94 + 6

By on February 17, 2019

Scripture reading from Isaiah 6:1-13

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One Comment to “94 + 6”

  1. Donald McMahon
    February 17, 2019

    “94 + 6” (Isaiah 6)(2.17.19)
    Isaiah 6:1–13 (NIV84)
    6 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.’
    10 Make the heart of this people calloused;
    make their ears dull
    and close their eyes.
    Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.”
    11 Then I said, “For how long, O Lord?”
    And he answered:
    “Until the cities lie ruined
    and without inhabitant,
    until the houses are left deserted
    and the fields ruined and ravaged,
    12 until the Lord has sent everyone far away
    and the land is utterly forsaken.
    13 And though a tenth remains in the land,
    it will again be laid waste.
    But as the terebinth and oak
    leave stumps when they are cut down,
    so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”
    The word of God for the people of God.

    Title: “94 + 6”
    Being the charter organization of Troop 77 IS one of the most important things we do here at Emmaus Church. Certainly, it is a wise thing to invest in our youth. Teaching them life skills is important. Developing their gifts and talents is important. Learning leadership and team building is important. Most significantly, when a Scout experiences the fullness of being reverent to God, he will be able to discern the Almighty’s call on his life. God’s call is what today’s recipients of the God and Life award explored these last several months.
    What is at stake? In 2015, Barna Research revealed an eye-opening finding. 94% of ALL Christians in the United States made a commitment to follow Jesus by age 18. Only 6% made a commitment to follow Jesus at age 19 and older. Research by the Nazarene Church found that 85% of Christians made a commitment to follow Jesus by age 14. Obviously, the greatest opportunity to make an eternal impact on individual lives and the kingdom of God is by reaching our youth.
    Troop 77, I declare to you that the most impactful decision in your life is to become a disciple of Jesus Christ. When you make that the decision, you will realize that a disciple makes disciples. God our Father has a specific purpose for your life. You will find fulfillment when you find that purpose.
    What does this 2500 year old text of Isaiah have to do with us today? It is one of many examples of the Lord calling a person into kingdom service. And, there are numerous similarities between ancient Israel and our modern culture.
    Here are just a few examples as laid out in the first five chapters of Isaiah.
    Isaiah 1:4 (NIV84)
    4 Ah, sinful nation,
    a people loaded with guilt,
    a brood of evildoers,
    children given to corruption!
    They have forsaken the Lord;
    they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
    and turned their backs on him.
    Isaiah 1:16–17 (NIV84)
    16 wash and make yourselves clean.
    Take your evil deeds
    out of my sight!
    Stop doing wrong,
    17 learn to do right!
    Seek justice,
    encourage the oppressed.
    Defend the cause of the fatherless,
    plead the case of the widow.
    Isaiah 2:8 (NIV84)
    8 Their land is full of idols;
    they bow down to the work of their hands,
    to what their fingers have made.
    Isaiah 3:9 (NIV84)
    9 The look on their faces testifies against them;
    they parade their sin like Sodom;
    they do not hide it.
    Woe to them!
    In contrast to sinfulness of humankind, we are given a glimpse into the unfathomable holiness of God. This holiness compels a sense of reverence. The seraphs, which means fiery creatures, are singing this great praise,
    “Holy, holy, holy
    is the Lord God Almighty,
    who was, and is, and is to come.”
    There is no other attribute, no other characteristic of God that is emphasized by a three time repetition. Holiness is the premier and defining essence of the LORD Jehovah. He is absolutely pure and perfect in every conceivable way.
    How are we to understand this unusual repetition? One way is a layering of holiness. First, we have a human and limited understanding of holiness. Second, we have a holiness as perceived by heavenly creatures. Third, we have a holiness like the high heavens are above the heavens; a superlative holiness beyond comprehension.
    Another way to look at holy, holy, holy is algebraically. Holy times holy times holy; or, holiness cubed.
    There is a longstanding belief that this thrice holy is a reference to our Trinitarian God; one God, one essence, in three persons. Holy God the Father. Holy God the Son. And, Holy Spirit.
    Even these ethereal, these heavenly, sixed winged seraphs can only be in the throne room of God in an attitude of complete humility and worship. They must cover their faces and their feet because they feel so unworthy to be in the presence of the Lord Almighty. Their chorus of holy, holy, holy, causes the entranceways to the temple to shake; a heavenquake.
    Are you getting a sense of the glory and majesty of God? He is seated on high. He rules over all creation. The train of his robe is massive. He is to be exalted. There is no containing or restricting the Lord’s glory. Certainly, he is to be revered.
    How does Isaiah respond to this overwhelming vision? He recognizes his unworthiness. He cries out, “Woe is me! I am ruined.” To get a fuller understanding, other translations say, I am undone; I am lost. This is Isaiah seeing himself as he really is compared to what the King, the LORD, desires for the chosen people. Truth has been revealed to Isaiah about himself and his nation.
    Isaiah is confessing his total insufficiency and inadequacy. This is the beginning of repentance. This is the beginning of a new life. Because of his complete sincerity, the seraph touches Isaiah’s mouth with a burning coal from the altar of God. He is purified of his sins and he receives forgiveness. Notice that the seraph wants Isaiah to be cognizant of his forgiveness: “See, this has touched your lips.” Likewise, Christians must take hold of their forgiveness as a fact AND respond with hearts of gratitude.
    During the recitation of The Scout Law, we heard, “A Scout is Clean.” The scriptural basis for this pledge was given as Psalm 24:3-5: “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of his salvation. While it is an often used cliché, “cleanliness is next to godliness” is not a direct Bible quote; but, those verses definitely convey that message. Surely, you can see the connection to this Isaiah 6 passage.
    Do not miss the significance of purifying our speech. Throughout the Bible, God warns us to guard our tongues. There is power in words and there is godly power in the inspired word of God.
    A Scout is courteous. : “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
    After confession and forgiveness, Isaiah is properly prepared to hear the voice of the Lord, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” There is a lot of depth to these two short questions. It is the King, the Lord Almighty that is doing the sending. The Sender will guide. The Sender will provide. The Sender will never leave you or forsake you.
    “Who will go for us?” Is the US, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Or, is it the whole heavenly court? Only Isaiah is there; yet, he is given a choice. It is not for himself that Isaiah is being asked to be sent. It is for kingdom purposes. He is going for the US; to be an instrument for the US.
    Isaiah’s response has echoed through the ages, “Send me.” You heard it in the hymn, “Here I Am, Lord.” Jesus commissioned the disciples to start locally and then go into all the world baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Missionaries and disciples throughout the centuries have obeyed God’s call on their lives.
    At first reading, the mission that God gives Isaiah seems strange. It must be remembered that Israel had repeatedly ignored God’s prophets. Isaiah is supposed to warn them. “Keep on doing what you are doing. Keep on forgetting what I have commanded. Keep on being blind and deaf to the leadings of your loving God.
    If you, Israel, continue in your ways, I will wash my hands of you. You will be exiled from The Promised Land. The world as you know it will be completely turned upside down and you will suffer for your sin. It will be a long trial.”
    This is no easy mission that Isaiah has been assigned. A Scout is brave: ‘Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them: for it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
    In the end, God’s will shall be done. The Almighty will not be thwarted. Even out of the smoldering ruins of the nation, He will maintain a holy seed in the land. The faithful of God will be sustained. Why? Because the holy seed will be the people from which the Messiah will come and bless all of humankind. Jesus did come from the line of David. And, he came as that baby in a manger.
    As a nation, we are failing to follow the Lord Almighty. Where is the holy seed today? This week an estimated 100 to 200 churches in America will close their doors. The big “C” Church was born on Pentecost 2,000 years ago. After an anointing of God the Holy Spirit, Peter preaches to the crowd:

    Acts 2:36–41 (NIV84) 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
    37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
    38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
    40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
    Our numbers are scary: 94 + 6. If a person does not commit to following Jesus by age 18, the chances are slim that they will ever enter the kingdom of God. What about you? What about your fellow scouts? What about your sisters and brothers? What about your classmates?
    Troop 77, God is calling on you to confess your sin; to receive forgiveness; to make Jesus the king of your life. The Lord Almighty is asking, “Whom shall I send?”
    Are you clean? Are you brave? Are you reverent? If yes, then you are commissioned into God’s service. Will you go?
    Amen and amen. Let us pray.


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