Introduction: Welcome to Expound our weekly worship and verse by verse study of the Bible. Our goal is to expand your knowledge of the truth of God as we explore the Word of God in a way that is interactive, enjoyable, and congregational.
Nelson Walker: Well, good evening. I have a question: Have you ever had a bad day? There's a guy sitting at an all-night diner at the counter just staring at his drink, staring, staring. After about an hour this big ruffian person next to him just reaches over and grabs it. [drinks] The other guy's just crying. He says, "What's wrong with you?"
"He says, "It's the worst day of my life. I overslept, missed a meeting; my boss fired me. I went to the parking lot; they stole my car. I took a taxi home; I left my wallet, my keys in the taxi. I climbed in the window; my dog bit me. There was a note from my wife that she left me. And I come here thinking about ending my life, and you drink my only cup of poison." [laughter]
Have you ever had a bad day? Isaiah in chapter 6 was having a bad day; actually, he was having a bad year. Isaiah, chapter 6, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on throne, high and lifted up; his train filled the temple. And above the throne flew the seraphim; each having six wings: and with two wings they covered their face, and with two wings they would cover their feet, with two they would fly. And cried out to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is filled with his glory!'
"And the foundations of the temple shook at the voices of those who cried, and the whole place began to fill with smoke. And then I said: 'Woe is me. I am a man of unclean lips, and I live in the midst of a people of unclean lips; and my eyes, they've seen the King, the Lord of hosts.' And then flew to me one of the seraphim, having in his right hand a living coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he laid it on my mouth and said: 'This has touched your lips; your iniquity is removed, your sin is taken away.' And that's when I heard the voice of the Lord say: "Whom shall I send; who will go for Us?" And I responded, 'Here am I! Send me.' "
Let's pray. Father, as we look at this passage, I pray that we would not just see another passage, but that we would see the Author of the passage. We want to see you. We want to encounter you. We want to see you high and lifted up, to tremble at your presence, to hear your voice. Lord, it's not about another Bible study; it's about an encounter with the living God. This night, Lord, we pray for that in Jesus' name.
Isaiah was having a bad day and we start in Isaiah 6 with his testimony. You see, Isaiah had already been a prophet. He'd been doing stuff, chapter 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, then we come to Isaiah 6, and it's his testimony. He had been living a certain way, and now he's telling you why he lives that way. Jesus was approached by Nicodemus, a religious leader, at night, who said, "We know that you're from God because no one can do the things you are doing unless God is with him." The testimony of his lips and the testimony of his life matched together.
Isaiah had been talking about that. Paul would say that. He said, "When we came to you in Corinth, we didn't come just preaching words with men's wisdom, we did so and at the same time demonstrated the Spirit and power of God that your faith wouldn't just be in words, but in the power and the presence of God."
Jesus would tell us, "You're the light of the world. A city set on a hill can't be hid. You don't light a candle and put it under the bed; you light it and put it on a candlestick that all would see it. Let your light shine this way before men, that they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."
Isaiah 6 is telling you why he was who he was. He had an encounter with God. The background was he was having a bad day. He said, "In the year that King Uzziah died." Now, David has Solomon; Solomon dies, and the kingdom splits. You have the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom. The northern kingdom (ten tribes) had nineteen kings; none of them followed the Lord. The southern kingdom Judah had twenty kings; eight of them were called "good" kings who followed the Lord; Uzziah was one of them.
Uzziah had come on the throne at the age of sixteen. "I like that; yeah, I want it." No. So, he comes on the throne at the age of sixteen and he reigned for fifty years. Isaiah's only twenty years old. He's known no other king. This is the king who made the kingdom bigger and stronger and more wealthy, and he's living in this blessed economy, and everything's great—now Uzziah died.
That's not good because, you see when a king dies, it wasn't really smooth; everybody's: "I want to be king." "I want to be king." "I want to be king." And this internal struggle starts happening. And, you know, if somebody gets on the throne and you wanted somebody else, they can take care of business. "We're going to take out all the people. We're going to kill people." You'll read about a lot of king transitions where they not only killed the opposition, but they killed their friends and their family and everybody associated with them because "I'm king now." So Isaiah's got a political disaster.
That's an economic disaster. I mean, the king's gone, so all the people are kind of economically scared. Uzziah had subdued a lot of the little nation states around them, making them pay taxes; they call it "tribute." They're paying taxes; lots of money coming in. These little nations are saying, "What you gonna do, man? As a matter of fact, I'm gonna come take some of yours." So, it's got a little warfare going. And remember this is 740 BC; Assyria, a major world power, is on the move, within twenty years it's going to destroy Israel and take them captive.
So he's got a world war going on, he's got little nations coming after him, he's got a corrupt political system falling apart—his world crumbled. Have you ever been there, by the way? Your world ever fall apart? You weren't doing anything, but Uzziah died. That means your job fell apart, or maybe there's a death, or health issue. Maybe it's not something major, maybe it's just—"You know, this is isn't the way I planned it. You know, by this time I expected—well, not this." You know what I'm talking about? The world just isn't right.
And Isaiah went to the temple. You know, he's gone to the temple all his life. He knew all about God; he could tell you the Scriptures. You read Isaiah, the guy knew his Bible. I mean, we call it Bible now, he knew his scrolls. He goes to the temple, but this time it was different; it wasn't just one more day at church.
It's like Peter when Jesus has said something difficult and everybody's leaving, and Jesus turns and says, "Are you going to go too? Your world's falling apart." And Peter says, "Where are we going to go? Only you have the words of life." So he goes to the temple. Jeremiah will later say, "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with your whole heart." He's seeking God; his world is over. His life is in danger. And in the temple it wasn't just church as usual; he caught of glimpse of God. Oh, would to God that we could do so.
You know, when life is good, we pray King James prayers. You know how that goes? "O Godeth, you're greateth and wonderfuleth and mighteth." And we're just nice and slow and we sound good. But when the world falls apart, it's more like, "Help! Help!" "What's wrong with you?" He says, "Nothing's wrong with me-eth, it's you-eth." God's in control. He sees God on the throne, high and lifted up, and he's holy.
Paul tells us, "We don't look at the things that are seen, but the things that are not seen. For the things that we see are temporal; the things that are not seen, they are eternal." Isaiah got a glimpse behind the veil into the eternal, and said, "That's real." Not this—oh, it's real, but that's really real.
So here's Isaiah, he sees this, and he see the seraphim, the angels. Seraphim is a type of angel; saraph means burning. Have you ever had someone take your picture, but rather than looking in the lens you stared into the flashbulb? Anybody else do that? Okay. "I can't see." Well, that's what this means. These guys are like a flashbulb that stayed on. And they're around God, and two of them will cover their face because, you know, they can't look on the holiness of God and live. We can't look and live; they can't look. They covered their feet, because you can't walk in the presence of God. "Moses, take your sandals off your feet; where you're standing is holy ground."
The burning ones can't even look on God. He sees these angels, and he sees the brightness of God shining, and he sees him on the throne. This isn't a snapshot though, this isn't just a picture; this is a movie. What's going on is worship. When the veil between this world and that world opened up, he saw the angelic beings worshiping and praising God.
Same thing happens in Revelation. The voice from on high says, "Come up here." And John is caught up and he says, "And I saw the living creatures, each of them with six wings," sounds familiar, "full of eyes within and without. Crying out continuously, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!' " The only attribute of God mentioned more than—and we when we say attribute it's like God is love, God is mercy, God is justice—holy is mentioned three times, the trifecta. The chief attribute of God is his holiness, his greatness, his otherness, his out-there-ness. God is holy. When the veil is lifted, he sees God, and he sees worship.
So I want to talk about worship tonight. Now, worship is bigger than singing a song. The Scripture says, "Whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord." Paul says, "I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies to God a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable form of worship."
So, worship is everything, but let's focus in on what the angels are doing—declaring the greatness of God. We see a couple of things. First, it's central to the throne. God is there; the angels are praising the Lord. We are told that worship is central to the throne of God, and we are told to do the following:
David: "Know that the Lord himself is God; it is he who made us; not we ourselves; we are the people and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving; enter his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his loving kindness is everlasting, his faithfulness to all generations." So we begin with these people who can worship the Lord. We enter his presence with thanksgiving and with praise. It's central to the throne of God.
Secondly, it's a fact, not a feeling. "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty." You know, that's true whether I feel like it or not, because sometimes I don't feel like it. You know what I'm talking about? It's, like, "God, I don't kind of want you here right now, because I'm just having a bad hair day." He is holy.
Right now I just want to think about vengeance. You know, that person that I drove—this is today, that person that I'm driving behind is texting and driving and weaving in the road. I'm laying on my horn—really, it was dangerous. None of you do that, I'm sure. I was having a moment. I was having a conversation with him and I wasn't even in the car with him. Oh, come on, you've done it. [laughter]
I was in a place I shouldn't be, but God is still worthy of praise. I didn't want him there right then because I was not exactly—okay, let's not go there. So, we have central to the throne of God; it's a fact, not a feeling; third, it's a response to his presence. "I saw the Lord." You know, we love him because he first loved us, not because we are some kind of great, loving creature. We are lost, hopeless sinners loved by God who merely respond. And it declares what he's doing in filling the earth with his glory.
These four characteristics make up worship, and this is what we're going to talk about as we go through this passage in Isaiah 6 tonight. We're going to talk about the threefold foundation of worship, which is perspective; we're going to talk about the threefold act of worship, which is performance; and we're going to talk about the threefold result of worship, which is product.
So let's start with the threefold foundation of worship. The first foundation of worship is God's on the throne, he is transcendent, he is other, he is holy. On the throne means: "My world [Isaiah] has fallen apart; politics, social, everything is a mess. I saw the Lord seated on the throne." You know, God's throne is not moved because my world is. God does not get off his throne—he rules. The first foundation of worship is that we acknowledge that he is transcendent, he is sovereign.
The Scripture says, "Let God be true though every man becomes a liar." Paul tells us in Second Corinthians that we are to "cast down our imaginations, every evil thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ." God is on the throne. "As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are his ways above my ways," but that brings a problem. If God is on the throne, and he's in control, and he's loving, why is everything such a mess?
Lord of the Rings, King Theoden, he's standing, it's a funeral, people around. And the people have left, and he's standing there crying, and he turns to Aragorn, and through tears says, "No parent should ever have to bury their child." Yeah, sometimes some bad things happen, and so theologians come up with this great word called theodicy: the problem of evil and suffering, and an all-powerful God. And, you know, I could do a Bible study and cross the t's and dot the i's; I could write a thesis on it; I could get an A paper. I know about theodicy.
But, you know, sometimes things happen and it's your fault. You know, there's a lady speeding on the highway and she got pulled over. Officer's writing a ticket. "Wait, don't I get a warning?" "Of course, you get a warning." "I didn't get a warning." "Yes, you did. There was a sign back there said "Speed Limit." Yeah, we bring it on ourselves, and sometimes we don't understand.
Jesus' disciples: "Why was this man born blind, because of his sin or his parents?" You know, if a bad thing happened, you did something wrong. Jesus said, "Well, neither did he sin nor his parents. He was just born blind." Okay, try to figure that one out. You know, we think that our life should always be blessed and perfect.
I used to bribe my children. I wanted them to eat their vegetables, so I put the dessert in the middle of table first, and then served them their vegetables, and say, "You must finish what's on your plate before you get dessert." Come on, you guys know what I'm doing. But my son wanted everything perfect, and he says, "Dad, why don't we just eat dessert first?" And we as Christians say, "God, why don't we just not have any pain and suffering now? Let's just have dessert now." You know, sometimes you gotta eat a few vegetables. Now, somebody out here vegetarian saying, "What's wrong with this, man? What's wrong with—" Okay, so. [laughter]
You know, the problem here is if God's on the throne, how come there's pain and suffering? And like I said, the theologians come up with a big word called theodicy and they explain it, and I could give a good Bible study on it. But I remember a time in my life, and the details aren't important, but, man, I didn't see that bus coming. It was so hard. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't eat. The emotional devastation was so great, I got physically ill. And it just went on and on. The pain and the suffering of "How could this happen?" Anybody know what I'm talking about?
I'm not giving the details, but anybody walk down that it's just, "What happened? I thought I was living for the Lord. God, where are you?" And, you know, I could do that Bible study, and I had other Christians that could do that Bible study, and they'd say, "Oh, you know, all things work together for good." And it's, like, "Yeah, thanks for the salt on the wound, man." "Well, you know, in everything give thanks." "Oh, yeah, thanks for not allowing me to mourn." "You need to talk about it." "No, man, I'm sinking in pain, in a whirlpool that's sucking me down, because I don't know what happened, and I can't control this—and, O God, where are you?"
And I could give you a Bible study, but I'll tell you, it came down to this: when you don't understand, you got to trust God because he loves you. That's it, skip the study. When you don't understand, you still have to trust God, because sometimes you don't get dessert first. Sometimes life is not what we want it to be. Anybody know what I'm talking about? Trust the Lord. You trust him because God loves you. It's just real simple. I can give you a Bible study, but you still have to trust God because he loves you.
So, the first foundation of worship is God is transcendent, he's on the throne, he's in control. The second foundation of worship is that he is majestic, he is worthy. Because it says, "Holy, holy, holy." You know, he is worthy of my praise, and that we are to offer a sacrifice of praise, a sacrifice from our lips. You know, sometimes praising God is a sacrifice. It's not easy; it's not coming naturally. It comes real natural when I win the lottery. I've never won the lottery, so that's—but it comes really naturally when good stuff happens. You know what I'm saying?
There are other times it's not easy, especially when I don't like the song, you know. "Dude, I don't like that song. Why are we singing it?" It's worship. You're laughing because you know what I'm talking about. You probably tapped your neighbor earlier and said, "I don't like it." No, I'm—stay focused, stay focused.
The Lord inhabits the praises of his people, and you know the God of the whole world's going to do what's right. He is worthy of praise. He's on the throne. He's worthy of praise and we ascribe his worthiness. But, you know, he's also immanent. Immanent means he's near us. Jesus said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am with you until the end of the age." Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures." You're familiar with the psalm.
Psalm 139, "Where can I flee from your presence? Where? If I ascend to heaven, you are there. If I descend into hell, you are there. If I lie down sleeping, you are there. When I wake up, you are with me. Your right hand, it leads me, it guides me. If I take the wings of morning, and fly to the farthest parts of the earth, even there you are with me. Your thoughts for me are more than the sands of the sea. This is too great; I cannot attain it." So, God is on the throne, he is sovereign, he is worthy, and he is near you.
So we move from the foundation of worship that God is transcendent, he's on the throne, high and lifted up. When we don't understand what's going on, we still hold to what we know; you know, God does love you, that God is worthy. He's going to do what's right, even if I don't like what he is doing. And that we can expect God's presence, because he is near us, and will never leave us or forsake us.
And we move from the foundation of worship to the threefold act of worship. See, the first act of worship as it is directed to the Father; one, for who he is; and, two, for what he is doing. We declare who God is for in him is the fountain of life, and in his life we see light." "For in him we live and move and have our being." As certain as the Old Testament prophets and the stoic philosophers have said. "Every good gift, every perfect gift comes from the Father of lights, with whom is no shadow of turning or changing of patterns."
You know, he is worthy to be praised for who he is, but also for what he is doing. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us," as Paul, "with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ." "We give thanks to God," says Paul in another passage, "who has qualified us to inherit eternal life with all the other saints." [The worship team.]
Peter also says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, who by his great mercies has caused us to be born again to a new and living hope." The first act of worship is that we worship God for who he is—he is God; and what he is doing—saving us. And so, we would sing such songs as "I Exalt Thee."
[worship team plays "I Exalt Thee"]
So the first act of worship that is directed [have a seat] to God the Father for who he is and what he is doing. The second act of worship comes from the New Testament; it is mediated through Jesus Christ. "There's one God, but there's one go-between, one Mediator between God and man, the man Jesus Christ." "We have confidence," the writer of Hebrews says, "to enter into the very presence, the holiness of God through the veil that has been torn open by the blood, the body of Jesus Christ."
Jesus says that he stands at the door and knocks, if anyone would open that door, he'd come in, and there would be this intimate fellowship between the Father, us, and Jesus because of the presence of God brought through Jesus Christ. So, the first act of worship: we exalt God for who he is and what he's doing; the second is because of the presence of Jesus Christ in our life. He mediates our relationship with the Lord, and so we sing such worship songs as "I Love Your Presence."
[worship team plays "I Love Your Presence"]
So, the first act of worship directed to God the Father for who he is and what he's doing; the second act, it's mediated through the Son; the third is it's empowered by the Holy Spirit. Remember Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman? He said, "The hour is coming, and now is, that those who worship God would worship him in the spirit and in truth; for the Father seeks such to worship him."
It was in Acts, chapter 2, that the Holy Spirit fell on the church. Prior to that, the Holy Spirit would only come upon the prophets and the priests, a couple of selected guys. They're speaking in tongues, and a mighty rushing wind, and people saying, "Oh, what's going on here? It sounds like all these languages; we understand them. These guys are drunk."
And he said, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no. Men and brethren," says Peter, "what you're hearing and seeing now is what was prophesied by the prophet Joel [Joel, chapter 2]: 'In those days I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; upon men and upon women, upon your sons and your daughters, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. On my servants, on my handmaids I will pour out my Spirit without measure. They will see visions, they will have dreams."
You know, it's the greatness of the Holy Spirit, and the Scripture says that he makes intercession for us with groanings that can't be uttered. Because we all think that we've got that great prayer stuff, but half the time we don't really understand what we're praying, and we pray amiss.
When my daughter was a toddler, she used to come up to me with this empty bottle and say, "Daddy, juice. Daddy, juice." Now, this is what it meant: "Take this nasty, old, empty bottle and put it in the dishwasher, and then sanitize it, and get one of those clean bottles, put 50 percent juice, 50 percent water—bottled water, mind you—and put it in the microwave for twenty seconds so that it's more than room temperature, but not too hot, and give it back to me, and do it in less than two minutes or I'll cry." [laughter]
Hi, Sweetheart. She's older now, um, because we let her in the service. It's a—I had this love relationship—have—had and have a love relationship with my daughter that meant I could interpret her prayers. Your Father, because of the Holy Spirit, has a love relationship with you that interprets your prayers. And I might be saying, "Daddy, juice," but by the time it gets to him, it's a whole different thing. He's going to answer the prayer. [applause]
And, so, some songs we sing talk about being empowered by the Spirit, and we would sing such things as "We Are Hungry."
[worship team plays "We Are Hungry"]
So, we worship the Father for who he is and what he's doing, mediated through the Son the author and finisher of our faith, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Many acts of worship combine all these three. So, coming right out of the Scriptures one area that combines directed to the Father, mediated through the Son, empowered by the Spirit, is a song that comes from the book of Revelation, so we call it "Revelation Song."
[worship team plays "Revelation Song"]
So, the first act of worship is that it was directed to God the Father for who he is, and what's he is doing; the second act, it is mediated through the Son; and the third act of worship is it is empowered by the Spirit. Now, if we go back to our passage: "In the year that King Uzziah died, my world fell apart. I saw the Lord seated on the throne, high and lifted up. The train of his robe filled the temple. And above it were the seraphim crying, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty; the whole earth is filled with his glory.' "
He sees God transcendent, he sees God lifted up, he sees God majestic, but he also sees God as near. So, he acknowledges God's majesty, ascribes God's worth—"he is near me"—he moves to the act of worship to the Father, through the Son, empowered by the Spirit. And then we come to the result of worship in verse 6. "Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips." You know what that means? I'm a sinner. That's what it is.
"The Lord's hand is not short that he cannot save, nor is the Lord's ear deaf that cannot hear, but your sins have separated between you and God." "I pray all the time." So; lots of people pray. If the sin hasn't been taken care of—but notice he says, "Woe is me, I'm a man of unclean lips, and I live in the midst of a people of unclean lips." You see, true repentance isn't about "me" only. It's, like, "I got my salvation. I'm good." No--I and my people.
Think of the prayers of the Old Testament saints. Daniel: "O God, we have sinned. We have gone against you." Nehemiah: "O Lord, I and my people, we have sinned." Here, the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our sins." Paul: "I could wish that I were accursed from Christ if it would save my brethren." True repentance, folks, isn't just about "me," true repentance is a grieving. I go to church, I learn this stuff, I got the words, I can give the Bible studies, but when I'm in the presence of God, it's, like, "O Lord, as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are your ways above my ways."
All my righteousness, my good stuff, like Paul would say, is nothing more than filthy rags. Paul says, "I was a Jew, I was a Hebrew of Hebrews, I was circumcised the eighth day, of the tribe of Benjamin; as touching zeal, I persecuted the church; as touching the law, I was a Pharisee. As touching the righteousness and the law, I was blameless, sinless. But it was nothing more than refuse before Christ, and I'm willing to be thrown away if it would save others, because it's not about me, it's about him."
When I see God for who he is, I mourn for my sins, but I mourn for the sins of my nation. You know, I could stand up here, and I've heard people stand in pulpits across this nation and list all the wrongs in this nation—there are a lot wrongs. It's about exalting God, not pointing fingers. It's about grieving for the sins of my nation, and saying, "God, save us! Woe is me; woe is us," rather than slamming everybody who's not as good as I am.
They're non-Christians, what do you expect them to act like? I was a non-Christian, and I don't want to talk about the stuff I did; I'm ashamed of my life. I'm ashamed of a lot of stuff I did as a Christian too. "Woe is me, I'm a man of unclean lips." When he sees God for who he is, he sees sin for what it is.
You know what I hate? I hate it when you open up the blinds, and the sun beats through the window, and you see how dirty the house really is. It's clean when it's dark. [laughter] You notice how when women put on the makeup they turn the lights down. I'm not saying, I'm just telling you. You go out to dinner in these romantic restaurants; they don't have bright lights in there, because that guy's got wrinkles all and everything. Bright lights, the presence of God reveals the truth. "Woe is me," not "look at them."
So, the first result of worship is repentance—woe is me. The second result of worship is redemption. "Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a tong and living coal which he took from the altar. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, 'Behold, this has touched your lips, your sin is taken away, your iniquity is purged.' "
" 'Come, let us reason together,' saith the Lord, 'Though your sins be as scarlet, I can make them as white as snow; though they're red as crimson, I can make them white as wool,' " Because my righteousness is nothing more than filthy rags.
"God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we would be the righteousness of God in him." He changed our garments. Jesus hung on the cross with my sin, and he took his righteousness and gave it to me. I don't deserve it. We don't deserve it, but God loves you. God wants you to spend eternity with him. He put eternity in your hearts to call you home. There might even be some people here tonight—ah, man, if you don't know the Lord, you take care of business.
There is eternity in your heart; you know it's not there. But some of us as believers we get this salvation, but we don't really have peace and hope and purpose, because maybe we haven't done what the writer of Hebrews says. It's not just knowing the basics about the Lord, it's time to move on and grow up in the faith. It's not about me and my salvation, it's about me and my nation.
The first result is repentance; the second is redemption, the wiping away of sin. You know, the third is revival. After his sin is taken away, he says, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? Who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.' "
I love reading about revivals. My favorite is the Welsh Revival. We've got the Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening, the Jesus Movement of the sixties and the seventies. The Welsh Revival—the nation was so corrupt the political leaders were falling apart. They were just—they were on the take, they were breaking laws, they weren't listening to the people, they were gathering riches, they were forcing their own agendas.
The jails were so crowded they had to keep building more, but they couldn't build them fast enough, so they had to release criminals on to the street so that they could put more in. Houses of prostitutions and bars and pornography was everywhere. Coal mining was one of the main industries where, you know, they go down. These guys, man, these guys were vile and vulgar. And three young ladies in a youth group and a young pastor got together, start praying for revival of corrupt, politically corrupt, evil nation with all the vices you can think of, and God answered their prayer.
Within a year this nation—nation—had come to the Lord. The politicians prayed publicly. The houses of prostitution, the pornography, the bars closed; there were no customers, and the prostitutes got saved anyway. They had to convert jails into churches because: "We don't have any prisoners, but we need more churches."
I love the story about how the mines—you've heard of the mule trains. The mules would hook up to the little trains so that they could take them down the tracks to put the coal in, and then take it back out again. The mules couldn't obey the orders anymore because the guys are now saying, "Go." That's not what they used to say; they're language was much more colorful. The mines had to be shut down until they could retrain all the mules, because God swept a nation and turned it upside down in one year.
It's not about the political system. It's not about these little skirmishes on this moral issue that it's not safe for women to walk the street. It wasn't safe for women to walk the street. It's not about these things. These are skirmishes, our voices should be heard, we should vote and that stuff, yes. But if God sent revival, one revival, God could do in a minute what I could spend a lifetime trying to do and failing. I've seen it in history.
"Here am I!" he says. "Whom shall I send? Who will go for Us?" Isaiah says, "Here am I!" You know, instead of fighting against stuff—now, we should be heard. I'm not saying go into our own little holes like the fundamentalist used to, it's—"Don't talk to anybody." No, we should be heard, but what if God sent another revival? He's turned entire nations upside down. These men would turn the world upside down. If they'd come to us, the Roman Empire would make us look tame when it comes to morality; they became a Christian nation.
People talk about the "Reagan Revolution," you know, that happened ten years after the Jesus movement. If it wasn't for the Jesus Revival, there would have been no Reagan Revolution. You know, the battle that needs to be fought is this one. [on bended knees] Save our nation! [applause]
Second Chronicles 7:14, a promise to the nation of Israel: "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways,"—ah, repentance. You notice it said, "If my people will humble themselves,"—that's me—"and pray and turn from my wicked ways." That's not pointing out all the wickedness around me, that's me repenting for me, for my nation. "If my people called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, turn from their wicked ways, then from heaven will I hear and forgive them of their sins,"—God, woe is me, me, my nation—"and heal their land."
What battle am I fighting, huh? Do I mourn over my sin? Do I pray to God for revival, or am I just content to eat dessert first, and get upset because I had to eat a carrot? Am I upset because God didn't give me the blessings I want? Am I upset because, maybe, just maybe God wants to send revival and I'm all stuck on me? I'm not trying to beat you up; I'm beating myself up.
The first result of worship is repentance, the second result is redemption, the third is revival. Let me back up, Isaiah chapter 6 verse 1, the foundation: "I saw the Lord, high and lifted up." I acknowledge God's on the throne. You know, my world could be falling apart—your world ever fall apart? My world could fall apart, but God's on the throne, and I can trust the God of the whole world to do what's right. And even if I don't understand, I know he loves me.
And there's no reason for me to get angry and throw a temper tantrum. It's: "I'm not going to go to church and I'm not going to fellowship. And I don't . . . and I just . . ." I got to get over me. I'm my own worst enemy. I don't need Satan to tempt me; I can fall all by myself. So, the first foundation of worship is I acknowledge God's majesty. I don't understand everything, but I do know this—God loves me.
Second foundation of worship we looked at, it was ascribing God's worthiness—"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty." You know, he's worthy of my praise regardless; and expecting his presence, the whole earth is filled with his glory. He'll never leave you, he'll never forsake you.
We looked at the act of worship directed to God the Father for who he is, for what he's doing, mediated through the Son Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, empowered by the Holy Spirit who sent by Jesus will lead us and guide us into all truth, and will sanctify us and help us to grow that we might see the result of worship.
True repentance for myself and for my nation. Not just "God saved me and bless me. Those wicked people over there. He's on the cell phone and driving the car." Get over myself. Now, it's wrong that he does that, okay. I never do. I never lie either. [laughter] The result being repentance, true repentance, real repentance in the presence of a holy God, on my face. O God, forgive me and my people. To see redemption, real redemption, not fire insurance, and I go to church and then I go home and I treat my wife badly. Real redemption where my life is changed that I might see real revival.
You know, Paul sums this up in what's called the doxology, an eighteen-word praise. Romans chapter 11 verse 36, he says, everything begins in God, comes through God in us, and results in God. It says, "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory and honor both now and forever. Amen." So, God is still making the call, "Who will go?"
Father, oh, that I could really see you. That I could really see beyond the veil, beyond my world, and see you high and lifted up, your train filling the temple, hearing the angelic choirs. Oh that, Lord, I would really truly turn from my sins and see my nation come to you. I call on you, Lord, to change me, and I pray, Lord, I pray like those three adolescent girls and one pastor who prayed, "Lord, revive us." Revive us, in Jesus' name.
Now, "may the Lord bless you and keep you; and may the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; may the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace." And in the words of Jude, "Unto him who is able to keep you from falling, and present you before the presence of his glory blameless, to the only wise God our Savior, to him be all glory and honor, dominion and power, now and forever. Amen." God bless.