Summary: This sermon deals with the need for Christians to be different than the world around them by seeking tobe empowered by God.
November 8, 2004
I. John Speke was an English explorer. He stood one day staring at a wall of water that he spent the biggest part of 1858 trying to reach, and he described it as only and Englishman could, " We were well rewarded" was what he said.
A. He was describing the falls of the upper Nile River. For weeks he and his exploration party had hacked through brush, waded rivers, run from natives, and watched Crocodiles watch them with that lunch look in their eyes.
B. Only an Englishman could so understate what He was looking at with the words he wrote in his journal, "we were well rewarded.....it made as interesting a picture as one would want to see."
C. But Speke couldn’t leave the falls. He spent a whole day just staring at it. He sketched the falls over and over again. He was stunned by what he saw.
D. About 2600 years before Speke stood stunned at the falls of the upper Nile Isaiah laid on the floor of the temple with his face to the floor, and his arms crossed over his head, begging for mercy.
E. Like John Speke he had just seen the unseen. But unlike Speke had he had not seen the creation, He had seen the creator. Isaiah had seen God.
F. Isaiah was the Billy Graham of his time in that he was something like a Senate Chaplain, a minister to the political leaders. He was a court Priest.
G. His family was a part of the upper crust of society. He was a sophisticated professional. He was successful, but the day he saw God the only thing he could say was "Woe is me for I am ruined."
H. What would make a man like Isaiah say what he said? It was the words repeated three times by the seraphim, the angels appear only once in scripture. The words that they repeated three times were, Holy, Holy, Holy!
(Isa 6:2-5 NIV) Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
I. Only once in scripture do we see the Seraphim, and only one thing do we hear them say, Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord Almighty. In the Hebrew language when a word is repeated it is kinda like you using a highlighter to mark something.
J. Repeating a word in Hebrew is to emphasize something. The angels were not saying God is Holy, they were not saying He was Holy, Holy. They were saying God is Holy, Holy, Holy.
K. There is no other characteristic of God that gets the emphasis that His holiness does. We are never told in scripture that God is wise, wise, wise, and we are never told that strong, strong, strong, we are never told that God is powerful, powerful, powerful.
L. Only his holiness is repeated again and again and again, because His holiness needs to be recognized as more important.
M. God’s Holiness emphasizes who God is more than any other thing about God. God is worthy of our praise because he is holy.
N. The first and last songs of the bible are about the holiness of God. When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea they sang not so much about His power as his Holiness.
(Exo 15:11 NIV) "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you-- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?
O. When the ones who had been triumphant over the beast in Revelation sang about God they sang about His Holiness.
(Rev 15:4 NIV) Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed."
P. The Hebrew word for Holy means to be separated or cut off. God’s Holiness reminds us that God is in all ways different than us or anything of this Earth.
II. Max Lucado makes an observation that helps bring this to light. "He says’ what you are to a paper airplane, God is to you."