Sunday, 20th February 10.30 am Order of Service

Live streaming link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUXqSPpmvi0FrIfSLUqiCEA

WELCOME

HYMN 1202 Come down O love divine

Come down, O love divine, seek thou this soul of mine,

and visit it with thine own ardor glowing;

O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,

and kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, til earthly passions turn

to dust and ashes in its heat consuming;

And let thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,

and clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,

and lowliness become mine inner clothing;

True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,

and o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,

shall far outpass the power of human telling;

For none can guess its grace, till they become the place

where-in the Holy Spirit finds a dwelling.

PRAYER

Children’s Address

Do you like mystery stories? Lots of boys and girls love to read mystery books. Recently, I heard of a good mystery book, “What Really Happened to Humpty? From the Files of a Hard-Boiled Detective.” We all know that Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, but in this book Humpty’s brother Joe Dumpty, who is a detective, investigates to try to find out what really happened. Did Humpty fall, or was he pushed off that wall? If he was pushed, who did it? Was it Little Miss Muffet, Goldilocks, Old Mother Hubbard, or the evil Big Bad Wolf? I won’t spoil the mystery by telling you the ending. You will just have to read it for yourself.

Today we are going to learn about a different kind of mystery. Today we are thinking about the mysteries about God and Jesus. And there are lots of mysteries – things we don’t understand. How could GOD become a man (in Jesus)? Who is the Holy Spirit? What are angels? And a big one – How can God be 3 persons – Trinity? And lots more.

Many things about God are a mystery to us – something we can think about and wonder about. Since we started out today talking about Humpty Dumpty, I think I’ll use an egg! (Hold up a hard-boiled egg.) How many eggs do you see? That’s right! I have one egg. As you probably know, the egg is made up of three parts. The first part is the shell. (Crack the egg and peel the shell.) The next part you see is the egg white. Next, I am going to cut the egg in half. Now what do you see? Right! You see the yellow yolk. The egg has three parts — the shell, the white, and the yolk — but only ONE egg. In the same way, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three persons but only ONE God! Mystery solved!

Song 135 God is working his purpose out

God is working his purpose out

as year succeeds to year:

God is working his purpose out,

and the time is drawing near;

nearer and nearer draws the time,

the time that shall surely be,

when the earth shall be filled

with the glory of God

as the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,

wherever foot hath trod,

by the mouth of many messengers

goes forth the voice of God;

give ear to me, ye continents,

ye isles, give ear to me,

that earth may filled

with the glory of God

as the waters cover the sea.

What can we do to work God’s work,

to prosper and increase

the brotherhood of all mankind–

the reign of the Prince of Peace?

What can we do to hasten the time–

the time that shall surely be,

when the earth shall be filled

with the glory of God

as the waters cover the sea.

March we forth in the strength of God,

with the banner of Christ unfurled,

that the light of the glorious gospel of truth

may shine throughout the world:

fight we the fight with sorrow and sin

to set their captives free,

that earth may filled

with the glory of God

as the waters cover the sea.

All we can do is nothing worth

unless God blessed the deed;

vainly we hope for the harvest-tide

till God gives life to the seed;

yet nearer and nearer draws the time,

the time that shall surely be,

when the earth shall be filled

with the glory of God

as the waters cover the sea.

READING Isaiah 6

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

9 He said, “Go and tell this people:

“‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’

10

Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

11 Then I said, “For how long, Lord?”

And he answered:

“Until the cities lie ruined
and without inhabitant,
until the houses are left deserted
and the fields ruined and ravaged,

12

until the Lord has sent everyone far away
and the land is utterly forsaken.

13

And though a tenth remains in the land,
it will again be laid waste.
But as the terebinth and oak
leave stumps when they are cut down,
so the holy seed will be the stump in the land.”

SERMON (3) Isaiah’s call
Reconciliation and Commission

I guess this is the start of Isaiah’s ministry – the first 5 chapters are later prophecies of his which serve to set the scene for the whole prophecy – telling us that the nation was in a terrible state – and the church was no better! But God has a plan for His wayward people – and that plan involves a chap called Isaiah. This 6th chapter is preached on regularly – the call of Isaiah – leading, of course, to the call of God on your life.

However, a bit of digging will reveal much more to us.

The first strange thing we notice is that he dates his commission to the year that King Uzziah DIED. Now that is most unusual – most prophecies are dated according to when a king REIGNED. Isaiah does this in another place – there must be a reason. And of course, there is! Uzziah’s reign had been a mixed one. He reigned 52 years, but he did not remove the high places in Judah, so the people continued to offer unauthorised sacrifices at them. Pride led to Uzziah’s downfall so that he ended his days as a leper smitten by God. The year was 740 BC.

As Isaiah sets out on his ministry, not only was the king terminally ill – so was the nation of Judah. After such a long reign – most people had only ever known Uzziah to be their king – it was most significant that Isaiah sees the Lord seated on a throne. God is the King of all kings – the ultimate Sovereign.

But wait a minute – no-one can see God and live – what was happening here? Well we have illustrated for us here an immensely important fact: namely that the only way to get to know God is if God chooses to reveal Himself to us. Our faith is based on REVELATION – God revealing Himself to us – but the wonder of God is that – high and Almighty as He is, he does choose to reveal Himselfhere to Isaiah, and this morning also to US. The vision of God was too much for Isaiah – in the presence of His holiness, Isaiah wished he could crawl under a stone. Why? Wouldn’t a godly man like he want to meet God? On the contrary! Only a godly man like Isaiah would realise how unworthy he was.

But God came through this seraph – the only time such heavenly beings are mentioned in the Bible – and touched Isaiah’s lips. Isaiah realised that his people were foul-mouthed, but he recognised that he, too, was one of the people – he identified with his people in their sins – do we?

And then something wonderful happens – he has been listening to the voices of the seraphs (or seraphim), but in Vs.8 he now hears the LORD’s voice. And we have those famous words in vs.8 – Here am I. Send me. But just as important as God’s commission to Isaiah, is His message for Isaiah. (vs.9) Be ever hearing, but never understanding etc. A passage picked up by Jesus in Matthew 13:13 and elsewhere.

What on earth does it mean? Does God want His preachers to deliberately set out to preach in such a way as people will reject God and go to hell? Well, it is not quite like that! First, we must acknowledge that God knows all our hearts. Secondly, when the preacher preaches and the message is rejected, he does not know if the heart is yet hardened. Maybe the next time the person rejects will be the crux. Maybe the 100th time he hears will be the time his heart is finally set against God and the Gospel. But the preacher never knows when that point may come (God does) – yet still the preacher must keep preaching.

Isaiah was clearly somewhat disturbed to realise that His Good News would be rejected by his beloved people – and so he asks how long? God tells him to keep on preaching until the cities and fields are ruined.

But God also gives hope to Isaiah and also to us. He speaks about a stump in the land – the people will not be entirely wiped out – but more significantly, God promises a holy seed. Now – WHO do you think that Holy Seed may be?

This was surely the very word Isaiah needed to set out on a long life of ministry and mission – knowing that God’s plan was ultimately to send His Son into the world to be the Saviour for the world – this vision sustained him all his days.

PRAYER

Hymn 1981 O Church arise and put your armour on

O Church, arise, and put your armour on;
Hear the call of Christ our Captain.
For now the weak can say that they are strong
In the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth,
We’ll stand against the devil’s lies;
An army bold, whose battle-cry is Love,
Reaching out to those in darkness.

Our call to war, to love the captive soul
But to rage against the captor;
And with the sword that makes the wounded whole,
We will fight with faith and valour.
When faced with trials on every side
We know the outcome is secure,
And Christ will have the prize for which He died,
An inheritance of nations.

Come see the cross, where love and mercy meet,
As the Son of God is stricken;
Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
For the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
And Christ emerges from the grave,
This victory march continues till the day
Every eye and heart shall see Him.

So Spirit, come put strength in every stride,
Give grace for every hurdle,
That we may run with faith to win the prize
Of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
Retelling triumphs of His grace,
We hear their calls and hunger for the day
When with Christ we stand in glory.

Benediction

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