Tuesday, June 22, 2010

“Here Am I!” (Isaiah 65:1-2)

S-1195 4SAP/3C Hymns 6/20/10, (O) #3; S #496; (C) #360

Texts: Isaiah 65:1-9; Galatians 3:23-4:7; Luke 8:26-39

Theme: “Here Am I!” (Isaiah 65:1-2)

Questions: Do you volunteer often saying “Here Am I?”


(This sermon is preached in a first person dramatic narrative. Isaiah is visiting Redeemer in Armour, SD during the Divine Service he begins from the back of the church).

The text is based on the O.T. lesson: “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I,’ to a nation that was not called by my name. I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices;’” (Isaiah 65:1-2).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

It was nothing but pure, genuine and beautiful grace to undeserved prophet like me; NOTHING BUT GRACE. There I was in the temple in front of the Mercy Seat, praising my Lord and God. Without any warning the walls, doors, and foundation of the temple shook; the voice of angels sounded; smoke filled the whole temple that I couldn’t see before me... (My face will show fear, cover my face with my hands as I move to another corner.) I was terrified. Fear engulfed my whole being. I froze. I stood in awe. I didn’t know what to expect and then I realized I was standing in the presence of the Holy One of Yesrael (Israel). There was fear! There was Awe! There was silence on my part!!!

When I finally found my tongue [“…] I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!’” (Isaiah 6:5). (Here crutch in fear and hide my face) I screamed, I’m Doomed! It’s Doomsday! I am as good as dead! As I was speaking “[O]ne of the seraphim (that is an angel in your language) flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for’(Is. 6:6). (Smile big here) I knew I should die and be burned up, but that wasn’t the Almighty’s plan. At the sound of the seraph, joy filled my heart and grace was poured upon me like rain to overflowing. Because of God’s mercy, I, Yeshia, will live, and not die.

While still thinking about the words of the seraph God interrupted my thoughts with these words: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Without realized it I said these words: ‘Here am I! Send Me. Something came over me and I spoke those words that changed my life, gave me a message and a ministry to share with the people of Yesrael. But then God spoke again from the smoke filled temple saying: (raise the voice). Go!” (Is. 6:7).

Ever since, that day in the temple when I saw the vision of the Lord God of Yesrael I have gone and proclaimed the salvation of the Lord to a rebellious and obstinate people. I have even written these words down for the people of Yesrael and those who will follow after them, so that they too may know the grace of God, that pure, holy and beautiful GRACE.

Today, as I meet you in your town, I am at the end of my book which bares my name Yeshia (Isaiah) meaning “God Saves.” Here too, God speaks of the vision that will soon take place. In my book you have read about the great promises of God. Some of them you know by heart because you have studied them in your Holy Book. You have read of the Virgin birth of the Savior that I, I (emphasize with sighing) was longing to see with my own eyes but never did. I wrote of His Kingdom saying “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6). And what a Kingdom it will be.

Later on, I introduced you to the God of all comfort and mercy who told me to tell you: Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins”. And still later on, I informed you of the Suffering Servant who will come from the presence of the Holy One of Yesrael to earth and bear upon His shoulders the sins, of the whole world, accepted the punishment and the wrath of God. “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.” That He would be despised and rejected by men and people would hide their faces from Him. He would be the sacrifice that pleases God as He is punished for my sins and lest you forget yours too (Is. 53). PAUSE.

I wrote of the Suffering Servant who will bring about healing and restoration to mankind. I saw with my mind’s eye the suffering and crucifixion of the Virgin birth Child on a cross outside Jerusalem. I heard with my ears of the rebellion of many people, yet God in mercy spread out His hands of GRACE to welcome them to Him.

Now at the end of my life and the book, I see the vision of the extended hands of God reaching out to humanity all the way back to the Garden of Eden calling our rebellious parents Adam and Eve; who tried to hide behind few fig leaves. (Honestly, can you believe fig leaves for clothing?” smile). He also extends His hands of mercy and grace to the future calling us—the rebellious ones to come back to Him. I saw not with my eyes but in my mind’s eye the crucifixion of Christ and Resurrection and believed it. You, too, have seen the crucifixion of Christ and Resurrection not with your eyes, but with your eyes of faith. This came about as the Holy Spirit instructed you through His written Word and you believed it too. THIS IS NOTHING BUT PURE, GENUINE BEAUTIFUL GRACE.

Today, as I visit with you, I want you to see again with eyes of faith my God—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is right here with you. Here there is majesty and awe and reverence. (Change my voice) Here God speaks and the floors, doors and foundations shake and smoke fills the Sanctuary. Here, you too will receive from the seraph the coal from the altar to take away your sins—ALL your sins.

Indeed, you may say to me Yeshia, we don’t see any smoke; we don’t hear the thunder nor see the majesty. Perhaps not physically, but the God of all Mercy and Grace is here with those extended arms. He reaches out to you with His promises saying: “Come, now let us reason together says the Lord, though your sins be like scarlet they shall be as white as snow…” (Is. 1:18); and again He invites YOU to come and dine with Him on His holy mountain as He prepares for you a feast and banquet unequal anywhere in the world of the richest of meat and the finest of wine. {Paraphrased} (Is. 25:6).

Today, you too, during the Divine Service confess your sins and the prophet of the Most High God of Yesrael absolves you of ALL your sins. Every Divine Service is where God comes to you in mercy and grace. Here He takes your clothes of fig leaves and covers you with His robes of holiness. Here He calls you to be His prophet to a rebellious people and sends you out to the world to confess Him. Here in this place He blesses you, feeds you, nourishes you and pours upon YOU His grace. Here He empowers and equips you to be His men and women who answer the call saying, “Here Am I”

A Long time ago, I, Yeshia said, (raise my voice) “Here Am I! Send Me!” by the Grace of God I was able to carry on the ministry and the message to the people of Israel and to you too. But after me, came the Suffering Servant, Yeshua, He, too, said to the God of all Mercy and Compassion: “Here Am I, Send Me.” God sent Him to earth, to fulfill the greatest mercy mission and ministry ever. He suffered a death unlike any other. He was rejected by men, despised and humiliated. He carried upon His gentle body the sin, the punishment and wrath of God to save me, you and the entire world.

As my visit with you comes to an end, let me share my prayers for you as God’s redeemed people. Go, then, into your community, to your job, to your school, to your vacation as the Lord’s servant today. I encourage you to go with the message of God’s grace and mercy…to do our Lord’s will. The life of faith is the only life worth living. And when your brief earthly life ends, you will join me and all the saints in the life that never ends in heaven. And you will join me in worshiping the One whose coming I promised hundreds of years ago: the perfect Yeshua, our Lord and Savior.

(The prophet leaves as quietly as he came from the back).

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