Summary: Coming face to face with God’s holiness exposes our sin, but God is ready to forgive and cleanse us. God also calls us into action!
Face to Face with God
Scripture: Isaiah 6: 1-8
Darken the sanctuary as much as possible, light candles on altar. Play Holy Holy Holy, Lord God Almighty softly during this.
1. Dramatic Reading: Holy Holy Holy (From Engaging Worship, Group Publishing, 2005)
2. In our services, we often tend to read the scripture quickly on our way to the preaching or the message. Well, today we are going to do something a little different. I am going to read the text several times, pausing between each reading to guide you in meditating on the scripture and focusing on God’s holiness.
a. Close your eyes, bow your head, and breathe in slowly through your nose. Hold your breath for a moment (Pause). Now let it out. Ask God to reveal his holy words to you. (Pause). As I read this passage, don’t think about it; just listen. Feel the rhythm and the power of God’s words. Don’t analyze them; just experience them.
Isaiah 6: 1-6
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips: yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.
b. This time, as I read the Scripture, imagine that you are in Isaiah’s place. Think about how you would respond to the sights and sounds that he describes. Let the words God spoke to Isaiah truly speak to you.
READ SCRIPTURE AGAIN
c. Now, as I read the Scripture again, listen for certain words or phrases that jump out at you. Repeat these words or phrases silently. Ask God to speak directly to your heart through these words.
READ SCRIPTURE AGAIN.
What do you think Isaiah felt like when he saw God’s glory, God’s holiness? I know what I would feel like – unworthy, unclean. I would hit the floor, bowing before Him, knowing that my sin was before me and exposed.
I think that it would be like feeling like you were naked in a public place. Exposed to the core! No where to hide. God sees everything.
You see, when we come into God’s glory, when we glimpse His holiness, when we come face to face with God like Isaiah did, we will always be more aware of the sin in our lives. And that doesn’t feel good! In fact, we resist coming into God’s presence for that very reason! Many don’t want to come to church because they know that they will have their sin exposed! But God wants us to be in His presence, God wants us to feel his embrace and love, even when He can see so clearly the sin in our lives.
In each of your bulletins, you’ve been given a piece of sandpaper. I want you to feel that now. Run your fingers over the rough surface. Right now, think of your sin as the bumps in the sandpaper. As you pass your fingers over the rough surface, take this moment to ask God to make you aware of your sins and of your need for his holiness. Take this moment, to come face to face with God – asking Him to help you see Him as he truly is and yourself as you truly are.
(Soft background music)
3. Ashamed Video
Yes, in the light of God’s holiness our sin is UNBEARABLY dark and shameful! But here is the amazing thing: Even though we’ve messed up, God has provided a way for us to make our way back to him. God sent his only Son Jesus, to die for us and cover our shame – to make us clean.
Romans 5:8 tells us that while we were yet sinners, while we were still powerless to do anything, before we were good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or powerful enough, Christ died for US! It is only through HIS sacrificial death that we are able to draw near to God.
I want you to pick up that sandpaper again, but this time, turn it over. Notice the other side and how smooth it is. Think about Jesus’ death. His death means that your sins can be forgiven and the roughness of your life can be made smooth.