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Sermon #22 — Isaiah Series
Title: The Making of a Prophet
Text: Isaiah 6:8
Subject: IsaiahŐs Prophetic Call
Date: Sunday Evening — April 2, 2017
Readings: Lindsay Campbell and Mark Daniel
I am often asked, ŇWhat is the call to the ministry?Ó ŇHow can I know if God has called me to preach the gospel?Ó One answer to those questions is found in Isaiah 6.
Here we have a detailed account of IsaiahŐs call to be GodŐs spokesman and IsaiahŐs response to GodŐs call. The climax of this passage is verse 8. Isaiah has seen the Lord Jesus Christ in his glory, confessed his own sin, and experienced the joy of redemption and forgiveness by the blood of Christ. Then, we readÉ
(Isaiah 6:8) Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
LetŐs back up to verse 1 and read this in its context.
(Isaiah 6:1-8) (1) In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (2) Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. (3) And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (4) And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. (5) Then said I, Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. (6) Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: (7) And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. (8) Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
Listen carefully to my introduction. It is as important as the message itself. Here are five facts plainly revealed in Holy Scripture.
1. The Lord our God has decreed from eternity to save a great multitude of sinners for the glory of his own great name; and they must be saved (Ephesians 1:3-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14). They are elected, adopted, and predestinated heirs of God. We do not hedge when it comes to the preaching of GodŐs sovereignty in grace. Election and predestination are Bible terms in which we rejoice. — GodŐs elect must and shall be saved.
(Ephesians 1:3-6) (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (4) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (5) Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (6) To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
(2 Thessalonians 2:13-14) (13) But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (14) Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. The Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed that elect multitude, GodŐs chosen seed, and must have them with him in heaven for the satisfaction of his soulŐs travail (Isaiah 53:9-12; Hebrews 2:13). Christ did not shed his blood in vain. The cross of Christ shall never be discovered a miscarriage. Every sinner for whom atonement was made shall be with Christ in heaven.
(Isaiah 53:4-11) (4) Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (8) He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. (9) And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (10) Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. (11) He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
(Hebrews 2:13) (13) And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
3. God the Holy Spirit by sovereign, omnipotent, irresistible grace, regenerates, calls, and preserves every sinner chosen by God and redeemed by Christ (Psalms 65:4; 110:3; John 6:63).
(Psalm 65:4) (4) Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.
(Psalm 110:3) (3) Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
(John 6:63) (63) It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
ŇSalvation is of the Lord!Ó ⸺ Grace never fails. The Holy Spirit has been sent into this world to savingly apply the benefits of ChristŐs finished work to those for whom he lived and died.
4. Every sinner who comes to God by faith in Christ shall be saved (John 6:37-40; Romans 10:9-13).
(John 6:37-40) (37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (39) And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(Romans 10:9-13) (9) If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
5. But no sinner can or will be saved apart from the preaching of the gospel (Romans 10:14-17). C. H. Spurgeon rightly said, ŇThe word of this salvation avails not until it is declared in the ear. It must be published, or men cannot hear it; and not hearing, they cannot believe; and not believing, they cannot be saved.Ó
(Romans 10:14-17) (14) How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (15) And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (17) So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Proposition: The men and women of this world are perishing all around us for lack of knowledge; and it is our responsibility, yours and mine, to tell them how God saves sinners by his dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
All of GodŐs people are missionaries, people sent on a mission. And our mission in this world is to preach the gospel of Christ to all men. I am calling for some volunteers, volunteers sent of God, to tell the world about GodŐs dear Son and his saving grace. I am calling for us to give ourselves up to our Savior, to be used of God wherever and however he sees fit to use us.
Divisions: LetŐs look at Isaiah 6:8 for a few minutes. I want to show you four things in our text.
1. The Call of God
2. The Response of Faith
3. The Commission Given
4. Another Prophet
The Call of God
1st ⸺ I want us to look at the call of God that Isaiah heard. ⸺ ŇAlso I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?Ó
Here is a man, nothing more than a man, a man of flesh and blood, like us, encumbered with human weaknesses and corrupted with human sin. But he is a man called of God, clothed with divine grace and sent with divine authority. Who is this man called of God?
He is a man chosen of God. ⸺ Notice the wording of the text, the Lord (Adonay – The Cause, The Stay, The Support) said, ŇWhom shall I send?Ó It is as though in the eternal counsel a question was once raised, as though the Lord God had said, ŇWho shall be the chosen man, who shall be the object of my love, through whom the unsearchable riches of Christ shall be proclaimed?Ó Election is the fountain head of all divine mercy and divine work (Ephesians 1:3-4).
á As we have already seen, according to the Book of God, there is an election to salvation (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 1 Peter 1:2).
á And there is, also an election to specific service in the Kingdom of God (John 15:16).
(John 15:16) (16) Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
The question here in Isaiah 6:8 speaks of GodŐs choice of this man, Isaiah; but it also implies that the man called of God is one who cheerfully, willfully, voluntarily responds to GodŐs gracious call. ⸺ God says, ŇWhom shall I send?Ó That question speaks of GodŐs will. But he also says, ŇWho will go for us?Ó That part of the question speaks of a manŐs will.
Now, listen to me. ⸺ Though man is not saved by his will, he is not saved without his will, or against his will (Psalm 110:3). The sovereign grace of God, and the purpose of grace in predestination, do nothing to violate the will of man or destroy the responsibility of man.
á Salvation is determined by the will of God. ⸺ But salvation only comes to those who are willing to trust Christ.
á Even so, it is GodŐs will that determines who will preach the gospel. ⸺ But no man is sent of God to preach until he is made willing to go.
Spurgeon said, ŇThe true worker for God must be impelled by divine election, yet he must make and will make, by divine grace, his own election for his work.Ó
HereŐs another thing in our text. ⸺ That man who is called of God represents God, as an ambassador represents his King (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).
(2 Corinthians 5:18-21) (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The Lord says, ŇWho will go for us?Ó Who will go to represent and speak for God? — Oh, may God be pleased to call more men from this congregation and send them out to preach the gospel!
But this word from our God addresses each of us. You who are GodŐs are GodŐs witnesses. We are sent into this world as the representatives of the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We are all (all who believe) GodŐs witnesses to perishing sinners. I am a public preacher of the gospel. But you are all witnesses of Christ, called and sent of God, in your own sphere, to tell out the wonders of redemption and grace in Christ.
á GodŐs ambassador carries GodŐs message — Substitution (1 Corinthians 2:2).
á And GodŐs ambassador is armed with GodŐs authority. ⸺ ŇTouch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.Ó
I want every one of you to hear the call of God. ⸺ ŇWhom shall I send, and who will go for us?Ó And I want us to respond to GodŐs call like Isaiah did.
2nd — So, secondly, letŐs consider the response of faith. ⸺ When Isaiah heard GodŐs gracious call, he responded, ŇHere am I, send me.Ó The response of faith is always the same. It asks no questions, considers no costs, and offers no conditions. It is a free, voluntary, unqualified surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ.
á Abraham (Genesis 22:1)
á Jacob (Genesis 31:11)
á Joseph (Genesis 37:13)
á Moses (Exodus 3:4)
á Samuel (1 Samuel 3)
á Ananias (Acts 9:10)
In the Kingdom of God, all service is voluntary. That which is given as the result of a preacher priming, pumping, pulling, pushing, and promoting is not of God!
á Church Attendance
Isaiah was a man who knew and felt his own unworthiness to serve his God (v. 5). No one will ever be useful in the cause of Christ who entertains flattering notions of his own worth, ability, and importance. God will never use that which is not broken (Psalm 51:17).
(Psalm 51:17) (17) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Illustration: ŇBroken PiecesÓ (Acts 27:44)
Let me remind you of the way Isaiah was broken by God. This is how sinners are broken by God.
á By a stroke of divine providence, in obvious judgment, IsaiahŐs cherished king, Uzziah, was slain (v. 1; Psalm 107).
á He saw Christ in his exalted glory — Redeemer King (v. 1).
á He saw the holiness of God (v. 3).
á He experienced the joy of pardoning mercy by blood atonement (vv. 6-7).
á And Isaiah had an awful sense of GodŐs presence (vv. 2-7).
Isaiah was a pardoned sinner, given opportunity to be of some service, he knew not what, and he seized the opportunity. — ŇHere am I, send me.Ó It is as though he said, ŇLord, I do not know where you may be pleased to use me, or how, but, O my great God, if you will use me in anyway, for anything, at anytime, here I am.Ó
á His response was one of gratitude.
á His surrender was unreserved.
á His commitment was an act of faith.
3rd — Here is the commission given by God to is servant, Isaiah. — ŇGo, and tell this people.Ó
á Tell them what you have seen, heard, and experienced (A Revealed God! — Redemption! — Grace! — Forgiveness!).
á Tell them of sin and judgment (vv. 9-12).
(Isaiah 6:9-12 (9) And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. (10) Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (11) Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, (12) And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.
á Tell them of sure mercy and salvation for an elect remnant (v. 13).
(Isaiah 6:13) (13) But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
4th — I cannot miss this opportunity to tell you about another prophet, called and sent of God. Look at our text again. Notice the 8th verse begins with the words, ŇAlso I heard,Ó as if to indicate a change. It appears to me that this last section of the chapter refers not so much to Isaiah and GodŐs servants (Gospel Preachers), but to GodŐs Righteous Servant, our Lord Jesus Christ, that Prophet of whom Moses spoke in Deuteronomy 18.
ŇAlso I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here [am] I; send me.Ó (Isaiah 6:8)
In the first seven verses of the chapter Isaiah tells us what he had seen and heard in a special relation to himself. Here he tells us what he was witness to regarding the accomplishment of our blessed Savior as the Surety of the covenant and the fulfilment of GodŐs everlasting purpose of grace in ad by him.
Before time began, in old eternity, in the everlasting covenant of grace the Triune God spoke one to another, even as they did at time of manŐs creation (Genesis 1:26) and before the destruction of Babel (Genesis 11:5-7), and said, ŇWhom shall I send, and who will go for us?Ó And Christ the Mediator stood forth as our Surety and said, ŇHere am I; send me.Ó
(Psalm 40:7-10) ŇThen said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book [it is] written of me, (8) I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart. (9) I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest. (10) I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.Ó
That which Christ declared God has sent us to declare, all that, only that, and nothing but that!
(Isaiah 42:1-8) ŇBehold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, [in whom] my soul delighteth; I have put my Spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (2) He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. (3) A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (4) He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (5) ¦ Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: (6) I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; (7) To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. (8) I [am] the LORD: that [is] my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.Ó
(Isaiah 50:6-9) ŇI gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (7) For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. (8) [He is] near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? Let us stand together: who [is] mine adversary? Let him come near to me. (9) Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who [is] he [that] shall condemn me? Lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up.Ó
I am certain that this vision and that which Isaiah tells us he heard in verses 8-13 speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ, because God the Holy Ghost tells us so in John 12:39-41.
(John 12:39-41) (39) Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, (40) He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. (41) These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.
1. You and I have been called and sent of God to preach the gospel to this generation (John 20:21).
(John 20:21) (21) Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
2. Whatever God gives us the opportunity and ability to do, he has called us to do. And that we must do with all our might.
á David — ŇIs there not a cause?Ó
á PaulŐs Macedonian Vision — ŇCome over and help us.Ó
á BunyanŐs PilgrimŐs Progress.
á Elijah and the WidowŐs Oil and Meal.
3. As we endeavor to preach the gospel to this generation, let us ever look to our Savior, Christ our Prophet, to make the work of his prophets effectual to chosen, redeemed sinners, for the glory of his own great name (Deuteronomy 18:13-19).
(Deuteronomy 18:15) (15) The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.
(Deuteronomy 18:18-19) (18) I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. (19) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
(Isaiah 6:9-13) (9) And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. (10) Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (11) Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, (12) And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. (13) But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
May God the Holy Ghost give us grace, that we may follow our SaviorŐs example as JehovahŐs Righteous Servant, as GodŐs Prophet, and give ourselves wholly to the cause for which our God has created us, the cause he has trusted to our hands (Matthew 28:18-20).
(Matthew 28:18-20) (18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.