If you are a Christian, if you are a believer, you can do what you are called to do, you can believe God. There will be difficulties, you will face seemingly impossible. But if you set your heart on God, nothing shall be impossible unto you. Continuing on with the thought we read Isaiah 6:1-8, "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I: send me." We look particularly at verse 1, "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple." If you pray through, if you touch God, the first fall out of that is, you will see God. There comes a time in every seekers life, when his spirit demands reality. I am not speaking of being saved, I am speaking of knowing God. After years of walking with God Paul cried, "That I might know him..." Who can question Paul's salvation? We speak of a knowledge of God, that isn't based on an argument. A knowledge that is more than the ability to quote scripture. There will come a time in your life when you must know if these things are true or not. Peter's cry in the 17th chapter of the book of Matthew, "If that be you, let me walk on the water..." was the cry of the human spirit to get beyond the ordinary, beyond the mere religious. Beyond going to Sunday School and talking about a God that you never see. Have you ever been there? Have you ever said, "I want to know God." I am glad for what Jesus did in the first century, but I live in the 20th century. The problems are more complex today than they were in the first century. We need God like no other people ever have needed God. "Let me walk on the water..." Let me get out of this religious boat. Let me see something happen that man cannot explain, let me move out into the realm of the super natural where the only explanation of what is taking place is, 'God is here.' Sooner or later you will become dissatisfied, it has to be so. If you think you have everything, you are not going anywhere. But when you know there is more, when you read the book of Acts and your life is rebuked, something within you will say, "Let me walk on the water." Let me move beyond the safety of the religious boat, out there where Christ is, where the resurrection is demonstrated. Isaiah, the young preacher, has reached that place in the 6th chapter of the book of Isaiah. Isaiah was a student in the theological seminary, he has heard it all. He has heard of the miracles of yesterday, but it is just a story his head believed, but not his heart. The young preacher has reached a point in his life where his spirit demanded reality, he had to know. Uzziah, the king of Israel, was an uncle to Isaiah. In the politics of Isaiah's day, there was nothing beyond the king. The king held the power of life and death. Isaiah, no doubt, could have a very promising career in politics. His uncle was the idol of his life. He could be an ambassador. No doubt there was a place in the politics of the king for his young nephew Isaiah. The only problem, God has laid His hands on him, but Isaiah is not sure. So there came a time when Isaiah said, I am going to settle this once and for all. If God is real, I am going to know Him. That isn't wrong! God is real, and you can know Him to be real if you will seek Him. "In the day that you seek me with your whole heart, I will be found of you." Isaiah is faced with this, he knows God with his head, but doesn't know Him in his heart. He knows the acts of God, but he doesn't know the ways of God, he is in trouble.
To answer the call of God on his life, Isaiah has to put aside his political ambitions, but before he can turn loose of the seen, what he can see and feel, he has got to know the reality of the unseen. Here is the biggest problem of the church. She is so governed by the seen, the visible, the sensational, that she rarely gets beyond the seen, to see Him who is invisible. Isaiah must discover the reality of the unseen. He is well acquainted with the seen, he can go in and out of the king's house. Now he must move beyond the visible. The Bible says, "In the year that Uzziah died, Isaiah saw the Lord." When his idol died, in that year, Isaiah prayed through. In the year Uzziah died, Isaiah settled the issue as to whether he was going to be a politician or a preacher. Every person on earth deserves the right to accept or reject God on the grounds of reality. God never intended His people to be the product of an argument. It is not the will of God that the church be a debating society. We are here to demonstrate God. "This gospel is not preached in word only but in power and demonstration, of the Holy Ghost that your faith not stand in the wisdom (argument) of man but in the power of God." Paul's testimony was "Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the spirit of God;...I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." (Romans 15:19) How did he preach? Through mighty signs and wonders. The Roman believers faith was anchored in reality. "For the kingdom of God is not in words but in power." (I Corinthians 4:20) It is the will of God that our faith be based in reality. No where in the Bible is this truth made more real than in the calling of the Prophet Elisha. When God is about to take the old Prophet Elijah home, He tells him to anoint Elisha, the son of Shaphat to be the Prophet in his room. The young man was in the field plowing with 12 yoke of oxen. The old Prophet walked up behind him and passed his mantle over him and kept walking. Elisha dropped the plow lines and ran after the Prophet, saying wait for me, I'm going to kiss my mother and dad good-bye, then I will follow you. Elijah replied, "What have I to do with you?" What he really said was, why are you coming after me? What do you want? What are you looking for? Elisha went back, slew the oxen, bar-be-qued them with the plows, and took off after the Prophet. Edgar Bethany, the historian says, Elisha followed Elijah for eight years. The two came to Gilgal, and Elijah said to Elisha, "Tarry here I pray thee for the Lord hath sent me to Bethel." And Elisha said unto him, "As the Lord liveth I will not leave thee." At Bethel Elijah tried to leave him again, but he gave the same reply. At Jericho, Elijah said again, "Tarry here, the Lord hath sent me to Jordan." Again, he refused to stay. At the Jordan Elijah smote the water with his mantle, the waters parted, the two went over on dry ground. Now they are on the other side of the river, there is no boat, no ferry, no way to cross. If God takes the old Prophet now, the young Prophet is going to be on his own. In that impossible situation, the old man finally asked, 'What shall I do for you?' Elisha was quick to answer, "Let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me." (II Kings 2:9) I want a double portion of what I felt in that field eight years ago. Elisha felt something, he knew something, there was a reality. He wasn't following a man with an argument, he has tasted of Heaven. God wants every one of us to have the opportunity to accept or reject Him on the grounds of reality. Isaiah had reached that point in his life. There was something in him that demanded reality. He is being pulled in both directions. He wants to follow God if indeed God is real, but, he had to know that. The Bible says, "Isaiah saw God." In the year Uzziah died, Isaiah saw the Lord high and lifted up. To see God, is to know God. It isn't in seeing Him with your eyes. Paul prayed that the eyes of your understanding be enlightened that you may know. Through faith, we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God. (Hebrews 11:3) To see is to know, and to know is to see. Isaiah had an experience with God, he met God. Isaiah had heard about God but he did not know God. Multitudes have grown up in the church, heard about God all their lives, but have never known God. Ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. A head full of Bible, but never met God himself. We're not talking about salvation, we are talking about knowing the God who saved us. A man and woman get married, they think they know each other. After years of sharing their lives together they really come to know each other. They know each other, but they are not more married than they were the first day. Isaiah grew up on the stories of the Old Testament. He has heard about the parting of the Red Sea, the
manna, the water flowing from a rock. Now he longs to be able to say with Job, I have heard about him, with the learning of the ear, but now my eyes have seen God. That is the strength of life. It is one thing to know about God it's quite another to know God. You can know everything there is to know about food, and starve to death. You have got to eat food to receive from it. You can go to hell knowing about God, but if you know God you have the answer to life. "He who comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him." (Hebrews 11:6) You cannot believe that God is, in the frustrating circumstances of life unless you know God. There are those people who make a real start, are born again, but never pressed on to a real union with God. These people are easy to knock out. They are easily frustrated. On the other hand, those who know God, who have had a real encounter with God, and every doubt is abolished concerning the existence of God, can point back to an experience where God became real. ISAIAH SAW GOD AND EVERYTHING FELL INTO PLACE. HE CAN WALK AWAY FROM HIS POLITICAL AMBITIONS. TO REALLY SEE GOD IS THE ONLY WAY FOR THE CHILD OF GOD TO OVERCOME HIS DESIRE FOR THINGS. WE
HAVE LOST A GENERATION OF KIDS BECAUSE WE HAVE PUT THE EMPHASIS ON A FULL BARN INSTEAD OF A FULL HEART. IF WE AS CHRISTIANS WOULD REALLY PRAY THROUGH TO A REAL ENCOUNTER WITH GOD THE THINGS OF THIS WORLD WOULD HAVE VERY LITTLE VALUE TO US.
ONCE ISAIAH SAW GOD, EVERYTHING ELSE WAS SECONDARY, HE BECAME THE GREATEST PREACHER OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. ISAIAH WROTE IN THE 53RD CHAPTER CONCERNING CHRIST: "WHO HATH BELIEVED OUR REPORT? AND TO WHOM IS THE ARM OF THE LORD REVEALED?...BUT HE WAS WOUNDED FOR OUR TRANSGRESSION, HE WAS BRUISED FOR OUR INIQUITIES: THE CHASTISEMENT OF OUR PEACE WAS UPON HIM; AND WITH HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED." (ISAIAH 53:1,5) Jesus quoted Isaiah in Matthew 8:17, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses." For this Isaiah was sown asunder. He was murdered for what he preached, but he had seen God and it didn't make any difference. To know God, removes the fear of man, the big problem of the church today. Afraid to be different. Afraid to speak out against the awful mixture of truth and error. As results everything has become the church. You could break up just about any conference on evangelism, by simply preaching the uncompromising Word of God. MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE, THE CHURCH NEEDS TO SEE GOD. ISAIAH SAW GOD AND COULD FORGET THE THRONE. HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN? HE PRAYED THROUGH. HE REACHED THE PLACE OF TOTAL FRUSTRATION IN TRYING TO MAKE WHAT HE BELIEVED TO WORK. HE WOKE UP ON A SUNDAY MORNING, AND SAID, THIS HAS GOT TO END, I MUST HAVE AN ANSWER. TWENTY-EIGHT I PASTORED A CHURCH OF 200 PEOPLE. I MARRIED THEIR LIVING AND BURIED THEIR DEAD, THEY LOVED ME AND I LOVED THEM. THEY PAID ME A GOOD SALARY, GAVE ME A VACATION EVERY YEAR. IN SPITE OF ALL THAT I BECAME TERRIBLY DISSATISFIED. NOT WITH GOD, BUT WITH MYSELF. I WOULD ASK MYSELF HAVE I GOT A MESSAGE OF LIFE, OR AM I JUST SAYING WORDS? IF IT IS A MESSAGE OF LIFE, THEN WHY IS IT NOT REACHING MORE PEOPLE? WHY IS IT NOT MORE EFFECTIVE? I REACHED A POINT WHERE THERE HAD TO BE A REALITY. I SOUGHT GOD IN FASTING AND PRAYER. FOR 30 DAYS, I NEVER ATE. I PRAYED, I WEPT. ALL OF IT BORN OUT OF SOMETHING INSIDE OF ME THAT HAD TO HAVE REALITY. I COULD NOT GO ON WITH A THEORY. I COULD NOT GO ON TALKING ABOUT GOD, I MUST TALK FOR HIM. I READ IN HIS WORD, "IN THE DAY THAT YOU SEEK ME WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART, I WILL BE FOUND OF YOU." I FOUND HIM. SINCE THAT DAY, I HAVE BEEN IN 60 COUNTRIES OF THIS WORLD. AT ONE TIME, WE COVERED MOST OF THE NATION WITH TELEVISION. I SAY ALL THIS SIMPLY TO TELL YOU, YOU CAN KNOW GOD. Isaiah woke up and said, "I have got to know." He probably went to the synagogue, on his way he had to pass the Rabbi's house. The old Rabbi seeing the young Prophet, asks: "Where are you going Isaiah?" "I am going to church." "Why are you going to church son, it isn't Saturday, we don't have church today." "Brother Rabbi, I have heard you talk about God, how He delivered our people out of Egypt, how He fed and clothed them for forty years in the wilderness. Sir, I have reread those stories a hundred times. I have been overwhelmed by the record of such a great God, but I can no longer live in
the past, I must know God myself." The old Rabbi concerned by the radical thinking of his best student probably said, 'Son, I don't want you to be disappointed." The young preacher answered, "I'm not going to be disappointed, I am going to find God or forget about religion." This isn't wrong. You have a right to know Him. You don't have to live guessing whether God is real or not. It doesn't matter whether you believe my testimony or not, I believe it. I have met God. It is difficult to deceive the man who has seen God. I have seen a lot that is phony in religion. I have watched men play their games. Leg stretching, teaching the deceived how to talk in tongues. I knew God wasn't in a mile of that place. It never bothered me, I knew God, and knew He didn't play games. Isaiah will not be disappointed. When he comes back he will have seen God, the uncertainty will be gone. This kind of determination needs to take hold of the church, she needs to pray it through. To give herself to the altar, until once more God lives in and through her. We can touch our world if we will touch our God. It is possible to know how the gospel works and still not have the power to make it work. We can go through the ritual of praying for the sick yet no one is healed. The church has lost her plausibility, the social dimension of believing. She has learned how to be religious with God. This must end. We need to see God, know God, walk with God. The world doesn't want a performance, they want to see Christ. Our five minute prayer meetings must turn into all night seekings. We must come back to an altar of fasting and prayer. Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible. Moses saw God. Moses felt the call to deliver Israel forty years before the deliverance came. He had the call and the zeal, but at a critical moment in his life he felt himself alone and ran. I have seen young preachers who felt the call of God, but because the world did not open up to them, they felt alone. The devil sold them the lie that God had not called them. When Moses' fellow Israelites turned on him, he felt alone and fled. To stand against the wiles of the devil, demands more than religion, you must know God. When Jesus said, "Nothing shall be impossible unto you," in no uncertain terms he let us know there is going to be a struggle. I have been married to my wife for over 40 years. There have been some difficult times, times when either one of us could have destroyed the marriage. But because I knew her and she knew me, we have weathered every storm. Moses did not know God as he would one day know him, so when the adversary struck him, he fled. Later, Moses saw God at the burning bush, and from that moment on he moved with assurance. Moses never questioned God's ability again. At the burning bush, Moses moved beyond the seen to the unseen. From that point onward Moses was sure of himself, because he was sure of God. Moses endured because he could see beyond the visible. Moses knew the ways of God, Israel knew the acts of God. Every time trouble came Israel wanted to go back to Egypt, but Moses refused to look back. Moses is one of the most unique characters of history. Before he fled to the wilderness, he was a man mighty in word and deed, but when God came to him years later, he couldn't talk. Moses tried to use his handicap of speech as an excuse not to obey. God let him know that the reason he was in the desert in the first place was to break down his faith in his own ability. Now that Moses knew he could not, God could live through him and do the work. From that bush, and his encounter with God, Moses headed for Egypt, to deliver three million slaves with a stick and a brother that is going to backslide on him every 30 days. With a little imagination you can hear friends along the way crying out, "Where are you going Moses?" "I am going to Egypt to deliver the people of God." "Where is your army?" "This is it, this donkey, stick and Aaron, my brother." Every step that little donkey took, the devil said to Moses, you are the most wanted man in Egypt. Your picture is in every post office. They are going to pick you up at the border. Moses never turned that donkey around, he never allowed his fear to dictate his course. He had seen God. That is the answer to everything. The 120 saw God at Pentecost. Who can doubt that? Before Pentecost they were very unsure people. They couldn't hear anything Jesus aid. They were up and down, fighting over who is going to be on the right hand, and who is going to be on the left. They had heard Him
preach, witnessed His miracles, yet something was missing in their life. Upon His departure Jesus commanded them to "tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power." In effect He said to them, don't you leave with a theory. Don't you leave this city until you have had an encounter with God. At Pentecost, they saw God. When the wind of Pentecost blew through that upper room, every fear was dissolved. Peter rose to face the crowd, that crucified His Lord, and preached one of the most profound messages of the New Testament. THE MOST CASUAL READER OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, CANNOT READ THE SECOND CHAPTER OF ACTS, WITHOUT KNOWING SOMETHING HAPPENED, ON THAT DAY, THAT SAVED CHRISTIANITY FROM EXTINCTION. UNSURE MEN SUDDENLY BECAME SURE OF THEMSELVES BECAUSE THEY WERE SURE OF GOD. WHEN THAT WIND CAME THROUGH THE UPPER ROOM, THEY KNEW HE WAS BACK, HE HAD SAT DOWN. HE SAID, WHERE I GO YOU CAN COME. DEATH, HELL, DEMONS, NOTHING COULD STOP THEM, THEY WERE NO LONGER AFRAID. "THEY LOVED NOT THEIR LIVES UNTO THE DEATH." THEY HAD MET GOD. One of Paul's last prayers was, "That I might know him..." Who is going to say that Paul wasn't saved? Of course, he was saved. But yet, he wants to know Him. That is the kind of knowledge I'm talking about. Paul wanted to know Him personally, intimately, like you know the one who sits beside you. You can pray through the visible world of circumstances that threaten your very existence, you can see (know) God. You can see Him who is invisible, and say with the Apostle John, "the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth." You can know there is nothing going to happen that He doesn't let happen. You are as safe as if you were in Heaven with the door locked. Look for a moment in the book of Kings. The servant of Elijah went out this particular morning very early, and saw that they were surrounded by the Syrian army. He came running back to tell the bad news to Elijah, he was terrified. There is no point in telling him not to fear when all he can see is those forces more powerful than himself which are bent on his destruction. You can preach the "fear nots" of the Bible until you faint, but if all the human can see is the poverty that is about to consume them, the nuclear bomb that is about to be dropped on him, or the powerful evil forces that surround him and are bent on his destruction, he will remain in his fear. But if you can lift his eyes so he can see, that the one who is for him, is greater than the one who is against him, his fear will pass. The servant came back and said to the Prophet, "the enemy has surrounded us." The Prophet never said to him, "Fear not." Instead he prayed, "Lord, open his eyes that he can see beyond these present circumstances." When the young man opened his eyes, he saw the chariots of God sitting on the hillside. His fear left as he shouted, "They who are for us are more than they who are against us." The angel of the Lord encamps those that fear him. When we touch the invisible and see the forces of God, fear is gone, we are delivered. "No weapon formed against us shall prosper." You can read that without it meaning a great deal to you, but if your eyes are ever opened and you see the chariots of God, if you see God at the burning bush, or the Damascus road of your life, it will take on the meaning God intended. Paul's evaluation of certain Christians was "ever learning but never coming to the knowledge of truth." Never come to the knowledge of the person Himself. Jesus said, "I am the truth." The people Paul spoke of learned about truth, but never knew truth as a person. You can learn about a lot of things, but that doesn't mean that you know the thing itself. Ever learning about Christ but never coming to know Christ. This is the cause behind the fear, the frustrations, the defeat, the backsliding. When problems come Christians don't see the greater one that is in them. We can sing the chorus, "Greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world," and jump and shout. For the most part we are not shouting about what we are singing, it is the beat of the music. In the beginning we shouted because of what God had done for us, then God allowed us to pass through dry spells, through times of seeking, times of experience, until our rejoicing is not over what He has done, but Him. At that point you can shout as loud when you are flat on your back as when you are healthy. Paul can shout as loud in the Philippian jail as he could at Damascus when he was filled with the Spirit,
because his shout was not about things. After twelve years in the Bedford jail John Bunyan could still shout. For the greater part of the twelve years he was kept in a cell that he couldn't sit down in. When he tried to sit down his back would hit the back wall and his knees would hit the front. He was fed like an animal. Most of the time they did not remove the human refuse from the cell. Everyday a demon possessed priest would say to him, "If you will recant, disclaim what you believe, we will let you out of here." Everyday the man of God gave the same answer, "Why should I want out of here, any place that Christ is, is a kingdom now for me." He had seen God, and nothing else was really important.