120603 Isaiah 6:1-8

Last Updated on Saturday, 23 June 2012 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Isaiah 6:1 – 8

Sermon Theme: Stand Before the Throne of the Triune God

1. Trembling, Because the Triune God is Holy

2. Rejoicing, Because the Triune God is Merciful

As I begin, I want you to think of someone famous that you have always wanted to meet, but have never had the chance. Now imagine that the person you just thought of is here. How would you feel? Would you be excited? Would you rush up to talk to that person or get their autograph? How would you feel if, instead of an altar, there would be a throne up here; and the one who was sitting on that throne was God himself? Most likely there are a lot of people who would probably say, “Why, that would be wonderful! To be able to see God in person! To be with him and to talk with him and to put my arms around him! What a great experience that would be!” Or would it? Before we get too caught up in all kinds of “warm fuzzies” about what standing in the presence of God would be like, maybe it would be good for us to listen to someone who really did spend some time in the presence of God. In God’s Word before us this morning, we have the account of Isaiah’s experience before the throne of the Lord Almighty. It is here that Isaiah catches more than just a passing glance at God. The one-and-only Triune God offers his prophet the opportunity to see him in his glory and majesty. Today, you and I have a chance to join with Isaiah and STAND BEFORE THE TRHONE OF THE TRIUNE GOD.

It is safe to say that, on this side of heaven, most people will never catch even a “sneak peak” of God. That is what makes this account so different. Because, in his vision, God allowed Isaiah to see him. What exactly did Isaiah see? Listen again to his own words: “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” In Isaiah’s vision, God looks like a king. He is dressed in a kingly robe. He is seated on a throne. He displays the power of a great king. But God was not the only thing Isaiah saw in his vision: “Above [God] were seraphs (angels), each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.” Not only did Isaiah see these angels, but he heard them as well. For he reports to us, “They were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.” Take note of the reaction of the angels as they are in the presence of the Triune God. Even though these angels were perfectly holy and without sin, still when compared to God’s holiness, they felt unworthy. So they covered up their faces and their feet in God’s presence, and gave God the praise and glory he alone deserves.

And how does Isaiah react to this glorious scene? Is he excited? Is he all smiles from ear to ear? No, he is terrified. Listen to his reaction, “‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.’” How does Isaiah feel to be standing in the presence of a just and holy God? He feels unclean. He feels unworthy. He knows the sinful thoughts he has had in his heart. He knows the sinful words that have too easily flowed out of his mouth. He knows that the God he stands before is a God who demands perfection. He is a God who describes himself as an “all-consuming fire”, a “jealous God”, a God “who punishes the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generations”. Isaiah knows what King David wrote about this God in Psalm 5, “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong.” Is it any wonder that Isaiah the sinner is trembling in the presence of this holy and all-consuming God?

Yet, would you and I feel any different? My friends, you realize, don’t you, that Isaiah’s God is still our God today? God still hates sin. God still promises to punish all who are evil. No one can live up to God’s standard of perfection. There is absolutely no way that any of us are able to meet God on his terms and live. If you think I’m wrong, if you think you’re a pretty good person who could stand before the Triune God’s throne on your own, then answer this question for me: If you were to stand before God right now, the God who knows everything you have ever done, the God who sees each and every thought and desire in your heart, would you be comfortable? Would you be confident? Or, would you be afraid? The more closely we look at God and his perfect holiness, and then look at ourselves, we would have to stand before the throne of God trembling and join with Paul when he writes in his letter to the Romans, “I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me…I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

My friends, make no mistake about it, left on our own, you and I are not worthy to stand in God’s presence today. Standing before the Lord Almighty, trying to please him by what we say and do, leaves us only trembling before his throne because of his holiness. But our gracious God has changed all that. The holy Triune God, is also the loving and merciful Triune God. And because our Triune God took action we are able to stand before his throne rejoicing; rejoicing because of his mercy.

Look at how the merciful Triune God deals with Isaiah. While Isaiah is trembling in fear before the throne of the Almighty, what does God do? We read, “Then one of the seraphs (angels) flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’” What a turn of events! The man with the unclean lips has now been made completely clean. The dirt of his sins has been removed. His guilt has been covered up. I would like you to notice two things about this scene. First, notice what Isaiah did in order to be cleansed of his sins. Absolutely nothing! This act of cleansing was entirely the work of the Triune God. The second thing I want you to notice about this scene is where the angel got the live coal that cleansed Isaiah of his sins. We are told that the angel took it from the altar. In Isaiah’s day, the altar was where animals were brought to be sacrificed to make atonement for the sins of the people. Yet all those OT sacrifices were simply pointing ahead to the one, great, complete sacrifice for all sins-the sacrifice that took place on God’s altar, the cross. The Bible tells us that, “Jesus is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Or as we read from the letter to the Hebrews, “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Christ once for all.”

There is one more thing to notice about this vision of Isaiah’s. After the angel touched Isaiah and announced God’s forgiveness, there was a noticeable change in Isaiah’s attitude. In the final verse we read, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Earlier, Isaiah cried out in despair. Now he spoke with boldness. Earlier, he was frozen by his fear. Now, he was eager to serve his Lord. What was the reason for the complete turnaround? God had not changed, but Isaiah’s relationship with the Triune God had changed. God rescued Isaiah from certain death. God plucked him out of the pit of despair. God’s mercy and love motivated Isaiah to say “thank you.” If he were here with us today, Isaiah might say something like, “Thank you, Lord, for your undeserved love. Thank you, Lord, for saving a sinner like me. Thank you, Lord, and now use me. Use me to serve you.”

What we witness in this vision of the Lord’s prophet Isaiah is the same for you and me today. The forgiveness of our sins is not something we are able to accomplish. It’s all God’s work. Left on our own, you and I cannot come to God. Instead, the Triune God graciously comes to us. And how does our God come to us? With the forgiveness which Jesus Christ won for us by his sacrifice on the cross. And the one true God freely gives you and me that forgiveness by means of the Gospel in Word and Sacrament. It is true that God did not touch your lips with a burning coal from his altar. Instead, he used a handful of water in connection with his Word at the time of your Baptism. Instead of placing a burning coal on your lips, the merciful Lord God uses a piece of bread and a cup of wine to give you the very price paid to win your forgiveness, namely the very body and blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And in the words, “given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins,” you hear an echo of the angel’s words to Isaiah, “See, this has touched your lips. Your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Isn’t the mercy of our God amazing?! To think that the all-powerful, eternal Triune God would bind himself to something as common as bread and wine, water and words, and in this way freely give to each one of us individually complete forgiveness for our sins! To think that we who were once totally unclean, and unworthy of anything but God’s condemnation, are now holy and perfect in his sight! To think that rather than being terrified in God’s presence, we are comforted by the knowledge that we are his children, his willing servants who desire to share this Good News with others! Because of Jesus Christ our Savior we are able to stand before the throne of the Triune God rejoicing in his mercy.

In his Word, our God has revealed himself to us as three divine persons, yet only one God. There are many different illustrations that are used to help explain the fact that the one and only true God found in the page of the Bible is the Triune God. Perhaps the most common illustration is the triangle. A triangle has three sides, yet it remains a single shape. While such examples may be helpful, they are incomplete. Your weak human mind and mine are not able to understand fully the mystery of the Trinity. On this side of heaven we will never be able to understand how God exists as three distinct persons and yet is one undivided being. That’s why it is good for us on Trinity Sunday not only to talk about WHO the true God is, but also WHAT he is. The Triune God is a holy God. The Triune God is a merciful God. Most importantly, the Triune God is our loving Savior-God. He has loved you and me from all eternity. He desires nothing more than our forgiveness and to join him before his throne in heaven. This love of our God leads you and me to thank him, to serve him, and to sing along with the angels: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Amen.


Our Mission Statement:

Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.


Worship Schedule

8:00 A.M. & 10:30 A.M.

9:15 A.M. Bible Study for All Ages

Monday at 7:00 P.M.

Television Broadcast
Thursday at Noon & 7:00 P.M.
Sunday at 10:00 A.M.
on Charter Cable Station 985 or on-line


St. Matthew's Lutheran Church
818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066




© 2012. St. Matthew's Lutheran Church • Privacy Notice
Powered by Joomla 1.7 Templates