Repentance – Worship Exposes
REPENTANCE – WORSHIP EXPOSES
PREACHER – NIGEL JUCKES
Isaiah 6: 1 – 8
Just a few reminders before we get to the text:
A.1 SIN MAKES US HIDE FROM GOD Genesis 3
The saddest question of all: Where are you?
Friendship is broken, intimacy is gone – distance and lostness are ours
Reality: we cannot live in sin and survive in worship.
People who are unwilling to deal with sin fall away.
A.2 BELIEF: ANYONE WHO SEES GOD WILL DIE
Deut 5: 26 For, what mortal has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we
have and survived?
Judges 13: 22 We are doomed to die. We have seen God
Judges 6: 22, 23 When Gideon realised it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed: Ah Sovereign
Lord. I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.
But the Lord said: Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.
The truth is that all that is not of God will die in his presence.
A.3 GOD’S PRESENCE EXPOSES US
Job 42: 5, 6 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes
Luke 5: 8 When Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said: Go away from me Lord. I am
a sinful man
1 Cor 14: 24, 25 But if an unbeliever or and enquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying,
they are convicted of sin and brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God exclaiming: God is really among you.
A.4 OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE Hebrews 12: 29
Do not seek his face casually,
Nor if you are living unrepentantly.
READ Isaiah 6: 1 – 8
B. GOD IS WORTHY OF WORSHIP
In heaven, worship of God never ceases.
This is one of the overriding senses that come through in our passage.
Even the seraphs hide their faces before him.
They constantly call out: Holy, Holy, Holy.
This is what John also saw when he was exposed to the life of heaven from his record in Revelation.
All the great people of faith and the heavenly beings never get beyond worship: the 4 living creatures, the 24 elders, unnumbered angels – there is but one response to God: Worship. You are worthy. You alone.
I believe that when we see God our first response will be awe.
Worth belongs to him and never to us.
Not many of us may be given a spontaneous look into heaven.
But worship is a way of seeking God’s face, seeking his presence.
And what happens is that the Holy Spirit actually begins to open our spiritual eyes to see him as we name him. The words may be in the music – or they may be a fresh gift to us as we begin to speak out or sing in the Spirit what is given. The more we worship, the more we see.
We can only assume that Isaiah was worshipping
He tells us, he was in the temple.
It was in a time of transition – the long reign of Uzziah had come to an end. He had been king for 52 years and was a godly king. There was the stability of a long reign – but now everything is uncertain.
And while he was lifting his eyes to God – suddenly, it was as if a curtain was drawn back and God was no longer hidden – Isaiah saw his exaltation and his glory.
It is this which we long for when we worship.
We long for the eyes of our heart to be opened – we want to see him, we want to know him, we want to see his glory. We want to be close, to be intimate.
But seeing him is always a shock.
C. THE GOD WE WORSHIP
C.1 GOD IS HOLY
He dwells in unapproachable light.
Holiness speaks of his separation from everything else
He is absolutely distinct from all his creatures, from creation itself. He is exalted above all in infinite majesty.
Exodus 15: 11 Majestic in holiness
He stands apart in everything: he is holy in his goodness, in his grace as well as in his justice and wrath.
Our response to this revelation: My nothingness – I fall so far short of his glory. Calvin: Total depravity.
My whole being cannot stand, cannot even be in his presence.
God is separate from all sin
Habakkuk 1: 13 Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.
1 John 1: 5 God is light and in him there is not darkness at all.
There is no grey area
In his light, we see.
If our first response is awe – our second response is: O help! v 5 Woe to me!
It is like one of those dreadful dreams where we suddenly find ourselves standing in the street with no clothes on.
It is like suddenly finding ourselves in the presence of such light that even what is going on in our hearts is on display, the thoughts in our minds are suddenly there for all to see.
All our compromises with the world around us suddenly show up. all our values by which we live.
Nothing about us is hidden from view.
We are standing before him in who image we are made.
He is what is true – and we are the image.
But the image is distorted, it is filthy, it is cracked, it is obscured.
All our righteous deeds are like a filthy menstrual cloth Isaiah 64: 6
E. WITHOUT EXCUSE
We see ourselves through his eyes. We see ourselves as we truly are.
I am a man of unclean lips – I am no better then the rest. I am like them.
I used to be full of self righteousness.
In my own eyes I was OK.
But now I see through his eyes – and I see what he sees.
We see ourselves as we truly are.
When we see him, we have no excuses.
We cannot justify ourselves. We know that we cannot put ourselves into the right.
All our deeds, all our motives, all our rationalisation are out in the open.
It is a blessing – because freedom does not come from trying to make wrong right!
All our compromises are shown up.
All the things which we have indulged in – been seduced by suddenly are thrown into relief.
We see things for what they truly are!
We own up. Repentance is a gift of the holy King!
Woe to me!
Repentance is the only response.
And only when we really see God will we want to be as he is.
That is what repentance is – it is letting God be God, letting him have the say about what is OK and what is not OK.
Repentance is changing our minds and agreeing with God.
And wanting to be clean.
And the reality is: We are in the right place. Because God who shows us our sin, also can take it away v 6
The one we worship is the one who restores
And having restored us, he then commissions us to represent him, to speak for him v 8
We are now fit for the One we have worshipped.
No one can worship FOR you.
And if you want what God has for you – seek his face.
Repentance is on the road to freedom and life
Corporate worship is often our best experience of worshipping – on our own we may not be disciplined enough nor skilled.
But here we are helped. Let us take hold of it and let God have his way in our lives.