My Prayer for 2014

Use Grammarly’s online proofreader because bad grammar hurts our effort to communicate our vision! Speaking of vision:

A Fresh Vision of God for the New Year

I like to preach a New Year’s sermon and this year was no exception. But, I may have picked an unusual passage for it. Here is the passage on which I preached, from Isaiah 6.

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

What I wanted to do here was present a fresh vision from an ancient text for us to consider as we move into a new year. Let me suggest a few things about the passage as we think of 2014.

1) Our culture has become too familiar with God. We view God as some sort of cosmic Santa Claus who we can climb up upon his lap and feel all warm and fuzzy. Yet, how does Isaiah respond when He is confronted with the majesty of God? Woe is me! Don’t you think we need to be confronted by the holiness of God once more? Reminded that the God we worship is the sovereign God of the universe?

2) We need to consider more our need to be holy. Our culture considers how close we can get to the fence without crossing over. Whereas when Isaiah was confronted with the holiness of God he realized that he was a sinner, a man of unclean lips. Have we forgotten the call to be holy as He is holy? If Isaiah, when confronted with God was reminded of his sin, how much more should we?

3) We should be concerned more with atonement and sacrifice and proclaim it boldly as the only way to stand in the presence of a holy God. Isaiah had to have the live coal from the altar touch his lips to “atone” for his sin. We too have had the live coal applied to our souls when we trusted in Christ and His death and resurrection. This is how we are able to stand in the presence of God. How much should we preach this as the only way someone can stand before a holy God, but to trust in the sacrifice of Christ.

I mean not to create some sort of denial of fellowship with God. Clearly through Christ we have access to the Father and receive His love and fellowship. But perhaps we need to balance this with a real awareness of awe and wonder and even reverential fear at the majesty and holiness of God. I pray that we live in light of the holiness of God afresh this 2014!

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