cross. Finally, I saw myself as God saw me—a sinner in need of redemption. I asked God to forgive me, and I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. For all my prayers that God would save me from Madison, his plan, all along, had been to save me in Madison.

Looking back now, from a distance of 25 years, I remember how studying the Book of Deuteronomy was a pivotal part of my early Christian walk. One word, in particular, jumped off the page. Deuteronomy 10:20 and 13:4 mention “holding fast”—or clinging, as some translations have it—to God. It meant relationship—close relationship. Yet it was hard to fathom. The God of the universe would let me cling to him?

What an unsurpassable gift for that little girl staring out of the window, waiting for her dad, and wondering if she really mattered. My Abba Father was letting me know that I could enjoy an intimate relationship with him forever.

Source: Kim Cash Tate, “A Father Worth Waiting For,” CT magazine (July/August, 2019), pp. 79-80

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