Preaching Christ 17

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,

The necessity of preaching Christ can be seen in many ways. There is no Gospel apart from preaching Christ. There is no food for the people of God apart from preaching Christ. There is no preaching the presence of God apart from preaching Christ. There is no forgiveness of sins apart from preaching Christ. There is no imputed righteousness apart from preaching Christ. There is no grace for sinners apart from preaching Christ. There is no standard of holiness apart from preaching Christ. There is no manifestation of the Father apart from preaching Christ. There is no true preaching, therefore, apart from preaching Christ. As is clear from the text above and how John interprets it for us (John 12), Isaiah saw Christ in His glory in the situation that the text above describes.

What was it that drove Isaiah to see his sin? It was a sight of the glory of the Father as it shone in and through Christ. Man is always judging himself by those around him, as can be seen in how people compare themselves to those around them. However, the light that shines from the character of the glory of God shows man who he is as that light shines in and shows man how dark he is. When man is in the presence of God and the light of God and His glory shines forth, man sees himself immediately and without any argument knows with inward anguish that he is a sinner and a vile sinner at that. Isaiah, a prophet and so most likely a holy man as compared with men, was instantly shattered and all of his self-righteousness unraveled. Isaiah was left with nothing but his own sin and he knew he needed a sacrifice because he has nothing to offer.

Not only did Isaiah need to have Christ preached to him in his inward man by Christ Himself, but he also needed to be cleansed from that sin. Not only did Isaiah see himself in comparison with Christ, but he needed to be delivered from self in order that he would now go and preach Christ quiet apart from what other men thought of him. Isaiah was given a message and he was sent to preach a message that was not like or loved. He was sent to preach a message that made him very unpopular. But it was the sight of Christ that prepared him to preach the truth. Not only did he need to see Christ, he needed to be prepared by Christ in order to preach Christ.

We see several tremendous truths in this text, though there is only room to mention a few. One, a preacher needs to be in the presence of God to be prepared to preach. It is not enough to read commentaries and it is not enough to know enough things about the text in order to preach. The heart of the preacher must be prepared by being in the presence of the living God. When the preacher is in the presence of the living God, he will learn a taste of that glory and not just some information in the head about it. When the preacher has been in the presence of the living God, he will know more of his own heart and of his own sin and so he is better prepared to speak to the people. When the preacher has been in the presence of God, he will learn just how much of Christ and His grace that he needs in order for his sin to be covered and so he will preach this from experience and not just some facts. When the preacher has been in the presence of God, he will preach the message God gives him and will not be so afraid of being in the presence of men. In order to preach Christ, therefore, men must seek to be in His presence and take care to remain there as much as possible. This will keep them from simply repeating information.

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