Also view us on FACEBOOK:

View us on FACEBOOK:

Sunday, 15 September 2013


Rev. Brent Russett
By Rev. Brent Russett
Pastor of Sunnyside Wesleyan Church in Ottawa:   

PODCAST LINK to CFRA broadcast - Sunday, September 15th, 2013:

Encountering a Holy God’

Good morning. And welcome to good news in the morning. My name is Brent Russett. I am the Senior Pastor at Sunnyside Wesleyan Church. It is my pleasure to look at some of life’s challenges, and then bring you some good news in the morning.

During the month of September, these programs are being brought to you by Good News Christian Ministries AND the generous support of THE UPPER ROOM HOMEFURNISHINGS , 2670 QUEENSVIEW DRIVE, here in Ottawa. Thank you Upper Room.You can find a link to their website at ours

You will find lots of good things there including the ability to relisten to this program.

This morning I want to talk to you about Encountering a Holy God. But Before we get into our program lets listen to

Music – Tom McCain – Holiness – Album – Closer to Home (downloaded) 3:06

            It wasn’t the first time that Isaiah heard from God. Chapters 1 – 5 in the book of Isaiah are filled with the word of God, delivered to Isaiah for the people. But today, today was different.

            I can imagine Isaiah up on top of the flat roof on his house. That is where many prophets in Israel seemed to go to pray. Isaiah trudges up the stairs to spend time with God – that is what prophets do. Today was a day like any other day, until it wasn’t. God didn’t make an appointment, sent a parchment, or dispatch a carrier pigeon. But on this day God showed up like he never had before,

            All of a sudden Isaiah says, 1b 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."

            Isaiah Encountered a Holy God – and that glimpse of the throne room of God changed him, it transformed him, it wrecked him for the ordinary.

            Over my years as a Christian, I have never been transported into the heavenly realm. There is a long history of that happening to some people. It happened to Isaiah. It happened to Paul. It happened to the apostle John. In fact John saw something very much like Isaiah did,

Revelation 4:8  Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." 
            But that has never happened to me. But there have been times when I have been in the presence of God. I remember one time in the early 90’s I was over at Lansdowne Park, and some speaker was speaking. In the worship and in the sermon, it was as if the presence of God was palpable. It was as if the Spirit of God was washing over that place in waves.

            God spoke into the core of who I was and it changed how I thought about me. God spoke some things into my heart, and in those moments regrets of the past were released. A call for the future was solidified. I encountered God.

            There are a lot of you who know what I mean. There have been times when you have been at church, or at other conferences, or camps - or maybe all by yourself– but you encountered a Holy God, and it changed you in some way.

            There are some of you who have no clue what I am talking about. You say, I wonder if that will ever happen to me. It will, if you continue to seek him. Not an experience with him, but seek to know God himself – God will show up when the time is right. His promise is that those who seek me find me if they seek me with their whole heart.

            When I have encountered God in the past, it amazes me the clarity that comes into my life. The temptations that I am prone to, no longer have any draw. The decisions that I need to make all of a sudden seem makeable – at least for a while. There is something about experience that doesn’t last. In fact, a week later you can be asking yourself, did that really happen? That is just a reminder that we aren’t in heaven yet. 

            But here is what I have found – when we encounter God it has a way of teaching us about the nature of God. When we know the nature of God, or to put it another way, when we get a sense of who God is, it gives us a sense of who we are to be – it causes us to know the one in whose image we are created. It causes us to know whom we are called to reflect. When that happens, good things happen.

            Or to put it another way, when you know the God who is holy, it will move you towards the life you were meant to live.

            Let me say that again. When you know the God who is holy, it will move you towards the life you were meant to live.

            Of all the attributes of God – God’s love, his justice, his goodness, his mercy, his faithfulness, his power, his wisdom and knowledge – of all the attributes of God – God’s holiness is mentioned more than anything else.

            I think however, that one of the major coos that Satan and his legion have accomplished over the years is that they have been able to paint the Holiness of God as something austere, and fearsome, and remote. The God who is Holy is not someone you really want to cozy up too.

            I have also noticed over the years that the topic of holiness in general is difficult for people. As a speaker I know that topics like worry, and busyness, and forgiveness, and love are going to resonate with people. But I have also noticed that it is pretty difficult to connect with people – when the topic is holiness.

            Peoples walls come up, their confusion becomes more evident, their “that’s nice for you pastor” smiles come out.

 And I get it on some level – We have reasoned that the way to not come across as holier than thou, is not to be holy. Score one for Satan and his team.

We sense that holiness is for super Christians but not for the ordinary follower of Christ – score another one for Satan and his team.
 We think that holiness will make us a one dimensional person – It is a hat trick for Satan and his team.

Combine those attitudes with confusing preaching on holiness and it is no wonder that that walls come up and confusion over shadows the whole topic of holiness.

So I want you to come to with me, with an open mind, to what Isaiah was seeing and hearing. He was seeing God in holiness; he was seeing God lifted up –

            If you could imagine a sea of unending goodness, where the justice and mercy of God live in perfect harmony, where the wrath of God lives in perfection with the Love of God – all reconciled in Jesus Christ.. If you could imagine this ocean of faithfulness, and compassion, and kindness and power – And if you could swim in this ocean you would move into a sense of well being so strong, and so true to who you were made to be, that it would blow you away.

            This ocean, is the ocean of his holiness. It is where all of who God is, is combined in perfection. And it is what makes heaven, heaven. If you could imagine your best day and then multiply the goodness of that day by a hundred, then you can just start to imagine an ordinary day in heaven – brought to you by the holiness of God.

            Words fail me, but holiness is about being fully alive, because there is no sin to bring death. God is overflowing with life, and His life brings life to everything else – and this life flows out of his holiness.

            When your soul is as it should be, when you heart is prospering. When you are experiencing real grace – that comes out of the holiness of God.

Music – Dallas Holm – I saw the Lord – Album the Early years 4:37 (Downloaded – Could be edited)

            So Isaiah is transported into the heavenly realm and he see the Lord, and he hears what the angels encircling the throne saying “Holy, Holy, Holy”

            And look at his response: Isaiah 6:5 "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."  

            If the holiness of God is so good, why does Isaiah feel so bad? Remember as far as we can tell, Isaiah was a pretty good guy. He had heard the Lord on a number of occasions. He had been walking with God for the better part of his life and now what he is saying when he comes into contact with God is – He’s ruined.

            If you were an Ok cellist but were asked to play for or with Yo Yo Ma you would feel somewhat insecure. Think about a time when you felt out of your league. Maybe you were meeting some stars or some dignitaries. Maybe you were asked to speak in a place where you were out of your depth. Of maybe you went to a gathering where everyone was dressed in gowns and tuxedos and you showed up in a T shirt.

            Multiply that by a thousand and you will have a sense of what Isaiah felt. He who was good knew that his goodness and his righteousness were as filthy rags. In fact he felt in comparison to God that he was the vilest of sinners.

As a prophet he would have been considered wise, but now he had just encountered the God of wisdom, and he knew he had nothing to offer. In fact on his best day, with his best thought, it was like nothingness.

            If you were to stand in the presence of God – you would feel the exact same way. If you were to know God in all his fullness it would ruin you. Repentance comes easy in the presence of God – it is the natural response. Confession of sin comes easy in the presence of God. It is the natural response. Even if you are living a good life, and people think you are pretty good, in the presence of God what looks good to people, you can see for what it really is and the only response is repentance.

            But look at God’s response, (Isaiah 6: 6-7):
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."
            Doesn’t that remind you of 1 John 2 ?:
1  My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
 2  He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 

            When Jesus applied the work of the cross to our lives it was as if he touched our hearts with the coal. Our sins were atoned for.

            That is why the writer of Hebrews says,
Hebrews 4:16  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 

            It is not because we are somehow better than Isaiah. It is because Jesus died for us, and our hearts have been touched by a coal as it were. Or to use the New Testament metaphor, our hearts were sprinkled by his blood. Our sins are atoned for.

            In all of this, look at God’s heart. He wants you to swim in the ocean of his holiness. He didn’t bring Isaiah into his presence to make him feel bad. He brought him into his presence to make him better.

He touched his lips with a live coal and made it so that Isaiah could be in the throne room, like the angels –he didn’t come as an equal. But he could stand to be in the presence of God. Isaiah was transformed.

            Why does this matter. Remember what we said at the start when you know the God who is holy, it will move you towards the life you were meant to live.

            Isaiah was made into the man he was meant to be.

            Isa 6:8  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!" 

            It is not an accident that Isaiah was transformed in the presence of a Holy God, and then right on the heels of that he was commissioned. Or maybe re- commissioned might be the right word.

            Remember that Isaiah was already a prophet. He had already heard the word of the Lord and proclaimed the word of the Lord and wrote the word of the Lord down in the first 5 chapters of his book. But now – now God is asking who can I send and Isaiah sticks up his hand and says I’ll go.

            Because when Isaiah encountered a Holy God it made him into truly what he was made to be, and when he heard the job description – he said that’s me. That is what I was created to do.

            Some of you were created to be leaders, some of you were created to be artists, some of you were created to be teachers, some of you were created with gifts of making money and giving money, some of you were created to be nurturers or healers, or culture makers, or managers and stewards. Some of you were made to labourers and builders or mechanics and fixers. Whatever you were created to be – When you encounter the God who is Holy it will move you towards the life you were meant to live.

            If you want to be fully alive, fully you, you need to encounter the God who is holy. Holiness matters.

            On some level we encounter the God who is holy, whenever we go to him in prayer. We encounter the God who is holy whenever we open up his word. We encounter the God who is holy whenever we open up our eyes to see that the whole earth is filled with the Glory of the Lord.

            But in some ways those things are ordinary. But remember with Isaiah, it was an ordinary day until it wasn’t. Here is what I have found, I cannot conjure up an encounter with a Holy God, but I can put myself in places where it is more likely to happen.

            It is more likely to happen amongst the people of God worshiping, than not. It is more likely to happen when I am making space for God in my life and engaging in the spiritual disciplines than when I am not making space for God. It is more likely to happen when my life is faced towards God than when I am edging away from God in my life.

            When you encounter the God who is Holy it will move you towards the life you were meant to live

            My question to you is, will you put yourself in a place where you are more likely to encounter the God who is Holy.

Let’s Pray:

I pray, Lord, that you would grant people to put themselves in a place to encounter you.
Lord, for some who have never received you into their hearts, I pray that, even now, they would open up their heart and say, “Jesus, come into my life. I need to encounter God, because, unless I do, I won’t become who I am created to be.”
Lord, there are others who have made that decision to invite you into their life, but who they are has been covered up by so many different things; Lord, I’m asking that you would help them go to a place that they would encounter you.
Lord, lead them, whether it be to a church, or to an open field; whether it be to a quiet time, or to a worship concert, but Lord, lead to them to a place where they will encounter you.
And Lord, I ask, as your Spirit blows over them, that you would make them into what they are truly meant to be.
I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Thank you, Listeners for your words of encouragement, and for keeping us in your prayers.,   Keeping this program on the air continues to be a work of faith. As you probably know, the summer month are financial struggle. If you can help with that, please make out a cheque payable to Good News Christian Ministries, Box 184 , Rideau Ferry , On. K0G  1W0. Or you can give online by going to

            If you go to that website, you can also follow us on twitter, or our blog.

Alan Churchill, the founding pastor of this ministry is writing a monthly devotional. Alan is well known for his spiritual insight and ability to communicate the truth of God. If you would like to receive this devotional, go to our website at and sign up to start receiving it right to you e-mail inbox. We know that God will bless you through this ministry.
            (It has been a pleasure to spend this morning with you. My name is Brent Russett. You can follow me on twitter. @brentrussett)

Once again , we would like to express our thanks to THE  UPPER  ROOM HOME FURNISHINGS , 2670 QUEENSVIEW DRIVE. OTTAWA for sponsoring today's program.

May you know   Jesus Christ personally and profoundly.  May the Holy Spirit reside deep within your heart .  And may the heavenly Father surround you with His constant and abiding and accompanying love

Music –  Randy Travis – Turn Radio On – Album – Worship and faith (2:36) – Downloaded

- Rev. Brent Russett
To listen to the above broadcast, click on the following link:

1 comment:

  1. Originally Posted on Twitter:
    Terry Squires ‏(@terrysquires on Twitter)
    God didn't create any of us to be average. He didn't make us to barely get by. We were created to excel.