TEXT: Isaiah 6:1-8
There was a story that appeared in Readers Digest a number of years ago. There was a man who was a very devout Christian. He believed in getting up early every morning and having a time of devotions. He would spend an hour every morning between his prayer time and his time reading the Bible. Well, he had a cat. And whenever it became quiet, his cat would come and rub up against him – purring and demanding attention. Normally this was a pleasant thing for him, but he did find it distracting when he was trying to worship and read the Bible. So, after much thought he came up with a solution. He put a collar on the cat, and attached a leash to the color, and then attached the leash to one of the posters on his bed. The cat seemed to enjoy being able to sleep on the bed during this time, so all were happy with this solution. A few years later the man’s son moved out on his own. He wanted to continue in the family rituals. But times had become a little more hurried, and he just didn’t have the kind of time that his father had had. So every morning he would get up – tie the cat to the poster on the bed, and sped ten or 15 minutes reading the Bible, or another good book. This way he knew that his family rituals were kept, and he also showed that the kind of piety that his father had. He was very pleased with this arrangement. When this man’s son grew up, he also wanted to keep the rituals of the family going. But again, times had gotten a little tighter, and he didn’t feel he had enough time to read the Bible – or any other book in the morning, and prayer was not something that interested him. But he did have a cat. So, every morning he got up, tied the cat to the poster of the bed while he got his morning shower and shave. Usually he remembered to let it go when it was time to leave the house for work. But the rituals of the family were continued.
COMPONENTS OF A TRUE WORSHIP EXPERIENCE:
As the story opens we find Isaiah entering the temple. The king had died, the nation was in chaos, all hopes were gone…So Isaiah went to the temple…Isaiah was well aware of the fact that the temple is where God’s presence resided. He wanted to know from God, he wanted to pour out his hopeless heart to the Almighty God. Isaiah entered into the temple expecting to have an encounter with God, probably not an encounter of the magnitude he experienced, but he did expect an encounter, to speak to him, to meet him in his time of great despair. Isaiah knew God reveals himself to them that seek him; to those whose heart, mind and all being are focused to Him! How many of you would like to really experience God today? Let God occupy you today for you to experience His might, His love and His majesty in your life today…
When Robert Kennedy visited the Amazon, he conversed with a Brazilian Indian, who had recently come to Christ but was not known to Kennedy, through a translator. “What do you most like to do?” Kennedy expected an answer like “hunting with bows and arrows” or “canoeing.” The Indian answered, “Being occupied with God.”
Kennedy said, “Ask him again. Something may be lost in the translation.” But the Indian gave the same answer. This was an excellent definition of true worship.
A true worship experience is being occupied by God…in mind, heart, soul and body…that the only, sole person you have in mind is only God!
If you are here for any other reason than to encounter God this morning, you are going to miss the miracle of His presence…
When you walked through the doors this morning, did you expect to see God? Were you prepared for God to reveal himself to you in all of his majesty? Did you expect something to happen?
Or did you walk through the door with false expectations and false motives. Are you here only to salve a guilty conscience? Are you here for the business sense, so that people will see you, and it will encourage business with you? Are you here for the purpose of seeing friends, and them alone? Are you here because this is where you are supposed to be on Sunday morning?
True worship focuses on God. This is where many of us make a mistake. We assume that worship focuses on us. We are here to worship HIM. We are here to bless HIM.
Illustration: Henry Ward Beecher
In Isaiah, the prophet goes to the Temple, and he says “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” It is the presence of God that fills the worship. True worship always focuses on God.
2. THE RESULTS:
Isaiah had witnessed and seen with his own eyes the majesty and glory of God, but that’s not all he had seen, he had seen the holiness of God…HE BECAME AWARE OF WHO HE IS IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD.
True worship will make us see ourselves clearly and would show our shortcomings and to seek God’s forgiveness. In Isaiah, the heavenly beings sing, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” And immediately, the prophet cries out, “Woe to me!” And he speaks of his own sinfulness.
Isaiah SAW HIMSELF as he had never quite seen himself before. He did not see himself in the way that one sees themself as they admire their own image in a mirror. No, no! He did not see himself as a good person, worthy of God’s commendation, and the praise of people. He didn’t think to himself, “WOW! I must be the best person here, because God has honored ONLY ME with a vision of Himself.” That was NOT his attitude at all.
Instead he cried out: Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips!
AND THIS IS ALWAYS TRUE. The closer we get to God, the more clearly we see our sins. The contrast between His holiness and our unholiness gives us a vivid awareness of just how very far short of God’s glory we truly fall.
In that moment we, like Isaiah before us, must recognize not only the holiness of God, but also our own unholiness. In the next moment we fall to the ground crying out, “Woe to me! I am ruined.”
Samuel Logan Brengle wrote of his encounter with the holy in these words: “I saw the humility of Jesus, and my pride; the meekness of Jesus, and my temper; the lowliness of Jesus, and my ambition; the faithfulness of Jesus, and the deceitfulness of my heart; the unselfishness of Jesus, and my selfishness; the trust and faith of Jesus, and my doubts and unbelief . . . I got my eyes off everybody but Jesus and myself, and I came to loathe myself.”
WE COME TO HIM ONLY BY HIS GRACE IN OUR LIVES!
B. TRANSFORMED LIFE.
A live coal – a burning coal – a coal that speaks of purification and cleansing – was brought by that seraphim from off the altar of sacrifice and touched to his lips. It signifies that Isaiah’s sin has been atoned…forgiven…he was cleansed! Most of the time we think that a true worship experience is about speaking in other tongues, and other external manifestations…IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT SPEAKING IN OTHER TONGUES, IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT YOUR BODY TREMBLING IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD, IT’S NOT JUST BEING SLAINED IN THE SPIRIT, BUT IT’S ABOUT YOUR TONGUE, NOT SLANDERING, YOUR TONGUE, NO LONGER SWEARING OR CURSING, IT’S ABOUT YOUR TONGUE SAYING GOD’S WORD, SPEAKING PRAISES AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO OTHER PEOPLE, IT IS NOT ABOUT BODY TREMBLING, IT’S ABOUT YOUR BODY BEING OFFERED AS A LIVING SACRIFICE! IT NOT ABOUT BEING SLAINED, BUT BEING FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF GOD ON A DAILY BASIS! I want you to understand that true worship experience would really make changes in your life. A TRANSFORMED LIFE…HINDI PWEDENG SINASABI MONG YOU’RE WORSHIPING GOD EVERY SUNDAY, BUT YOU’RE STILL LIVING THE SAME KIND OF LIFE…STILL DOING THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD…STILL ENJOYING SINNING…NOT REALLY HAD REPENTED AND HAD TURNED AWAY FROM YOUR SINS…
Expound: (Dr. Charles Stanley’s principle about repentance)
It IS possible for one person to be moved to tears, whilst the person beside them – on the same row of chairs – is UNMOVED. One repents, whilst another trusts in his own self-righteousness. One responds willingly – with a soft heart – to the claims of Christ, whilst another is desperately resisting the persuasion of the Holy Spirit.
Illustration: (John and Paul)
Which one are you tonight? Are you sat here, going through the motions of a cold, formal religion, satisfying your conscience that you’ve come? Or are you meeting with God here? Are you opening up to the Lord as He knocks at the door of your heart?
Isaiah met with God, he had a revelation of the greatness of the Lord, and it changed his life forever.
3. THE RESOLUTION: To be of Service to God.
Worship at its best, always motivates the worshipper to roll up the sleeves and to get to work.
“Enter to worship, depart to serve.” In our Old Testament lesson, the Prophet Isaiah is in the Temple worshipping God. He hears the call to worship, with angels singing “Holy, Holy, Holy.” He is moved to confess his sins, which is followed by the assurance of his pardon. He hears the word of God proclaimed, hearing the voice of God saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And what follows then is the service. The work. The rolling up of sleeves and the reaching out to others. In the Scripture lesson, the Prophet said, “Here am I. Send me!”
True worship will always result in service. We cannot enter the sanctuary to worship, without departing into the world to serve.
How many of you are being blessed every time you go to church to worship? How many of you are really feeling the presence of God in your life as you come here? Well, if you’re saying “yes” to all of those questions, serving God is not that really hard for you and me… In the language of the Bible, the word for worship and the word for service is the same word. Worship and service go hand in hand. In the Christian life, one cannot have worship without service to follow.
There are three types of Christians who would respond to this kind of preaching as they heed the call to serve:
- Rowboat Christians – they have to be pushed wherever they go;
- Sailboat Christians – They always go with the wind; and
- Steamboat Christians – they make up their mind where they ought to go and go there regardless of wind or weather.
A lot of Christians are hesitant to serve for many reasons…but one of the most prominent reasons is they always condition themselves that serving God is purely, only sacrifice…O YES SERVING GOD IS A CALL FOR SACRIFICE, YOU NEED TO SACRIFICE YOUR TIME, EFFORT, SKILLS AND EVEN RESOURCES IN SERVING GOD…but I want you to know this…it is not just about sacrifice…it’s beyond that!
People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called sacrifice which simply pays back a small part of the great debt we owe God? Is anything a sacrifice when it brings its own blessed reward in healthful activity, consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with such a thought. It’s not sacrifice – it’s a privilege! – David Livingstone
Let me tell you brothers and sisters that serving God is not just about sacrifices we can give, but it is a privilege to serve the King of kings and the Lord of lords…that among so many, we have been chosen and had made that decision to serve and glorify the One who has given us freedom and salvation! AYUSIN PO NATIN ANG ATING PANANAW PATUNGKOL SA PAGLILINGKOD, HINDI LAMANG ITO PURO PAGOD, UBOS NA LAKAS AT PAGOD NA PAG-IISIP, OO MAPAPAGOD KA, OO MAUUBOS ANG IYONG TALINO SA PAG-IISIP, NGUNIT NAPAKASARAP AT NAPAKAINAM ISIPIN AT PAGNILAYNILAYAN NA ANG LAKAS, TALINO, KAKAYANAN NA MERON TAYO AY HINDI BASTA LAMANG NAGAMIT KUNG SAAN, KUNDI ITO AY NAGAMIT PARA SA KAPURIHAN NG ATING PANGINOON NA SIYA RING NAGBIGAY NG TALINO, LAKAS AT KAKAYANAN SA ATIN!
“At the close of life, the question will not be how much have you got, but how much you have given. Not how much have you won, but how much have you done. Not how much you saved, but how much you sacrificed. Not how much were honored, but how much have you served.” – Nathan C. Schaeffer
Note: Isaiah did NOT say, “Where do you want me to go?” “What’s in it for me?” “What is the salary?” “What are the retirement benefits?” Isaiah signed a blank cheque on his whole life. He didn’t try to strike a bargain with God; he didn’t attempt to negotiate a compromise. God called – Isaiah answered. God commanded – Isaiah obeyed. Such an unconditional response comes only from the heart of one who has SEEN THE VISION: the one who’s MET WITH GOD…The one who had a true worship experience.
Lowell Ogden tells the story of a little boy who lived out in the country around the turn of the century. He had never seen a traveling circus, and one was coming to his town on Saturday. The lad asked his father for permission to go and his dad said that he could, providing his chores were done early. Saturday morning came. Chores finished, the little boy asked his father for some money so he could go to the circus. His dad reached down in his overalls and pulled out a dollar bill, the most money the boy had ever seen at one time. Off the little wide-eyed fellow went. As he approached the town, he saw people lining the streets. Peering through the line at one point, he got his first glimpse of the parade. There were animals in cages and marching bands. Finally, a clown was seen bringing up the rear of the parade. The little boy was so excited that when the clown passed, he reached in his pocket and handed him the precious dollar bill. Thinking he had seen the circus when he had only seen the parade, the little boy turned around and went home. The observation is made as to how sad it is that some people come to church like this little boy who went to the circus? They may come with the intent to worship God, but all they see is the parade – the parade of hymn singing, prayers, communion and preaching. They peer through their pews at all the activity and then turn to go home at 12:00 noon; thinking they have been to God’s house, but yet they missed the main event – a personal encounter with Jesus Christ (Autoillustrator.com, “WORSHIP”)