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Finding the Glory

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
August 3, 2020 12:01 am

Finding the Glory

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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August 3, 2020 12:01 am

Compared to the people around him, the prophet Isaiah was a righteous man. But when he saw the majesty of God, Isaiah realized how utterly sinful he was. Today, R.C. Sproul explains how God's holiness reveals our destitution and our desperate need for a Savior.

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We avoid contact with the holy because we know that we are on holy but we try to repress that evaluation. We don't want to hear that word on holy. We want people to tell us how great we are and how righteous we are and how virtuous we are. That's why the apostle Paul exhorts us as Christians not to think of ourselves more highly than we should.

But to think with sober judgment to do that we must find a reliable standard. Welcome to Renewing Your Mind as we begin a new week. Lively web today. We are pleased to bring you a message from Dr. RC Sproul's classic series, the holiness of God.

As we continue our study of the holiness of God.

We remember that we have been looking closely at the circumstances that surrounded the call of the prophet Isaiah to his ministry and we have seen the historical background with the tragic life of King Josiah. We've seen the response of the heavenly creatures the seraphim to the dazzling glory of the holiness of God with considered the statement that the whole earth is full of his glory, and even looked at the various responses that people have towards this glory.

Half of the most part we go through life and miss it even though it staring us in the face. But what is important for our consideration.

Now is the response of Isaiah himself to that experience of looking into the inner chamber of heaven and seeing the glorious display of the holiness of God.

Let's look back at the text and see Isaiah's response.

We read in verse four of Isaiah 6 that the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and that the house was filled with smoke. Then we read these comments from Isaiah and so I said whoa is me, for I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of the people of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts, not just as I mentioned earlier, when we saw the threefold repetition of the song of the seraphim celebrating the holiness of God by which they sang, holy, holy, holy, and I explained that there was an unusual literary technique involved in their common to the Jewish people. So in this phrase that is uttered by Isaiah, woe is me, for I am undone. We also find something intensely Jewish that we could read over many many times and miss its significance, a prophet in the Old Testament was someone singled out by God anointed by God's spirit and commission to announce the word of God to the people. He was a conduit of supernatural revelation.

He was endowed and authorized to speak, the pronouncements of God, and those pronouncements that were funneled and channeled through the prophets were basically up to kinds or two sorts. They were either positive pronouncements or negative pronouncements. They were good news, or they were bad news we see, for example, in the New Testament, in the sermon on the mount.

When Jesus gives his famous lists of beatitudes. He uses a formula that was common to prophets in Israel, and the form of the formula was the use of what was called an Oracle in the Beatitudes. When Jesus says blessed are the poor, blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled, and so on. Blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted. Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called the children of God is using that Jewish formula because an Oracle of prosperity on Oracle that communicated good news was prefaced by the word blessed not to be blast to the Jew was to be brought close to the presence of God.

I hate it when modern translators translate that word blessed into our word happy because our word happy has become cheapened by a superficial use of it and we say happiness is a warm puppy. While there's a far cry from the thrill that we get from a nice snuggly warm dog than from the condition that the Bible speaks of being last or to be blessed. While this idea of blessedness may be seen in the Old Testament benediction where the Hebrew benediction goes like this. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto.

May the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace. Do you see the parallel symmetry there that blessedness is communicated in the concrete image of the face of God to be blessed is to live Coram Dayo to live before the face of God, to live in the immediate presence of God where the Lord makes his face shine upon where the Lord lifts up the light of his countenance upon you if you've ever seen the film. Then her there's a magic moment in that film. When Ben Hur is in chains and has been reduced to the status of slavery that he's with a group of slaves and is being treated with abject humiliation and he is dragged over to the side of a well and he cannot even get off his knees. He's parts to his weakened he's bruised and battered and defeated and is in the dust in chains and he stated he's he's so thirsty and suddenly all that you see on the screen is the passing of a human shadow and you hear a voice and Ben Hur turns his face and looks up at whoever it is, who standing there, and whoever it is who was standing there stoops over and gives to Ben Hur a cop of cold water, but there is an immediate dramatic transformation in the countenance of Ben Hur as he looks into the face of whoever it is who's giving him this: we never see the person there's no doubt who it is that Ben Hur is just met the Christ, and by looking into the face of Jesus.

The radiance of the countenance of the slave is changed and in that second Ben Hur experiences blessedness may the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you may handle. The light of his countenance upon you and give you peace.

That's the Oracle of good news that's the Oracle of blessedness.

But the opposite concept in the Old Testament to blessedness is the idea of the curse.

Another word that has been trivialized in our culture, we think of curses today is something that that voodoo witch doctors put on little replica dolls and so but in Israel. The curse was the supreme expression of the wrath and judgment of God. You remember in the book of Deuteronomy when God set his law before the people and said that if you keep the terms of this covenant then blessed shall you be in the city. Blessed shall you be in the country blessed so you be when you get up. Blessed shall you be when you go down. Blessed are you in the living room.

Blessed are you in the bedroom.

Blessed are you all over the place. Then, in stark contrast to this guts is, however, if you break my law.

If you refuse to obey my well then accursed will you be in the country. Curse it.

Will you be in the city curse. It will be your crops curse and will be your family curse and will you be when you sit down, curse, and will you be when you stand up and we see this ominous idea of the curse will the curse to the Jew is the exact opposite.

The antithesis of blessedness that it reaches its worst and most painful moment with the image of God turning his back rather than lifting up the light of his countenance to the accursed he dispatches them into the uttermost darkness rather than causing his face to shine upon the day he removes his face from them altogether had serious discussions with people about the biblical concept of hell and people say to me are safe.

Do you believe that hell is the absence of God. And I say yes and they breathe a sigh of relief. Like always, that all that is sick. Can you imagine anything worse than the absolute absence of God in terms of his benevolence said you people say war is hell, or pain is how or diseases, how, or business failure is how you are using hyperbole because if you could find the person on this planet today who is in the most grievous state of pain and suffering and torment of any person in this world still that person is not totally and absolutely bereft of the gracious presence of God. There is no corner on this planet were at least some light from the face of God shines but for the Jew in his imagery he thinks of the worst of all possible things, the absolute nightmare of humanity is to be in a situation where blessing is totally absent and only curse a box only forsaken this. Is there that is the bad news that is the pronouncement of doom.

I mentioned that only once in Scripture is an attribute of God elevated to the 3rd where the holiness of God is declared holy Holly Holly but there is a passage in the New Testament in the book of the Revelation where the judgment of God is described in graphic imagery, where the Angels fly across the darkened sky and they give their Oracle of doom against this planet, in which the this winged creature cries out with the same intensity of the Seraphim 1010 wall cup of God's wrath is poured out upon the world of the word that announces that judgment comes in the form of the Oracle. It is the Oracle of the wall when the word of God pronounces doom and judgment the prophet uses that term will even as Amos did to the nations into the cities well unto you Damascus for three transgressions well unto you, Israel for three transgressions and for just as Jesus uses that oracular formula in his radical denunciation of the Pharisees and the scribes who were supposed to be the leaders of godliness.

The ministers of grace who became the most fierce opponents of the son of God, he said unto them, while unto you, scribes and Pharisees, you get the credits you go over land and sea to make one convert and after you make and you make him twice. The child of hell than you are yourselves again and again Jesus. This delivers the prophetic Oracle of doom to those men. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, but if we asked the question what is the first prophecy of Isaiah. What is the first Oracle ever uttered by this magnificent prophet of the Old Testament. The first pronouncement of the prophet Isaiah is not against Damascus, not against Israel, not against Judah, not against the scribes, not against the Pharisees.

His first prophetic Oracle is delivered against himself, for when he sees sleep on veiled glory and holiness of God. He cries out 10 is pretty. I am cursed I am worthy of being cast out into the outer darkness well is me. He cries for high and then done.

I intentionally used the older version here because modern translation say woe is me, for I am ruined. Nobody speaks about being undone anymore. What does that mean that I like his selection of words for you see beloved. What Isaiah is experiencing in this moment of encounter with the holiness of God is the process of what we call psychological disintegration.

We say that a person who is virtuous is a person whose whole he's complete in the vernacular. He has his act together.

That is to say the various components of his life are integrated and is therefore a person of integrity will if we would've had a popular pole in Israel and we were gone about the city in the countryside and say who is the man of greatest integrity among you. Certainly, the chief candidate in the eighth century BC would have been Isaiah the pillar of the community. The paragon of virtue this man who was already distinguished for his apparent righteousness has one encounter with the living God, and he comes apart at the same. Is it any wonder that people avoid coming to close to a holy God.

As I've said before what happened in that instant was it for the first time in his life. Isaiah really understood who God was and the immediate reaction and consequence of that was that the first time in his life.

Isaiah knew who I say a lot. We avoid contact with the holy because we know that we are on holy but we try to repress that evaluation. We don't want to hear that word on holy. We want people to tell us how great we are and how righteous we are and how virtuous we are one of the most dangerous things for me or for any minister is to speak about the holiness of God, because as soon as we do. We have people rush off to a sector to 60 Rev. you must be such a holy man because only a holy person would love these things. Say wait a minute. If I'm obsessed and preoccupied with the holiness of God. It's not because I'm holy because I'm not holding and I know it and I know that my only possible hope rests with a holy God who is prepared to forgive me.

There's no other way I can possibly stand and I can't kid myself, and all jokes were finished. For Isaiah one glimpse the unveiled holiness of God, and he disintegrated. Woe is me, for I am undone, for I am a man of unclean lips during mass my mouth reveals my character the things I say or not you or I lie I blaspheme I curse and I realize in this instant is not only is my mouth. 30 but this is a common thing is contagious. I live in the midst of a people of unclean lips lips are unclean because our hearts are and he said for my nice have seen the King, see once he saw that once he saw the truth about the character of God he can light himself anymore. He realized that he was filthy in comparison the purpose of this for Isaiah and for you, was not to destroy his self-esteem, let him understand, the only possible hope for any estate comes from the one who has it perfectly and who accepts us through God's holiness is frightening to sinners because we realize just how sinful we are. If we are to understand the gospel. It's essential that we acknowledge God's holiness or message today was from Dr. RC Sproul's classic series, the holiness of God and you're listening to Renewing Your Mind glad you joined us today I would like to send you a free copy of RC's booklet.

God is holy and it RC provides a clear picture of who God is and why his holiness is so terrifying.

But we also see how God is provided a way to find peace with him. Contact us today will send you one booklet for you and one for a family member or friend ambles in both free of charge. You can call us at 800-435-4343 or you can make your request online@renewingyourmind.org early on in his ministry. RC believe that the Christians have lost a sense of the transcendence of God, his power, his Majesty's holiness. That theme ran through everything that RC taught through the years, and here he is again with a final thought for us. Our current day of thought for this day has to do with Isaiah's response his own personal reaction to seeing the holiness of God.

The me ask you to use your imagination today. How would you respond if you had that vision. If you could step across the veil and look unimpeded at the absolute dazzling curette of God due to you.

Sometimes I hear Christian people speak of God as if he were a buddy in the sense of appear I heard people say I said and what would you do if Christ came in the room right now and they would say all I would go over and taken in the hand and say let's go, Lord. Let's stand together so that you don't know who he is. If he came in the room if you had any sense he would be on the floor on your face at his feet, crying out in before his glory and he would be terrified in your at the site of thank you for being with us today. I hope you'll join us tomorrow as leader teaching fellow, Dr. Robert Guthrie presents a series of learning to love the songs will show us the comfort and peace that we can find in the Psalms in difficult times as Tuesday on Renewing Your Mind


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