Sermon for 02.06.22 Epiphany 5 “The Moat Holy One makes us holy”

• Sermon for 02.06.22
Text: Isaiah 6:1-13
Theme: The Most Holy One makes us holy

• *In the Name of the Father…Amen.*

• *The Old Testament lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.
We focus especially on verse 3 which reads: And one called to another and
said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of
his glory!” Thus far the text.*

• *Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus
Christ. *

• *Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:*

• *Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! *

• *Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;*

• *Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty! *

• *God in three persons, blessèd Trinity!*

• *Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee, *

• *Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;*

• *Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee, *

• *Which wert and art and evermore shalt be. Amen. *

• *Text: LSB 507 Public domain*

• *3. Isaiah confesses his sin before the Thrice Holy God.*

• Imagine the surprise of Prophet Isaiah when, entering the Jerusalem
temple to offer the daily sacrifice, he sees the Lord of heaven and earth,
highly exalted, with angels flying around and praising the Lord saying,
“Holy, Holy, Holy!”

• Surprise, yes, but much more than that, terror!

• Isaiah knew God’s promises that he would meet his people at the temple
and would dwell there.

• But this was always thought to be in terms of his invisible presence,
and, besides, the Holy Place was shrouded in darkness.

• *Nevertheless, God allowed Isaiah to see his glory, and the result of
this vision for Isaiah is terror.*

• Why?

• Isaiah knows himself to be a sinner, and he knows God is holy, holier
than anything on earth—in fact, the Holiest One.

• There is nothing Isaiah can do to change this relationship of sinner
before the Holy God.

• Something has to give, and God is not going to change.

• Isaiah knows he, a sinner, cannot stand in the presence of the Holy

• Thus he says, “I am lost,” or “I am undone”—in effect, “I am a dead

• *Isaiah confesses his complete sin.*

• “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” (verse 5).

• Isaiah is saying:

o “I am lost;

o I am a sinner;

o I have unclean lips;

o I sinned against the Lord in thought, word, and deed.

o I also live among a people who are sinners, and you, O Lord, would be
right in consigning me and all of us to temporal and eternal punishment,
for that is what we deserve.”

• *Isaiah has confessed his condition, and that it is like the condition
of all people. *

• *Sins of thought:*

o Lust

o Hatred

o Indifference/apathy

• *Sins of word:*

o Gossip

o Backbiting

o Meddling

• *Sins of deed:*

o Not willing to help others in need

o Bearing false witness

o Playing the blame game

• *We are not exceptionally holy people, but we, like all humanity, have
sinned, and the wages of sin is death.*

• *Illustration #1**: The One and Only and All Holy God: Superlative*

• *An adjective—like tall, short, big, little, high, low—can be used in
three ways:*

o positive (that is, you are “posit”-ing something),

o comparative (comparing it to other things),

o or superlative (it is above, “super” to, anything else).

• *For instance, we have tall, taller, and tallest, but there can also
be good, better, and best or bad, worse, worst. *

• *In Isaiah 6, you have God described as “holy, holy, holy” (6:3),
which is not just to say*

o that God is one holy among other gods (the positive),

o or that he is holier than any other god (comparative).

o Scripture is saying that God is the holiest (superlative) to the point of
saying he is all holy, and is only holy.

• *2. Isaiah’s sin is taken away so that he is declared holy.*

• *The Lord has appeared to Isaiah for a reason, however. *

• *Isaiah, though a sinner, is going to be sent by the Lord; he’s going
to be the Lord’s apostle. *

• *And he will be a prophet of Yahweh. *

• *He will speak God’s Word to his people. *

• *In order to change Isaiah from sinner to holy, from unworthy to
worthy, God must act. *

• *God loved the world from the foundation of the world. *

• *In his infinite foreknowledge, he planned for the salvation of the
whole world (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:4–6) through the Messiah, whom the Lord
promised to Israel and, in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4), sent to
save the world from the curses the Law of God pronounce on us. *

• *Therefore, the Lord sent one of the seraphim, a fiery angel from
heaven, to purge Isaiah’s sinful lips. *

• *With a coal from the heavenly altar of incense, the angel touches
Isaiah’s lips, and rather than being burned up, Isaiah’s unclean lips are
cleansed. *

• *The angelic messenger announces to Isaiah,*

o * “Your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (verse 7).*

• *By whom has all this been done?*

• *Who has taken away Isaiah’s sin? *

• *Who has atoned for Isaiah’s sin? *

• *In verse 13, the Lord speaks of his “holy seed.” *

• *Not Isaiah, but the Lord himself, for the sake of that “holy seed,”
his anointed Messiah, has taken away, atoned for, the sin and guilt of the
world (John 1:29). *

• *Isaiah is declared righteous by God because of Jesus’ death on the
cross, and he is now fit for the Lord’s service.*

• *Illustration #2**: The One and Only and All Holy God: Perfectly Holy*

• *The Scriptures often use numbers in a symbolic way: ten is a complete
number, as it derives from ten fingers on our hands. *

• *When you multiply ten times ten, you have a perfect square, and when
you multiply ten times ten times ten, you have a perfect cube. *

oThat is the complete, full totality of a shape.

oIt encompasses everything.

o *So in the Book of Revelation, one thousand is the number of total
completeness (see Revelation 7:5–8 of the sum of God’s Old Testament
people). *

o *Or if God describes the holy city of the heavenly Jerusalem as having
the same height and length and width, he’s saying it’s perfectly complete. *

o *So also, to describe God as “holy, holy, holy” (Isaiah 6:3) is to say
God is perfectly complete and holy and there is no holiness for any other
of the so-called gods. *

o *Thus you shall have no other gods, because only the holy, holy, holy
triune God is holy and worthy to be worshiped.*

• *1. Isaiah is called and sent to preach . . . so that we, too, are
made holy and called to God’s holy service.*

• *The Lord then formally calls Isaiah to his new ministry. *

• *Previously, Isaiah was a priest, interceding on behalf of the people
to God.*

• *Now Isaiah will work in the other direction, speaking from God to the
people, for that is the ministry of a prophet. *

• *The Lord asks a question to which he already knows the answer: *

• *“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (verse 8a). *

• *The Lord, the triune God who is both one (“I”) and three (“us”), is
really putting the question to Isaiah, who is now equipped to answer, not
in terror, but in a free and willing and joyful Spirit: “Here I am! Send
me” (verse 8b).*

• *Isaiah’s prophetic ministry would not be easy, preaching condemnation
to a people unwilling to hear the word of the Lord, as is shown in the
following verses (verses 9–13).*

• Yet the Lord, for the sake of the Holy Seed promised to Adam and
Abraham and David, will forgive his people who by the preaching of judgment
turn from their sin and by the preaching of faith in the Holy Seed will
return to the Lord their God (Joel 2:13).

• *The Lord continues to have mercy on his people.*

• *He has sent to us ministers who speak the Word of the Lord, calling
us to repentance for our sin and announcing the forgiveness of sin for the
sake of the Holy Seed, the Nazarene, Christ Jesus. *

• *For Jesus’ sake, the Lord has atoned for our sin and has sent his
ministers, pastors, to speak God’s Word of absolution. *

• *Those sins I mentioned earlier and every sin not spoken of:

• *Just as for Isaiah, so Our Holiness Comes not from our work, but from
the Work of the Most Holy One.*

• *Through the forgiveness of sin, we, like Isaiah, are cleansed and
prepared for the Lord’s service in the world.*

• *Through our vocation as baptized children of God:*

o purged of our sin,

o we are made to be that light in our dark world,

o and the salt on this decaying earth.

• *Illustration #3*: The One and Only and All Holy God: Thrice Holy

• *Say it once and you might mean it. *

• *Say it twice and you add weight to what you say. *

• *Say it three times, and you must really mean it. *

• *In the movie A Christmas Story, a boy named Schwartz first dares
another boy, Flick, to touch his tongue to the frozen iron flagpole on the
school playground.*

• *Unimpressed, Flick declines. *

• *Then Schwartz ups the ante by double-dog daring Flick to stick his
tongue to the frozen flagpole. *

• *Flick laughs off the challenge. *

• *Finally, Schwartz applies the “death blow” by triple-dog daring
Flick. *

• *Now Flick couldn’t laugh off the challenge without losing all

• *Nothing could be more serious than a triple dog dare! *

• *So what happens? *

• *I’m not telling!*

• *Watch the movie for yourself. I mean it! Watch the movie! No, really,
watch the movie! You’ll love it!*

• *“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3).*

• *Amen!*

• Let us pray:

• Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee,

• Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,

• Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee,

• Perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.

• Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

• All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea.

• Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty!

• God in three persons, blessèd Trinity! Amen.

• Text: LSB 507 Public domain

• *The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.*

• *In the Name of the Father…Amen.*