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A Vision of the Transcendent God

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
October 25, 2020 7:00 pm

A Vision of the Transcendent God

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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October 25, 2020 7:00 pm

Pastor Mike Karns helps us to glimpse the transcendence of God.

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In consideration of our subject this morning. Vision of the transcendent majestic God of glory was drawn to a book that I purchased some time back and read and was inspired to 22 all and wonder of this God written by Colby Paul David Tripp in the title the book is simply all and in that book, he speaks of Isaiah and not just Isaiah here in chapter 6 bit Isaiah in other places in his prophetic book and this is what he says are two things that Isaiah confronts first he confronts any view of the world that doesn't place a God of infinite grandeur in the middle of it. You simply cannot properly understand anything unless you look at it through the lens of the awesome glory. That Isaiah sticks in your face. Not only does God exist and not only is he active and not only is he in control, but he is also so glorious that it is impossible to find words or illustrations that are huge enough to capture his Majesty, because on the say, I am afraid that we often live as if there is no God. And it's all on us. We tend to worry too much. We tend to control too much. We tend to demand too much. We tend to regret too much. We tend to run after too many God replacements. We do all these things because we so quickly forget God's presence and glory and Isaiah will let you forget. He arouses your memory with grand and expansive word pictures, but secondly he's talking about Isaiah what he confronts.

The second thing is, he confronts is that there are a massive, according to him on massive number of Christian people who remember God but the God they remember is small, distant disconnected, uncaring and seemingly unwise in a way they are suffering not just because of the size of the things they're facing, but also because of the smallness of the God they are trusting tend to think that we suffer sometimes from the same ailment.

He says proper theology is rooted not in our interpretations of our circumstances, but in God's revelation to us of his on changeable glory, and then the last thing I'll read here about Paul David Tripp's consideration is. He says every hope you have as a believer is rooted in the glory of God. That Isaiah reveals every act of obedience flows out of your belief that one of the that one of this awesome grander exists. Every courageous act of faith gets its courage from the understanding that this kind of God sits on the throne of the universe. Every bit of personal willingness to persevere through trial is ignited by the remembrance of what Isaiah stretches the words of human language to describe folks. What were considering this morning is very very practical as we think about Isaiah 6 or five things I want to set before you want to show you what he saw. Number one want to show you what he heard. Number two want you to see what he felt. Number three I want you to see and hear what he said in response to what he saw, heard and felt and then I want you to see what he experienced. But before we get to the passage Isaiah 6. I want to explain, identify and prioritize two truths about God that we really need to get right for going to know God and relate to him as he is revealed himself in Scripture. The first truth is the eminence of God the eminence of God. What do I mean by that white eminence we mean the fact that God is close at hand is, God with us. Eminence stresses the love of God, the compassion of God the mercy the glory, the grace the kindness of God.

The fact that God has drawn near to us in the person of his son Jesus Christ. That's very critical and important to our understanding of God.

It's all true.

And it's wonderful. It's worthy of consideration and meditation and appropriation.

The eminence of God, but the second truth about God is what Isaiah 6 sets before us and it is the truth about God that is almost lost in many churches today, and if you question that listen to what one pastor said as he endorses this book by Paul David Tripp, a pastor, he says, I still remember the first time I was in awe of God. It came at least three years after attending churches and calling myself a Christian. It was a major turning point in my life three years after you were a Christian you finally were in all, that's what he confessed that's what he said.

I wonder how many Christians are all in our day would never had God set before them in a way that provoked all on wonder and worship the second truth about God, is the fact that God is transcendent. The eminence of God. On one hand, but the transcendence of God. On the other hand, what does transcendence focus on it. Focus on the group focuses on the greatness of God. The glory of God the sovereignty of God. The excellency of God that he is the high and lofty one who is apart from Aussies above all of his creation is independent from us he needs nothing from us or his creation. He is gloriously full in the riches of his character is God and I contend this morning that we must understand the transcendence of God before we can fully appreciate the eminence of God we hear great emphasis in our day on the love of God and there's a place for that, but without an understanding of the transcendence of God.

People here God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. God loves you the same. Of course he does sets. That's who God is. He loves people and he loves me. I'm a pretty good person.

What's missing.

What's missing is an understanding of the transcendence of God. Not astounded by God or not moved to worship. This God. You see, until we see that the God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son was under no obligation to give this son no obligation. God is self-sufficient. He's infinite he's in need of nothing. He is the high and lofty majestic and holy God of the universe. And to think that this God who needs nothing stands outside of his creation would condescend come to this earth and the person of his son to rescue count deserving stand sinners to move us, we ought to be moved with wonder and awe and humility that this God loves me. He loves you see the difference. If you start with the eminence of God and divorce your understanding of God from his transcendence. The love of God doesn't mean a whole lot to Isaiah chapter 57 verse 15. Let me just read this one verse to you because it captures both aspects of this God is eminence and is transcendence. Listen to it. Isaiah 57 verse 15, Isaiah says, for thus says the high and lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy. I dwell in the high and holy place.

What is that that's the transcendence of God with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite, there's the eminence of God. Both aspects but did you see the order.

Transcendence comes first, we must get that down you see it's God's holiness that separates him from all of creation eminence where he cares for the needy, the broken, the humble, the contrite, so the high and exalted one who lives forever whose name is holy. Isaiah learns this glorious transcendent God who is all those things. And above all things, is also God who cares forgives and draws near to sinners now to the preaching passage here. Isaiah chapter 6 notice with me. It says in the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up the train of his robe filled the temple.

In the year that King Uzziah died this King reigned for 52 years. He was the king of the southern kingdom of Judah. He was in most parts. A good king.

He reigned during the prophetic ministry of Zachariah and he was influenced by this profit. And as long as the prophet lived. He listened to the prophet and was guided by the prophet but when Zachariah died we read about Uzziah becoming proud and went into the temple to offer sacrifices and 80 priests confronted him and said what you are about to do is not good. You need to turn away and he was furious with them.

He went ahead and offered sacrifices on the burning on the burnt offering on the ends of incense in the altar in the temple and in the process of doing that, God struck him with luck any live with leprosy until the day he died.

So is life didn't end very well, but in the main, he was a good king you're aware that there were two lines was the line of David and from that line came the Kings there was the line of Levi the tribe of Levi, and from that line came in. He was from the line of David from the tribe of Judah, and he had a right to be the king but he had no right to be a priest, and offer sacrifices and God judged him for that but I think there's more indicated here than simply giving us this date in this reminder of this happening during the year of King's was iodide Isaiah. Isaiah saw the Lord when in the year the king was iodide.

I think there there is this as well. At a time of great uncertainty at the time of national upheaval.

After all, who's going to be the king had a king for 52 years to replace him will be the next essay in the position of power. Will he be a man who will promote righteousness or will be a wicked king that moves the.

The nation further and further away from God's that have any application in our day. In the face of uncertainty in the face of instability.

Isaiah saw the Lord. In contrast to the chaos in the instability and insecurity all around. And what did he see when he saw the king on his throne.

He saw certainty he saw stability and that's what we need to see as well and we don't know what is going to happen in our nation and our country.

We know one thing that God is ruling and reigning in this world. He is the King's and Lord of lords, and is already been prayed this morning. He's the God who puts kings in place and takes Kings from their place as it pleases him. That's our confidence this morning.

So who is this God that Isaiah saw notice with me number one in my outline what he saw. What did he see as I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple. He describes a throne he distraught. He describes the Lord sitting on the throne when the only person that is it has a right to sit on the throne as a king.

So here is a king sitting on a throne, high and elevated throne is what he saw one whose lofty and exalted, and the train of his robe fills the temple he sees one who is supreme in majesty and in his reign. He rules over all things, the whole earth is full of his glory. When we make about this. The train of his robe filled the temple. Well the train is a picture of royalty of of splendor of of royalty don't only thing that can that comes to my mind is an illustration and I didn't watch this but when Princess Diana was married and she made her way down the aisle in the was this train that was a part of her wedding dress that followed what was this long long long trainmen to communicate power, majesty, authority tells us here that the train of his robe filled the temple. Speaks of his Majesty's authority is splendor.

See, this is the greatest king that there is this is the King of Kings and Lord of lords. Notice one more detail with me in verse one. Notice again that he is seated on a throne. Let me ask the question. Where would you expect to find a king sitting on a throne, you would expect to find the king sitting on his throne in a palace right but that's not what the text says I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up in the train of his robe filled the temple. The temple not the palace but the temple think of the Army with me. Remember, was I the God struck with leprosy because he assumed the role of a priest when he wasn't one weirs a kingly priest who was this, who did who did Isaiah have the privilege of seeing he saw the pre-incarnate Jesus.

He saw the king but he also saw the priest said wait a minute, Jesus was of the line of David. He had a right to be the came but he wasn't a Levite knowing wasn't, but Hebrews tells us he was of another order he was on the order of Melchizedek right to be the priest so he is the kingly priest is priesthood established independent of the line of Levi. This is confirmed by John listen to him.

He just read this one verse two you John chapter 12 in verse 21. Listen to this John is quoting Isaiah right here in Isaiah chapter 6 he says, but although he had done so many signs before them. They did not believe in him that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke.

Lord, who has believed our report and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed. Therefore, they could not believe because Isaiah said again. He has blinded their eyes and harden their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them and then verse 41 says these things. Isaiah said, when he saw his glory and spoke of him that narrows it down. Who did Isaiah see he saw him, and he saw his glory, and he spoke of him that is Jesus, that's who. Isaiah is seeing here. What a privilege considering what Isaiah saw. He saw Jesus in his transcendent pre-incarnate glory and majesty, but notice what else he saw verse two says above. Yet above that throne stood seraphim, each one had six wings with two he covered his face and two he covered his feet into the flu. These glorious creatures of God. Listen to me of one of them to make a presence makeup and appearance in this place. We will all be on our faces.

These are holy angels, sinless beings created by God to serve him and to glorify him.

And here they are around the throne. Six wings notice what it says, with two they covered their what they covered her face. Why did they cover the face their holy angels never send the presence of Pauline S. Blinded the most pure greed to be. It says each one had six wings with two they covered their face with two they covered their feet, wings only what you cover your feet is your in a balling position there in warship worship and with two they flew so II don't know if you get your mind around creatures that have six wings of covered their faces and their flying around in there and up worshiping posture, but that is what Isaiah was privileged to see holy preacher sinless angels worshiping this and throne. Majestic God and reminds us that too many people come to God way to casually not with a sense of unworthiness not with a sense of our sinfulness to learn from this picture.

What did you hear notice with me what he heard in verse three it says and one cried to another these, that is, these serifs, these holy angels. One cried to another and said, holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory calling out to one another in antiphonal way, holy, holy, holy.

We say will why the repetition of holy holy holy son of said well it's because there worshiping God in the Trinity of his being. God the father, God the son God the Holy Spirit.

Well, that might be why would Norton was somebody who holds to that but I think a better explanation is an understanding of the Hebrew language is the way the Hebrew language emphasizes superlatives by the use of repetition, not just to say holy, but to say, holy, holy, holy, deemphasize the holiness of God in the Hebrew they speak of Lord, Lord, what do we see that translated in our Bible. He is the Lord of Lord Hebrew language.

The emphasis is king game where would we see it emphasizes Scripture. He is the King of Kings.

So this is just a Hebrew way of emphasizing the superlative of God.

He is holy. He's the thrice holy God and that attribute of God stands above all of his attributes.

You never find Angel saying love love love, grace, grace, grace, mercy, mercy mercy, but holy, holy, holy, because he is holy and his love is holy and his grace is holy, and every other out at that. He manifests there's no one like him in the holiness of God draws our attention to the separateness of God.

God is separate any separate in two ways.

There is a metaphysical separateness and then there is a moral separateness of what I mean by metaphysical well when I speak of metaphysical I'm speaking the fact that God is eternal. While we are what finite and temporal God is infinite God is the creator. We are the creator should God is separate from his creation. That's metaphysical separateness, but he's separate in the moral way that is he's furious holy. He's unadulterated. He's unlike us and that way we are sinners were polluted were undone see there's no one like him. He is exclusively God is incomparably God. Notice number three, but only what he saw and what he heard what he felt what he felt in verse four says, and the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out in the house was filled with smoke. Your Bible might say something about the foundation's trembling in the temple.

How do we explain this notice what it says in the post of the doors were shaken by what the voice of him who cried out, Lewis such an intensification of warship in this place that it shook the foundations. Think back a month or two or however long ago it was none of was a Sunday morning when I was bit, felt the troubles we open the windows our house rather little bit what lies that because it was an earthquake. Here is an intensification of warship that is so intense that it moved the very foundations in the temple. I think Robert Murray McShane captures that in this phrase when this passing world is done the last stand he says when the praise of heaven. I hear loud as funders to the year loud as many waters noise with Hudson marvelous times of praise and worship to God in this place, but they pale in comparison to what awaits us. They will be an intensification of worship that is unimaginable to us. We see a picture of it here. If you have the devotional book Valley of vision that is a collection of Puritan prayers. I would highly recommend that you spend time in that make use of that in your devotional time, there's this for contemplation on page 299 entitled journeying on speaking about God and how we can speak of him.

It's as compared with the dishonest dark compared with him. The son is darkness all beauty deformity all wisdom and folly. The best goodness. Faulty Puritan says you looking forward to that kind of worship. I hope you are just what he felt he felt the trembling that was produced by the intense worship of God. Notice what else experienced says the house was filled with smoke house was filled with smoke.

Would we attribute the smoke to when you read the Old Testament when God would his glory would be manifested. There would be would be smoke would be fired would be on Mount Sinai was smoke was fire. It accompanies the glory of God.

It's to draw attention to the glory of God. But I think there's something else going on because where there's smoke there's what, there's fire, where it was her fire in this picture we remember what happens little bit later.

One of these serifs takes a coal ruse that then one of the serifs flew to me, having his hand having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar smoke is from the activity of the altar and the sacrifice that was being burned in that place seed represents purity and perfection and sinlessness we've considered what he saw what he heard and what he felt.

What did he say he had this incredible vision and how did it affect him.

What did he say notice verse five. So I said whoa is me who's talking here. This is the prophet of God. This is the messenger of God, and he says 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 unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. You see, it's only because Isaiah is seen God in his holiness that he sees himself as a willful sinner too much good, intended evangelism is trying to convince a man or woman that there is sinner Mrs. setting a holy God.

Before the center talking about. I'm as good as someone so I've done this.

Haven't done that and as long as no holy God has set before them. That's the way men think. But when a holy God has set before you can say I'm right with God.

No were undone and that's what Isaiah said whoa is me.

Woe is me, for I am undone why because I am a man of unclean lips. I wonder what easy making reference to. I'm a man of unclean lips, will he was a prophet of God. He used his lips to speak of God to communicate right things about God and was he conscious of the fact that he had and always represented God faithfully. I don't know what he says and I dwell among the people of unclean lips so makes me wonder if that's what isn't really in his mind because the people were prophets. He was the only one was a prophet. He was a man of unclean lips, and so were the people around them couldn't be what he is communicating to us is what the New Testament communicates to us that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks process what he say CLS people have such a God set before them will not see themselves as sinful as they really are is why I in my opinion people are convinced that there pretty good people because it never been confronted with perfect purity and holiness and we need to see God in the fullness of his glorious majestic holiness in order to have an accurate understanding of our selves and our unworthiness before him. He said I am undone. I have no hope he realizes he's ruined the picture of absolute hopelessness of absolute inability to do anything about his state before God. I want you to think with me this passage could've ended right there, there could be nothing more said thank God there is more said. But this passage just easily could've ended right there why I say that because God is under no obligation to extend mercy and grace and forgiveness. There's a day coming that everything is going to bow and every tongue is going to confess that he is Lord of the glory of God the father. That's going to happen whether men do it out of pure worship because the hearts of been changed or whether they do it in rebellion toward him. They will acknowledge him as Lord is under no obligation to do anything for Isaiah.

What is it tell us notice with me what he experienced that begins in verse six, then one of the seraphim blew over to me having his hand having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar and he touched my mouth with that and said, behold this is touched your lips, your iniquity is taken away and your sin is purged. What did he experience well so far. He's experienced this incredible vision of God, but at this point in the text. The experiences on merited mercy on merited mercy, and I add that word on merited because if we don't understand that RC has no definition is something God extends to sinners with no obligation. We have no claim upon God, but he experiences on merited mercy experiences cleansing notice the language behold this is touched your lips, your iniquity is taken away and your sin is purged experiences on merited mercy, cleansing, forgiveness, and a recommissioning for service and notice what it says and I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, who shall I send, and who will go for us. Then I said here and now my send me notice with me that God is the one who is the initiator in the giving of mercy. Isaiah is not asking 40s not conscious, but he's not begging God for God just extends mercy doing because that's what God does to sinners when he humbles them, but just keep in mind there's nothing in us. There was nothing in Isaiah that would provoke God to extend mercy doing God freely gives mercy and I want you to notice that the cleansing in the forgiveness that he received was personalized warm I mean by that.

What did he confess he confessed. Woe is me, for I am undone. I'm a man of unclean lips he's confessing sin and specifically sin related to his lips that which he's communicated and what forgiveness does he receive a coal is taken by the seraph off the altar, and it comes in touches what folks I don't know what's in your guilty appeared this morning before God. But God has a coal from his altar that matches your sin matches your I think about how we relate to this world, we relate to this world through our wet five senses we see with our eyes we hear with our mouth that we taste what we what are the five senses. What we what we touch all five of Isaiah senses were engaged in this encounter that he had with God.

The joy of his sins forgiven. You see how what happens in God. God humbles a man breaks a man down brings him to the place where he says I'm undone I'm hopeless. I have no use I'm shut up to God's mercy in God extends mercy forgives a man cleanses a man and restores a man and the man says, put me back in Lord I'm ready. The rest of the passage says well better know what you signed up for is a prophet you're going to speak you're gonna prophesy you speak. These people are not going to hear you that we know good preach and pastor. Thank you for that, though hate you week after week, month after month, year after year.

Nice. Isaiah's is Lord all perseveres long as I have to see this encounter with the majestic holy transcendent God is fueled his service. That's the last thing I want to say willing service flows out of such an encounter with sometimes we get bogged down.

Sometimes we feel like quitting.

Sometimes we become weary in well doing what we need we need a fresh encounter with God because we had an encounter with God were moved with gratitude. Remove with humility where God use me, put me in charge of something. Give me something to do. I want to serve you out of gratitude for what you've done for me. That's what we need folks in our day. That's what you need. That's what I need. That's what we all need.

That's what this world needs. We pray and as I pray I'm going to be praying a prayer from that devotional book Valley vision.

Then I will pray we will sing the last hymn join me. Would you please O Lord God, who inhabits eternity. The heavens declare your glory the earth. Your riches the universe is your temple.

Your presence fills everything with the immensity yet you have by your own pleasure. Created life and communicated happiness. You've made us what we are.

You've given us what we have it send you that we live and move and have our being your providences set the bounds of our habitation and you wisely administer all of our affairs. We thank you for the riches we have in the Lord Jesus for the unclouded revelation of him in your word where we behold this person's character is Grace's glory is humiliation is suffering his death and his resurrection cause us to feel in need of our continual savior hood and cry with Joe. I am vile with Peter. I perish with the public and be merciful to us a sinner, subduing us the love of sin, show us the need of renovation as well of as forgiveness in order to serve and enjoy you forever. We come to you in the all prevailing name of Jesus with nothing of our own to plead no works, no worthiness, no promises were often straying. We often knowingly oppose your authority will often abuse your goodness. Much of our guilt arises from our religious privileges and are low estimation of them are failure to use them to our advantage, help us not to be careless as we think in regard to glory in press more deeply upon us a sense of divine omnipresence that you are indeed, this transcendent, holy, majestic God beyond all imagination, glorify yourself through our lives today, tomorrow, next week, next month and the rest of our days.

We pray in Jesus name, amen

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