Listen to our broadcasts: "GOOD NEWS IN THE MORNING", LIVE (6:30 AM, ET) on Sunday Mornings on AM Radio- 580 -CFRA, or LIVE On-line (http://www.cfra.com), or ANYTIME by Podcast on CFRA's Website (to listen to current or past broadcasts), also available 24/7 on this Blog.
Visit our Good News Christian Ministries Website at http://www.gncm.ca
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.
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
2Above 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.
3And 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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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):
6Then one of the
seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs
from the altar.
7With it he touched my mouth and said,
"See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin
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.
2He 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
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
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
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
Isa 6:8Then 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!"
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.
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.
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.
Lord, that you would grant people to put themselves in a place to encounter
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.”
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.
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. K0G1W0. Or you
can give online by going to goodnewsinthemorning.ca
you go to that website, goodnewsinthemorning.ca you can also follow us on
twitter, or our blog.
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
Goodnewsinthemorning.ca 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.
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 knowJesus 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