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March 11, 2021 12:01 am
Day and night, heaven resounds with the anthem of the angels: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory" (Isa. 6:3). Today, R.C. Sproul prompts us to remind ourselves constantly of our holy God.
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In heaven around the throne of God to serve them sing holy, holy, holy there.
The kingdom is a visible reality and the angels in heaven. Every single minute do and do perfectly. The will of God, the angels in heaven also understand that God is holy and they sing that anthem every day you Renewing Your Mind on this Thursday early on in his ministry. Dr. RC Sproul believe the church have lost a sense of God's will.
So he devoted countless hours to teaching and defending the one trait that informs all of God's character God's holiness is evident throughout Scripture, but it's in Isaiah chapter 6 we see it on stunning this one was in the eighth century BC, when Isaiah was called by God to be a prophet. One of the most important prophets of Old Testament history, we have seen that in the eighth century it was the year that King Uzziah died the same year that the Roman empire began with the establishment and founding of the city of Rome along the banks of the Tiber River. It was in that time in history that Isaiah had his experience where he was able to see into the very inner chambers of heaven itself, and as we've already examined in the text that records this history. The sixth chapter of Isaiah's book.
Isaiah was able to see the Lord himself exalted and seated upon the throne and we've described the experience of the Seraphim who were endowed with two wings to cover their faces two wings to cover their feet and two wings to fly now in our last session we looked at the significance of the structure of the Seraphim but I ended by saying that it wasn't so much the nature of the Seraphim that grips our interest here as it was their message. We are told in the sixth chapter of Isaiah that the Seraphim saying one to another holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory. And as I've said many times we could read this passage over and over again and this the weighty significance of this anthem of the angels because there's something that occurs in it. That is unusual in Scripture, though not absolutely unique.
The Jewish people had various ways to express emphasis or importance in their literature. Just as we do it for writing and we want to bring out something that is specifically important. We may underline it or we may set it" are in italics are in bold face print or string a list of exclamation points at the end of the phrase to say to the reader. This is super important for the Jewish people did all those things as well. They use that kind of technique to communicate emphasis but they also had another interesting literary technique to communicate importance and that was the simple method of repetition, there's one place in the Old Testament, for example, where a large pit is being described and I've read several different translations of this passage, some of which speak about a great pit or an asphalt pit or a tar pit or abide Truman pit and as I read these various transitions estimate what kind of a pet wasn't actually well in the Hebrew all we have is the Hebrew word for pit mentioned twice in a row.
The simple word for pit is repeated as so if we were to translate the text literally we would read that this was a pet know what in the world is a pit, but what the Jewish writers trying to say is that there are pits and there are pits up is some kind of uptick pit is the prettiest of all possible pits.
If you ever follow the pit. Make sure that the pit you fall in is not a pit pit bull that's just one of these strange and unusual forms that the Jewish folks used to communicate emphasis or importance. Jesus did it whenever he would be teaching his disciples frequently. He would preface his sayings by the phrase all main all main, I say unto you, and that's usually translated by the words either in the old translation.
Verily, verily I say unto you, or in the more recent translation since rendered truly, truly, I say unto you, my beloved, everything that Jesus ever taught his disciples was important.
There was never a desultory word to escape from the lips of Christ. Nothing that we would regard as utterly insignificant and yet within the context of his home teach. There were those occasions where he called his disciples to special close attention. It would be something like onboard a naval vessel when the intercom would sound and the whistle would blow and the words would come through the communication system now hear this. This is the captain speaking. Every year perks up everyone's attention is riveted on the forthcoming announcement.
That's what would happen when Jesus would preface some of his teaching to his disciples by saying main all main truly, truly, I say unto you of course you probably already recognize the Aramaic expression that I've used here all main all main which comes over into the English language. With our word. Amen. But normally when we say amen it will be for example at the end of a prayer or maybe the big Congregational response to the preacher when the preacher makes a salient point. The congregation may shot out of the middle of his preaching.
Amen. That's why we have an amen corner in certain congregations and what is amen comes from the Hebrew mood which means truth that all men means it is true.
Jesus did something extraordinary. He didn't wait for the consent of his disciples to affirm that what he was saying was the truth.
He introduced his teaching with the words.
Amen. Say amen and amen. He repeated it and the disciples knew that that was this technique of emphasis in order to underscore something that was of utmost importance. Another occasion where we see this is in the first chapter of Paul's letter to the Galatians when he is dealing with the intrusion of a dangerous heresy that threatens to destroy the foundation of the church.
Paul had been teaching the gospel of justification by faith alone, but a group called the Judaizers came in and wanted to mix in with this announcement of the good news of justification by faith alone. A mixture of works of the law with the free offer of grace and also to ties salvation to the rituals and the rights of the community and Paul saw that as a serious threat to the gospel and so he said to the Galatian believers. He said I'm astonished that you have so quickly removed yourself unto another gospel which is not another gospel that he goes on to say what if anyone preaches unto you any other gospel, even if it's an angel from heaven if they preach any other gospel from the one that you have received him be anathema, let him be accursed or let him be damned. And after he gives this very strong warning and admonition to the Galatians, he follows it immediately with these words. Again I say to you, if anybody preaches unto you any other gospel than that which you have received, let him be anathema.
So we see that Paul uses this technique of repetition. For the sake of importance and emphasis well and we go back to the text of Isaiah and we look at the song of the Seraphim which is uttered in antiphonal response one served to the other holy, holy, holy, this antiphonal response is called the Trice Hagy on or the three times holy where the one word holy is repeated.
Not once but twice.
This is the only time in Scripture that an attribute of God is repeated to the 3rd°, and you understand that the 3rd° is the superlative degree. The ultimate degree the nth degree of importance what we read in Isaiah 6. Let me read it for you again is this at that, the one that is the Seraphim one cried to another and said, holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory though, it is important is that the song of the angels is not simply holy is the Lord, nor do they sing holy, holy is the law. The song is this that God is only holy, holy again. Nowhere else in Scripture is an attribute of God elevated to this degree of importance about us and say that God is love love love or mercy, mercy, mercy or justice, justice, justice, or wrath, wrath, wrath, but that he is holy, holy, holy. Now as a theologian.
I am aware that it is bad theology to try and pit one attribute of God against another or even to assemble a hierarchy of attributes within the Godhead, which is an error that many of us make from time to time I've had discussions with people about the character of God. Speaking of the sovereign to Europe is just the surface wrath those dimensions of God's character that are frightening to people and I've had people say to me. I don't believe that my God is a God of love, will surely the Bible teaches that God is a God of but we can't come to the Scriptures as if it were a cafeteria buffet smorgasbord where we can pick and choose those attributes of God puts them on our plate that we find delectable and then leave the others on the table that we are uncomfortable because God is his attributes and he is all of his attributes so that his love for example, is always a holy love and a just law and a sovereign law. In like manner, his holiness is always a loving holiness. A just holiness. A sovereign holiness, and so we cannot construct a hierarchy of attributes and say that one is more important than the other but if we were to do that. Surely, in light of the biblical revelation of the character of God. The attribute that would stand out among all others is the attribute of holiness. In fact, there are many scholars who believe that holiness is not simply a single attribute, but it captures and gathers together all of the attributes of God together because the holiness points to the transcendent majesty. The superlative greatness. The otherness that characterizes God and makes him unique and makes him worth the of our worship. But I want us to notice that in this text, the activity of the angels day and night in the presence of God to which Isaiah was privileged to be a whole was the activity of worship.
Theirs is an attitude of reverence of honor and of giving glory to God.
It is the nature of these angels to do more and to worship God.
We were created with a nature that was designed to endure, to honor of reverence to worship the majesty of God, but now after the intrusion into our souls of sin such worship and exultation of the character of God is no longer natural to us. It is foreign to us. This is something that has to flow out of a renewed soul only when God the Holy Spirit changes the disposition of our hearts are we able to worship him in spirit and in truth when Jesus gathered with his disciples in the New Testament and his disciples said to him, Lord, please teach us how to pray. You know what he did.
He didn't simply direct them to the Old Testament to the Psalms and say immerse yourself in the Psalms and learn from David the proper attitude and practice of prayer he may well have done that but on this occasion. Instead he gave them a model prayer saying when you pray, pray like this and that.
He gave the Lord's prayer.
The question I often asked my students in the seminaries. This will lessen. What is the first petition found in the Lord's prayer. What's the first request. What is the first thing that Jesus instructs his disciples to pray for what you think back over the Lord's prayer, and you realize that it begins our father who art in heaven, that's the formal address. That's how we open a prayer stating and uttering our respect for God, acknowledging him as our father who is in heaven with the first petition is what follows hello would be thy name with this acne. Jesus said when you pray, the first thing I want you to pray for is that the name of my father will be regarded as then he goes on to say, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And so, and though Jesus doesn't say this, I wonder if there is a logical progression here.
I wonder if what Jesus is implying is that unless or until human beings begin to regard the name of God is holy is kingdom will not come on earth, and his will will not be done as it is done in heaven. The Seraphim understand the kingdom of God in their heavenly dwelling, because they are there above the throne of God singing daily rejoicing over the enthronement of the King there. The kingdom is a visible reality and the angels in heaven. Every single minute do and do perfectly. The will of God, the angels in heaven also understand that God is holy and they sing that anthem every day when the Scriptures speak of the corruption of civilization and even of the church. They describe a situation in which there is no fear of God among the people of that description is not simply a description of the fear that expresses being scared or frightened the import of that idea is this, that there is no fear in the sense of awe or reverence before God and we live in a world like that where the name of God is not honored in a frivolous, cavalier, capricious way the name of God is he used every single day in our culture as a curse word as an expletive as anything but a stimulus to worship to ponder and adoration. This is what Isaiah beheld not the city of man, but the city of God. He stepped through the veil. He stepped across the threshold and for a moment was able to gaze into the inner sanctum of heaven and to see reality as it is lived out on a different play in a different realm in heaven itself, for every single moment there is an awareness and enjoying the celebration. God is holy and that's the Christians joy and desire to live every moment aware of God's holiness that reality changes everything for his visits. In fact, Dr. RC Sproul wrote in his book the holiness of God. How we understand the person and character of God the father affects every aspect of our lives featuring Dr. Strohl series the holiness of God.
This week your on Renewing Your Mind and that we're glad you joined us today. RC wrote the holiness of God to remind us of how extraordinary our God is.
It's a classic work and our resource offer today is the 25th anniversary edition of the holiness of God is a hardbound silver addition that said not available in stores, so I hope you requested today with your donation of any amount you can do that email@example.com or you can call us at 800-435-4343. You know what we've heard today from Dr. Strohl really is the foundation for everything we do here is beginner ministries every resource we publish or produce every outreach we launch owner fueled by our desire to proclaim, teach, and defend the holiness of God to as many people as possible.
That's why were honored to offer this 25th anniversary edition of the book the holiness of God.
Again, call us with your gift of any amount at 800-435-4343.
You can also make a request firstname.lastname@example.org and are sought for Thursday. Corin Deyo before the face of God and before the presence of God. I'd like us to go away. From this moment thinking about the character of God. We know that ideas have consequences, and I don't think there is any single idea more foreign to our lives and yet more necessary to bring about an entire transformation of our personal lives and of our society that an awakening to the holiness of God, because it's not until we understand who God is, that we will be able to grasp the standard the norm by which everything else in this universe, including ourselves, is to be measured.
The creed of the humanist's Homo men sewer man the measure man is the measure of all things. That's not the measure of sacred Scripture and sacred Scripture. The measure of you. The measure of your life is not what other people do or who other people are.
But the ultimate standard by which you will be measured is the very character of God, which character is all together. Hopefully, this is certainly a topic that we can explore too deeply is an attempt, we will continue our study tomorrow exploring the majesty and glory. We hope you'll join us Friday on Renewing Your Mind