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July 6, 2014 - Isaiah 6.1-8

“Whom Shall I Send?”

Isaiah 6:1-8

July 6, 2014

 

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. 2Seraphs 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. 3And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 4The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke.

 

5And 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!” 6Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” 8Then 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!”

 

What is worship?  The state of Christian Worship in America is actually sad.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s good that people gather in a church on Sunday and attempt to worship God.  The problem is that so many of us Christians gather to attend a worship service and then we fall short of worship and we settle for something else. 

 

The scene from the book of Isaiah points us to a profound moment of worship.  The voices raised in worship of God shook the pivots of the threshold.  Of course, we don’t see that in our churches on Sundays.  This isn’t heaven.  But I think we can do better than we are doing. 

SO what makes worship WORSHIP?

 

  1. Worship is initiated by God.  (Gottesdienst) the service that we do in worship in response to what God has done in Christ. 

  2. Worship is for God.  First and foremost!  Søren Kierkegaard – parable of the opera.  People think of the worshipers as audience, the ministers are the players, and God is the prompter.  NO!  Søren Kierkegaard says that the congregation is the players, on the stage, the ministers are the prompters, and God is the audience.  Paul would not understand the following statement: “We used to go to church there but we didn’t get anything out of it.”  BAH!  20th century American saying.  Get something out?  It isn’t for you.  What we do in here on Sunday mornings isn’t for your benefit.

  3. Worship is led by the Holy Spirit who brings order out of chaos, but whom no one can contain.  This is the whole structure vs. spontaneity debate. 1 Cor. 14:40

  4. Worship is a bible generated encounter with God.  Since in the scriptures, is revealed what God has done in Christ. 

  5. Worship (ascribing worth to God) is always liturgical (the work of the people).You can’t come to worship and be an observer.  If you aren’t doing it, then you don’t get it, like being in a room full of people that speak a different language.

  6. Worship results in our commissioning.  Worship service. No other meeting is called a service.  This is my service God, and it will not end here.  The church does not exist in a set of walls. 

  7. Worship engenders conversation between God and people.  It is only authentic worship when the conversation takes place.  As if speaking to my wife, “oh yeah, (yawn) I love you, too,” or “I love you, too.”

     

    Real worship is about God and not us.  But it has a direct effect on us, and if we worship God well, we should leave different than we came.

     

    God asks a question here.  Did you notice?  “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”  Why does God ask the question? Usually when you ask a question, you need to know an answer.  Surely God knows everything.  Why does God need to send someone?

     

    Surely God can show up when God wants to.  Look at the Old Testament.  God show up all the time it seems.  So why is God all worried about who is going to go and whom God can send?

     

    Whenever a question is asked – an important question - there is usually a question or issue beneath the question.  Here it is no different.  God can certainly accomplish anything.  God could certainly cause all of us to know God and love God.  But what God is offering here is a chance for Isaiah to respond.

     

    If one word were to be employed here to express the mood of this text, it is the word AWE.  A HOLY God has taken the initiative to address a weak and sinful mortal, and the prophet is almost paralyzed with a sense of God’s power and his own inadequacy.  Isaiah’s sense of mission – and therefore, ours – flows directly out of an understanding of who God is.

     

    If we know who God is, and we know what God has done for us, and like Isaiah, if we know who we are in relation to God, how can we not respond?  There is a reason we call what we do here a worship “service.”  It is our service to God, and it ends in our commissioning to go out into the world and tell.

     

    We read where Jesus has commissioned us all, in Matthew 10 where the 12 disciples were commanded to go FIRST to the Jews.  Why?  Because they were Jewish.  They lived among the Jews.  Missions begin at home.  You and I are called to go and do missions – starting right where we are.

     

    You don’t have to be a full time missionary to go on missions.  CBF and NAMB rely on volunteer missionaries to do the majority of their work.  People like you do the large majority of missions work in North America.  In the CBF, entire missions programs like Student.GO, AsYouGo, Global Service Corps and the Rural Poverty Initiative rely almost entirely upon volunteer missionaries.  The NAMB has over 5000 missionaries, but what most people do not know is that 2422 of those missionaries are people like you.

     

    If you want to do missions, you don’t have to go to Calcutta, like Mother Teresa, to work with the poor.  We send a team to Cannonball on the third Sunday each month.  If God asks, “Whom shall I send?” how will you answer God?  You don’t have to be a professional minister to work with kids.  You don’t have to go to Costa Rica or the Congo.  You can work with our VBS this month.    

     

    The good news is that you have a chance to help.  You can go, or at the least you can give for those who can go.  Our church goal is $1500.  I believe that you can blow the doors off of that goal.  By giving to either the CBF Missions offering or the Annie Armstrong Offering, you can see that God’s message is brought to those who need it.

     

    God’s call to Isaiah begins at and is centered on the throne of God.  Isaiah is in wonder at this God who is Holy.  Jesus has called us to follow him and make disciples.  Jesus’ call to us comes after his great sacrifice on the cross.  God the Father and God the Son have called to us in our worship today.  How will we respond? 

     

    God asks a question.  “Who will go for us?  Whom shall I send?”  Isaiah is dead, folks.  But the question is still relevant.  Who will go for God?  Who will answer God’s call?  We are in the presence of God this morning. 

     

    Before Isaiah could respond to God’s call, he had something to take care of first.  Being in God’s presence showed Isaiah just how unclean he was.  His first cry in this passage is that he is a man “of unclean lips, of a people of unclean lips.”  God had Isaiah purified by using the coal from the fire.  For us, the fire is the fire of the Holy Spirit, and the purifying vehicle is the worship of God. 

     

      We are in the presence of a Holy God.  God’s desire is for us to serve God and be made right with God.  God is asking us all “Whom shall I send?”  The real question is, are we willing to go?