Michael Youssef - He's on the Throne
Every now and again I'll be sitting and reading the Scripture, it has nothing to do with the preaching series, it has nothing to do with my daily Bible devotional reading that I have implemented in the last 26-27 years. Just out of the clear blue, the Lord will take me to a passage and I begin to read and sometimes the Lord gives me insights and I'll write them down and file them away; some I use, some I don't. And this one, it was one of those slow Saturday, and it happened to have been August 15th, I wrote the note down.
When the Lord has taken me to the Prophet Isaiah, and I was reflecting on Isaiah chapter 6, verse 1, and you can go ahead and start turning to it, and the Lord began to give me some insights and I did not know if I ever use that or not but I wrote it down. But obviously, today is the day that the Lord would have me share this word from his Word with you. I think we, as a people, have been through some trauma to say the least, trauma that we have not known in our lifetimes and I'm talking about people my age or even older and certainly younger. Not only we have this pandemic that's created the biggest fear, worry, anxiety since World War II, but we have experienced a very bruising, if not dislocating, election season; and we're not finished yet.
In times like these times we are going through, it is imperative, let me repeat this, it is imperative, can you say that with me? It is imperative, it is not recommended, it is not suggested, it is not just preferable, it is imperative that we go to God's own Words and learn from his prophets, from his, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, writers, and learn what can we do in our time as they did in their time? During the time of the prophet Isaiah, the nation was experiencing a severe crisis, the nation was traumatized. This crisis, and the confusion that had arisen from it, was the death of a good king who was the hope of the nation, and I hope that you already have turned to Isaiah chapter 6, and this king died.
By the way, if you don't have your Bible, page 1068, 1068 in the pew Bible, just grab it from the front of you, follow with me, please, because it's important. The Word of God said, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord". Let me repeat this, "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple". King Uzziah reigned for 52 years, this is a very long time even by Israel standards, and during most of his reign he was known to be a good king, a good man.
In the time of his ruling he brought about prosperity and peace, in fact, next to King David and King Solomon, those two kings, Uzziah reigned the most peaceful time in Israel, it was truly a time of prosperity, but that's not all. It was not only a time of victory over the enemies, it was a time of experiencing a boom in the religious activities, their patriotism was restored, their national policies were far more God-honoring than immediately before or after. The people saw a leader, flawed as he was, and I'm gonna show you in a minute how flawed he was, but one who feared God. In fact, in the latter years of his reign, he allowed pride to take hold of him, and that pride allowed him to brag about what he has done, and brought the demise of Judah; he wasn't perfect, but he was a God fearer.
Nevertheless, on the face of it, as I said, he was a God fearer and a good man, and the prophet Isaiah, like all the patriotic Israelites at the time, he was anxious about the post-Uzziah time. But like all godly and wise persons, Isaiah took his anxiety, he took all of his worries, he took all of his apprehensions to the sanctuary in the presence of the Lord. He went on his knees of prayer, Isaiah, in the sense was brooding in prayer, have you ever brooded in prayer? I have, oh, many times, brooding in prayer. And the Lord gave him a splendid vision, an amazing vision, a unique vision. Look at the Words again with me, please. "In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord".
Now listen, the reason he's telling us that, that it was the year, it's not like, you know, "Where were you when Kennedy was shot"? This is not a historic marker, this was not a historic landmark, we just say, "Well it happened during that time". No-no-no-no, this was more than just a chronological marker, this is not only about when and where the vision occurred, but rather, he's telling us that something far more significant had happen than the death of Uzziah and that we would all do well to focus on it. He is telling us about something far more enduring, he is telling us that even though he was shell-shocked while good and a God fearing king laying dead, the true King of Israel is neither dead nor he has a successor.
The true King of kings is on his throne regardless of who's sitting on earthly thrones, and so in the middle of his scene of anxiety and worry and fear and apprehension about the future, in the middle of this uncertainty, a feeling of lostness in the midst of his loss of hope, in the midst of his grief, God gives Isaiah a renewed vision. Isaiah went into the presence of God with a crippling burden of anxiety, his burden was: What is the future going to hold for us? What awaits our children and grandchildren? What will the economic forecast be? What will the current leaders do? But, he came out of the presence of God with a spring in his step, he came out of the presence of God with a lightness of heart, he came out of the presence of God with a renewed sense of mission, and he said, "Here I am, send me".
Beloved, I believe the Lord today will teach us great lessons from this vision of the prophet Isaiah. This vision ought to lift up our sagging spirits, this vision ought to lighten our heavy hearts, this vision ought to strengthen our wobbly knees. This vision ought to remind us afresh of the King, our King, our only King, who is on his throne right now, and he never abdicates, he has never abdicated and will never abdicate. Please listen to what I'm gonna tell you, it's really-really important, because we live in the New Testament, Isaiah was living in the Old Testament. But because we live in the New Testament, we have an even greater understanding than that of Isaiah, because unlike Isaiah, he did not know or experience the power and the strength of the resurrected Jesus.
We have greater vision than that of Isaiah today, our King, who was crucified, buried and for three days was in the tomb, rose victoriously over death on the third day. Our King, who was mocked and flogged, rose victoriously never to die again. Our King, who was hated and had nowhere to lay his head, is reigning and ruling on the rim of the universe even now. This is not gonna be a very prolonged message, I have very, two brief things I wanna share with you about this vision. First of all, I want you to notice the circumstances that surrounding this vision, and the second thing I want you to notice is the Lord's compassion over and toward Isaiah's apprehension.
It was when King Uzziah died that Isaiah saw the Lord, I know, don't get confused as to Uzziah and Isaiah, and I know I pronounce Uzziah the English way, not the American way, but you understand all right, you understand my accent? It's Isaiah, Uzziah and Isaiah, Uzziah is the king, it's with the U, Isaiah with the I is the prophet of God. He saw him in his splendor and majesty, wouldn't you love to have a sight like that? Sitting on his throne in heaven, I think we do by faith, we really do. As if God is saying to Isaiah, listen carefully please because I believe with all my heart this is a Word from the Lord not just to us here but to the millions of people watching around the world, that the throne of Israel might have been vacated but the Lord God Almighty is still on his throne in heaven.
Beloved, listen to me, get ready, get ready, get ready, can you say that with me? Get ready, get ready, the God of power and might is ready to manifest himself among his faithful remnant. I'm not talking about all the professing Christians, I'm talking about faithful believers, faithful remnant. Get ready, get ready, get ready to experience greater power than you have ever seen before in your life. In the midst of fear, pain, grief and disappointment, God is saying, "Look at me, look at me. I, who once was dead, I'm now alive forever. I am the only one who can give you a vision for your life, I'm the only one who can send you on a mission for you and for your family, I'm the only one who can pour out my Spirit of joy and peace and zest for life, that no one can take away from you. I, the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords, now can be your eternal possession".
Beloved, listen to me, just as the leaves fall and when they fall in the autumn season it gives us a wider perspective. As you many know, I live in a high rise and and in the summer I don't see any of the houses but after the fall, I see also their houses there. It gives you greater perspective after the leaves fall, just as when falling trees, we've got a lot of them in Atlanta I notice, when these falling trees give us greater view of the blue sky; just as when the night fall brings about a brighter splendor of the stars; just as when you have no more props to lean on, it causes you to lean on the Lord.
In the same way, when King Uzziah died, the King of kings became more visible, he became more visible. And that's what any loss, any sorrow, personal or national, it doesn't matter, any loss, any sorrow, any pain, any fear, any disappointment can do for us. It makes us know and lean on the Lord like we've never done before, can I get an amen? That is, if we don't waste our uncertainty, if we don't waste our apprehension.
Well the second thing I want to share with you, I want to show you the amazing compassion of our Lord toward Isaiah's apprehension, the amazing compassion. God did not just show Isaiah a general revelation of his sovereign rule, he could've done that, no-no-no, but he gave him a very special revelation. A revelation of his total control of the universe, a revelation of his protection of his hurting people, a revelation of his sympathy toward his children, a revelation of his understanding of their feelings of fear and apprehension and anxiety.
And beloved, this is a huge vision, it's a huge vision, and I pray to God help us comprehend it, I really do. I believe with all my heart that what God is saying to us is this. Just like the water takes the shape of the vessel that it's carried in, our Lord shapes his presence in our lives according to our needs, can I get an amen? And just as he revealed his kingly power in a unique way to the prophet Isaiah during a time of national anxiety, he will meet each one of us at our point of need. That's how God, just as God came to Isaiah manifesting his kingly power when the throne of Judah now vacated, so will King Jesus. Hear me right, please. King Jesus becomes closer to us in our time of pain and suffering than any other time.
I told you many times that I have experienced the joy of the presence of the Lord more in my brokenness than in the time of sunshine. God may empty the thrones of our dependence on anyone or anything or any entity so that he may fill it himself. God may permit us to go through dark tunnels but that's so that he may lead us out of the tunnel into the brightness of his sunshine out of that tunnel. Listen to me, God wants us to know that whoever your Uzziah is, and whenever you're Uzziah dies, we can look up to the true King. The resurrected, glorified, soon-coming King Jesus is the king of glory.
And if you fix your eyes on him, if you set your heart on him, if you place your total hope only on him, losses may come and go, circumstances will change, politicians will come and go, the economic conditions will go up or down, even death can unclasp the hands, or our hands from the hands of loved ones; but nothing, nothing, nothing, say it with me, nothing will take away the only one who can fill up our empty spaces. When John the Revelator was exiled in the rocky Patmos, the island of Patmos, he saw the glorified Jesus. He saw the glorified Jesus and Jesus said to him, said, "Weep not, John, weep not. I am the Alpha and the Omega, I'm the beginning and the end and everything in between".
And when we see a vision of the glorified Jesus we can endure, no, we can even thrive until that day when he comes back and we see him face to face, and it looks to me to be closer than ever. If you go down a few more verses you notice Isaiah sees the seraphim worshiping, these must be fearsome, awesome creatures. You know how in the Bible every time they appeared, whether it be to Joseph or to Mary, anybody, he always says, "Fear not," they must be fierce looking creatures. These angels and these seraphim, powerful, fearsome creatures, they were worshiping the Lord, in the presence of the Lord crying, "Holy, holy, holy Lord".
Beloved, if you know anything about me, you know the one thing that breaks my heart and has been for quite a while now, the one thing that breaks my heart is that God's people, I'm not talking about the people outside the church, I'm talking about God's people have lost their sense of awe and reverence of God. What breaks my heart is when I see God's people, pastors and preachers and megachurch pastors and church leaders, they take more interest in sports and politics and they take it more seriously than they take the Word of God. What breaks my heart is that we have lost the sense of awe and wonder of the majesty of God.
God's people care more about sexual freedom than the freedom from sin that Jesus came to give us. God's people care more about so called sexual revolution and not wanting to be on the wrong side of history than they care about God's self-revelation. But here today, the Bible remind us, that this lofty chorus, "Holy, holy, holy," is a declaration that God is above and is separate from all the limitations and the imperfections of his creation. Today, when I look at their carelessness, the carelessness and the shallowness of the average professing Christian worship, it makes me cringe, it reminds me of what God said to Uzziah.
Now when he saw the hypocrisy of Israel's worship, God said, "I can't look at it, I've got to hide my eyes, I can't look at it". I'm wondering if God's not hiding his face because when Isaiah saw Jesus, saw the Lord, he did not say, "Isn't that wonderful? Ah, isn't it sweet of God to do that? The power is in my tongue, I claimed it, I named it, I claimed it and it's mine". No-no, "Woe to me, I'm undone".
Beloved, would you listen to me? This is gonna be a short message, I'm coming close to the end so listen carefully. I hope to God that you'll never forget what I'm gonna tell you. You cannot possibly see God without also seeing your sin, you cannot possibly see God, we cannot possibly see God without recognizing our sinfulness and his amazing grace. We cannot possibly see God without totally confessing our sins and coming clean with God, it's impossible. They can claim all they want, without repentance there can be no salvation. And when Isaiah saw the holy and sinless angels worshiping God in utter reverence, he becomes stricken by his unworthiness, by his unworthiness.
And when Isaiah found himself in that state, crying out, "Woe to me," the angel flew over and went to the altar and he took a burning coal from the altar, a symbol of purity, anointing, and he takes that hot coal and he marches it on his lips. When Isaiah recognizes uncleanliness and the uncleanliness of his lips, the angel cleansed him. When David confessed to the Lord and cried buckets after he came under conviction by the prophet Nathan and he said, "I sinned before the Lord," that confession and repentance was so dear to God and he said, "David, I forgive you". Listen to me, anyone becomes conscious stricken by his or her sin and failure, that leads to divine forgiveness, can I get an amen?
Beloved, there is no other way, there is no other way, this is God's way, this is Jesus's way, this is the New Testament way, this is the only way. I just got a letter this week that made me just sit at my desk and sob. One of our... my dear friends here in the church and member of our church, and it's another neighboring state where her parents go. And this letter by a youth pastor, sent it to the congregation, and in that letter the pastor said, "I cannot resist my attraction to same sex persons and so I'm leaving my wife and children".
Oh, but he thanked the congregation for their understanding. You understand why I just sat there and sobbed. Now I just need to give into that temptation, I can't resist it anymore, then he said something so blasphemous, he said, "Jesus died on the cross so that I may be true to my feelings and no longer deny myself what he wants me to be". Please listen carefully, please listen carefully, you're watching around the world, I want you to listen carefully. God will forgive any sin, let me repeat this, God will forgive any sin when it's repented of, and not when it's given into, rationalized, explained away, and even legalized by the government. Sadly, giving into sin is a condition of the church of Jesus Christ today. But in Isaiah, we see this angel, like all angels, they're divine messengers, they're sent by God, they don't...
I remember years ago, in the New Age and people would still have their guardian angels, and I remember this lady came and talked to me about my guardian angel. I talked to him, I said, "He doesn't listen to you, he's deaf to your voice, he only listens and obeys the Master". And these are messengers of God, the angels, and the book of Hebrews, the epistle of the Hebrews said, "They are ministering angels to the believers".
And beloved, I wanna tell you the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness when we repent. It's like the hymn we just sang a few minutes ago, "His blood will make the foulest," think about this for a minute, "the foulest clean". You don't wanna praise God? The blood makes the foulest clean. Finally, I need to tell you that confession and repentance not only will bring about forgiveness and restoration but it will be manifested in ministry, in service, in giving.
In a few weeks' time, we'll be sharing with you our vision for the decade of the '20s. We had the 2020 vision and God bless, now we have the decade of the 20 vision, and that is gonna involve every single one of you. You cannot say I'm too young or too old, every one of you. And it's passing the whole truth to the next generation, that is the commitment we're making here as a team. Isiah's response was, "Oh, ho-hum, isn't that nice? Oh, what a wonderful sight, I must be a good guy".
You know there's some Christians actually think that God is fortunate to have them? Yeah, I felt the same way too, it's not nice of the Lord to do that. Oh, no-no-no, after the cleansing he said, "Here I am, send me". I'm pleading with you, I'm pleading with you, don't let the conviction of the Holy Spirit that you are under right now be evaporated in the next several hours or even several days. Please, please say to the Lord, "Here I am, send me".
After you confessed and you come clean with God, he has a unique mission for you and for your family, and that mission, listen to me, nobody else can do that except you. That mission is never duplicated, that mission is never imitated, that mission is never fabricated. It's for you, your name is written all over it, you and you alone. Pick it up and start serving and ministering and watch what God can do. I'm absolutely convinced as I'm standing here, and I may end up being a false prophet and be stoned, but I am absolutely convinced that God's power is gonna be manifested in ways we've never seen before as we lean on him alone, can I get an amen? Will you pray with me please?