Summary: Isaiah’s expereience of worship boiled down to 3 things: seeing, sanctifying and serving. No matter what else worship is, it should include these.
Isaiah 6:1-8 – Come Now is the Time to Worship
I came across some definitions of things we use in the church. MAGI: The most famous trio to attend a baby shower. MANGER: 1. Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph didn’t have private health cover. 2. The Biblical proof that holiday travel has always been rough. BULLETIN: Church information, read only during the sermon. PEW: A medieval torture device still found in most churches. HYMN: A song of praise, usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of the congregation’s range. CHOIR: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the congregation to lip-sync. AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.
We all have our ideas of what church is supposed to be. In fact, even people who don’t go to church think they know what a church is supposed to be. “Well, church people aren’t supposed to…” Each of us has notions of what a church is supposed to look like, act like, sound like. Especially when it comes to worship. If you had to put a definition of “worship” into the dictionary, what would you write? No doubt you would include singing and use of the Bible. What else? Some of you would say that worship is the use of hymns, because all the new stuff is too fluffy and hard to sing. Some of you would say that worship involves emotions, and the new stuff is exciting so it’s better. Plus, the older stuff is too deep and hard to sing.
But you know, very little is said in the scriptures describing what worship sounds like. Psalm 150 says we should praise the Lord with lots of musical instruments, and chances are good it will be loud. But as far as modern day issues go, issues like hymns or choruses, fast or slow, guitar or organ, hymnal or overhead or video projector, gospel or contemporary, the Bible doesn’t specify. Most of what we like in a worship service is not based on biblical values but personal preferences. That’s not bad or good – it’s just the way it is. Just, let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that our way is the better way, the biblical way, when in fact it’s simply “my” way.
Even though the methods of worship may not be spelled out exactly in the Bible, the underlying values and reasons of worship are clear. We worship God because He is worth it. In fact, the word “worship” means “deserving of worth” or “high in value”. We worship what is important to us. Some worship idols of houses or land, some worship freedom, some worship money, some worship pleasure. Some worship rules, some worship the Bible. Some worship worship – that is, they love singing and church and praise to the point of idolatry, where they have forgotten the One behind it all.
Jesus said in John 4 to the woman at the well that true worshippers are those who worship in spirit and in truth. That is, they worship the true and living God, and their hearts are in it. There is no fakeness or false motives. Sins are not concealed, but revealed. They don’t put their brains in neutral and coast along on their emotions. Neither do they put their hearts in neutral, and worship is simply a mental exercise. True worship involves the mind and the heart. Jesus said so. And God is looking for people who worship Him that way. You see, worship is not just our search for God; He is searching for us. We are the seekers, but so is He. He is looking for us looking for Him. We wants to find us; we need to find Him. He wants to enjoy fellowship and spending time with us; we, on the other hand, need that time with Him. Worship is about lifting up God because He’s worth it. It’s also about God meeting our needs as well.
The OT prophet Isaiah had an experience of worship in ch.6 of his book. We are going to spend some time looking at what worship is, according to Isaiah 6. It will boil down to 3 basic principles. Perhaps there are more, but this passage gives us 3. Let’s read this amazing passage first. Isaiah 6:1-8.
First, worship involves seeing. This sounds simple, but hear me out. Isaiah had a vision. He saw the Lord. He got a glimpse of who the Lord is, and it changed his entire life. For the first time perhaps in his life, Isaiah saw how big God was. The Lord was high and lifted up, exalted as King of all creation. The train of His robe, the symbol of His kingship, filled the temple – that is, His reign extends over everything. And around this King were angels, praising Him. And they pointed out 2 of God’s qualities that define who He is. These 2 qualities describe only Him in their fullness – that is, though humans may get a dosage of them, we still will never be as complete as God.