Preaching Christ 15

Isaiah 6:1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. 2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” 4 And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 9 He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ 10 “Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.” 11 Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitant, Houses are without people And the land is utterly desolate,

It is in preaching the true Christ which is the Father revealed in Christ and manifested by Christ that the true glory of God is seen. The Lord Jesus came in order to be the very tabernacle of glory on earth (John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth”). The Lord Jesus came in order to manifest or explain the Father (John 1:18 “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him”). Preaching the true Christ means preaching who He really is and preaching the manifestation of the Father in and through Him.

What happens when sinners (who don’t know much of their own sin) hear the modern Christ preached? They think He is all about them and appreciates and values them as much as they do. They do not bow in awe and reverence, but instead their eyes and hearts are not moved from their focus on self and self-love. What happens when the true Christ is preached and God opens the eyes to see? People are caught up with the horrible sense of their sin. Instead of seeing their own value and focusing on their own goodness, now people see that they are completely and totally undone in the presence of the living God.

Isaiah, a prophet used of God, was surely a holy man in terms of what other men could see. But when Isaiah saw the Lord Jesus shining forth in the glory of the Father, he also could not help but see the filthiness of his own lips and heart. As a prophet, he spoke the Word of God to the people. Now he saw that the lips that he used to proclaim the words of God with were sinful and vile. He saw how unclean his mouth was and how he did not speak to the glory of God. He saw that he used his lips for himself and his selfish heart. He saw that he was dirty and defiled from the inside out. When he said that he was “ruined”, what he apparently meant was that he was coming undone. In other words, all of his outward righteousness and all of his actions as a prophet came undone and he saw that he had no righteousness at all. He felt the weight of his sin and he felt the agony of his sin. He felt the dirt and the vileness of his sin and the burden of it moved him to cry out with his guilt and sin.

It is important to point out that one can preach about sin to some degree and never really get to the issue of sin. It is also important to point out that a person can preach a lot about Jesus and never really preach the truth of Christ. It is important and even vital to notice the pattern of Scripture is to preach Christ and His glory (the Father shining in and through Him). One can preach things about the cross and never get around to really preaching the truth of the cross because the Father shining in Christ and sending Christ is not brought out. When one does not preach those things, then one is not preaching the background that the nature of sin will be felt in the heart. It is only when Christ is truly preached will sin be opened to the sinner and then truly felt. When Christ is not preached and sin is not seen and felt for what it is, then the grace of the Gospel will not be appreciated in the slightest. It is important to note at this point that Isaiah was deeply convicted of his sin and completely undone by the sight of the glory of God and His holiness. It was not the preaching against sin that did it, though that is needful as well, but it was a sight of the true Christ and His glory and holiness.

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