Damariscotta Baptist Church
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

04/08/18 Sermon - I'm Supposed to Say What?

“I’m Supposed to Say What?”

Isaiah 6:9-13


Okay, Isaiah is in the midst of a vision, where he sees God on His throne, seraphs flying around singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” the doorposts and thresholds have been shaking, and the temple is filled with smoke. Isaiah’s immediate response was to declare how unworthy he was and to repent, for his sins and the sins of his people Israel.

Upon repentance, a seraph takes a hot burning coal from the fire, on the altar and flies over to Isaiah and places it on his lips. The seraph declares that Isaiah’s guilt had been taken away and his sin atoned for.


The next thing Isaiah hears is the voice of the LORD asking who He was going to send. Isaiah states, “Here I am. Send me!” Exclamation point!


The LORD accepts Isaiah’s offer and today’s Scripture reveals what the LORD wanted Isaiah to tell the Israelites.


Upon hearing this, can’t you just imagine Isaiah saying something like, “I’m supposed to Say What?” So much for the view of God who loves everybody and is always giving, and forgiving. Well, actually, God is always giving and loving, and as difficult as these verses may sound, God in His infinite mercy is also just.


The LORD tells Isaiah to tell the Israelites

  • to listen, but not to understand,

  • to see, but not to perceive.

Basically God knows the hearts of the Israelites are calloused, they’ve stopped listening and looking at the ways of God, because then He states, “Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turned to be healed.”  


This goes to show what the Word of God can accomplish when

  • our hearts are not hardened,

  • our eyes are opened and

  • we are willing to listen.


Isaiah hears what he is supposed to say, and comes up with the question, “For how long, must I prophecy this message. It’s like Isaiah doesn’t want to say, “You’ve got to be kidding! This isn’t a message from the LORD, so he asks God how long he is supposed to preach the message. Maybe Isaiah is hoping he will only have to preach the message once and be done with it.


The answer the LORD gives must have been devastating.

The LORD told him he had to preach this message until destruction comes and




  • wipes the cities out,

  • the houses are deserted,

  • the fields are ruined and ravaged,

  • until the LORD has sent everyone far away,

  • and the land is utterly forsaken.

Good grief! Not exactly the answer Isaiah had been hoping for, I’m sure.


However, Isaiah didn’t need to be completely dismayed. His mission would be difficult, but God was not leaving him without hope.  For as we continue to read, there would be a remnant, a tenth will remain in the land. Of course, this tenth will again be laid waste, but there would still be stumps, and those stumps would be the holy seed left in the land. You see, God had made a promise to Abraham that his seed would inhabit the earth, and God always keeps His promises.


It must have been the vision of the LORD that kept Isaiah going. Having met the LORD in such a powerful way must have given Isaiah the tenacity to

  • first, say “Send me” and

  • second, to accept the mission of preaching a message that was going to eventually end up with a mere 10% of a remnant that would respond in the affirmative and even amongst that 10% there would remain stumps.


And yet, we read in the New Testament, a similar statement which Jesus told His disciples in Matthew chapter 7,

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

 

Today the message of salvation is a message quite similar to the message Isaiah was given. How many of us fail to share the gospel because before we even begin we assume that the people around us have ears, but aren’t listening, they can see, but they are not perceiving.

The culture around us has made their hearts calloused their ears dull and they turn their eyes and avoid anything that has to to with Jesus Christ.

 

We are in good company, the portion of Isaiah that is most often quoted by the disciples, in the New Testament, are these verses, Isaiah 6:9-10, having to do with the deafening, blinding, hardening effect of Isaiah’s preaching. We read about the apostles preaching the good news only to experience their own people turning away from them and refusing to listen. Sound familiar?

 

So why didn’t Isaiah and the apostles give up hope? Why did they continue to preach on, many times to the death?

 

I think there are a couple of reasons.

 

First, I think it was because they had experienced God in a personal way.  The vision of the hot coal upon his lips, or the experience of walking with Jesus before and after His resurrection, gave them an understanding of God’s truth and message of redemption.

 

I’ll be the first to say, that I haven’t had a vision or seen Jesus face to face, but I have met God in times of troubles, I have experienced His presence both when times were joyful and when times were difficult. And it is those experiences of God that have cemented my countenance and given me hope.

 

Secondly, there needs to be an understanding of the extent of God’s grace. This understanding comes when we are willing to admit just how sinful we are and how we need a Savior.

When we see God for who He is and ourselves for who we are, we will be just like Isaiah, and exclaim, “Woe is me!” It won’t even occur to us to expect that we should be able to live. It’s at that point, when we recognize just how much grace God gives, that we are not ashamed or afraid to tell others. The message of the gospel, where God’s death becomes our life, becomes so profound, we can’t help but share it.

 

If you have experienced God’s presence in your life, and you recognize your sin and just how much you need God’s grace, what is stopping you from sharing the gospel?

 

 

What is God calling you to do, that you

  1. Haven’t heard or

  2. You’ve heard, but you are afraid to step out and do it?

 

Again, not much in our world has changed since Isaiah wrote this book. The cultures may be different but society acts much the same. People are too busy doing their own thing to listen, to see or to feel what God is trying to say. Enough people know just enough about God to make them realize that God might just ask them to do something differently and in all honesty, they don’t want to. They want to keep doing what they like doing and don’t want God messing with things, unless of course, they need a little help, so a prayer here and there, now and again, won’t hurt.

Woe is me, how sad.

So what is our Christian calling? What are we to do? I leave you today with the charge that Paul gave his student Timothy.

2 Timothy 4 The Message (MSG)

4 1-2 I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.

3-5 You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.

May we be the stumps that remain.

Let’s pray.