Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The examination of the call of Isaiah gives an excellent illustration of the essential marks that must be present in every believer’s heart if we are to have God’s heart to reach this world.

The Marks of a Missionary

Jesus: Hope of the Nations

Isaiah 6:1-9 - ©Dr. Larry L. Thompson (2003)

“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. [2] 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. [3] And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." [4] At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. [5] "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." [6] Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. [7] With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." [8] 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!" [9] He said, "Go and tell this people:" ’Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.”


Today we close our month long series, “Jesus: Hope of the Nations” and our Month of Missions emphasis with an exciting look at how God puts a missions heart into His people. Please turn to Isaiah 6:1-9.

Isaiah, whose name means “Jehovah saves,” stands out as one of the greatest of the prophets. Indeed, none can so worthily be called the “Mission Prophet” as he. Through days of crisis and disaster, unprecedented in the history of his people, he constantly is calling people to faith in the only God who could deliver them. According to Jewish tradition, Isaiah was of royal blood, or at least of noble descent. According to the Talmud, his father, Amoz, was a brother of King Amaziah, which would make Isaiah and King Uzziah cousins. His training also must have been of a high standard, for as we read his prophecy we are impressed with the majesty and originality of his thought, as well as the superlative quality of his language.

In the chapter before us we have the sensational story of the call of a missionary and an insight into the man himself. We shall look at three aspects of what God looks for to make a heart for missions!


“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple”

News of King Uzziah’s death had reached the young man of God, and in an agony of grief and sorrow he entered the courts of the temple in order that he might seek comfort from the Lord. Often the Lord will use a crisis in our lives to focus our attention on Him and to draw us to Him.

As he waited in the divine presence, he had a vision. This was the method God often used to speak to His servants in Old Testament times. Today we have the inspired Word of God and the indwelling Spirit of God to instruct us concerning God’s purposes; provided we spend time in waiting upon the Lord. The heavenly vision had to do with the glory of God, and teaches us a lesson: namely, that THE LORD CALLS US TO SEE HIM BEFORE HE CALLS US TO SERVE HIM.

1) They See Him Personally “. . .I saw the Lord. . .” (Isaiah 6:1). When Jesus told His disciples of Isaiah’s vision He said that the prophet “. . .saw His glory and spoke of Him” (John 12:41). This glory was, undoubtedly, the outshining of God’s own holiness. As Isaiah recounts this vision he tells of angelic beings known as seraphims. All of them were singing to one another, saying, “. . .Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:2-3). What a lesson this must have been to the young prophet! Well does Scripture say: “Pursue. . . holiness without which no one will see the Lord”; and I could add, “without [holiness]. . . no one will [serve] the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

2) They See Him Positionally “. . . I saw the Lord sitting on a throne. . .” (Isaiah 6:1). Note that Isaiah saw the heavenly throne in the year that King Uzziah died. Herein is a divine principle. It is only when man is dethroned and God is enthroned that we are brought into the realization of the sovereign power of the Lord of glory. It is while God was enthroned in Uzziah’s life that he reigned righteously and prosperously; but when he became self-sufficient and arrogant God had to judge him so that he died a leper (2 Chron. 26:23).

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