Three-Dimensional Faith
January 17, 2017
      Three-Dimensional-Faith-Dennis-Lee

Three-Dimensional Faith

Isaiah 6:1-9

I grew up my whole life under the Protestant wing of the faith. My family attended the Methodist church as I was growing up. I came to know Jesus as my Savior and Lord while attending an Assembly of God home fellowship. Later I attended an Assembly of God church. Afterwards I helped to form the first Calvary Chapel in Las Vegas, which later became a non-denominational church.

I went to seminary and graduated with a Masters of Theology and Talbot School of Theology, the graduate program of Biola, and received my Masters of Divinity equivalence degree at Fuller Theological Seminary.

After receiving my Masters in Theology I returned to my old church in Las Vegas, Hallelujah Christian Fellowship, and took over as its senior pastor. After 10 years we brought the church under the Foursquare denomination. I then moved to Mesquite, Nevada, where I pastor a Foursquare church.

You might say I’ve seen my share of denominationalism and what I’ve found is that we need to become a whole lot more biblical in our faith and calling, and a whole lot less denominational.

When I say we have to become more biblical in our faith and less denominational, this comes from the many conversations I’ve had over the years. I’d like to focus on two of them with you.

The first was when I was thinking about attending seminary, I went to a friend who owned a Christian bookstore and asked him for a book on Theology. He asked if I was a Calvinist or an Arminiest. Having no idea what he was talking about I said, “Neither, I’m a Biblicist.” He just kind of chuckled.

The second incident happened when I was in seminary. A theology professor took a stance that Calvinism was correct in every area. Afterwards I asked if I could meet with him, and asked why he didn’t mention the other Scriptures that spoke against the Calvinist stance.

He said, “Dennis, I believe that the majority of the Scriptures support this position.” I then asked if there were other Scriptures that supported an opposing point of view, why then didn’t he give a balanced view of God’s word.

 

This is what denominationalism does. It teaches as gospel doctrinal positions rather than teaching the whole of God’s word and acknowledging that we’re not going to know everything that goes on in the mind of God. In other words, there needs to be a lot more balance in the teaching of God’s word, and not just denominational talking points.

In the church there’s a whole lot of formalism and control over everything that is of God, and in the process we have lost a lot of the zeal that God would desire for us to have; a zeal for God’s word, a zeal for prayer, a zeal for the Holy Spirit, a zeal of the lost, and a zeal for God’s calling.

There is a quotation I’ve heard and believe to be true, and that is the church today is so subnormal that the church we read about in the New Testament seems abnormal. In other words, what was once considered normal and God’s plan and purpose for the church now seems abnormal if kept.

So we need to wrestle with what it means to be a Christian and God’s calling for the church. And this is going to take both vision and passion.

The church today is going through a paradigm shift, but not for the better. In its attempt to become more palatable to the world it has lost its way. Today I’d like to share with you what I see as the answer. I call it three-dimensional faith, or the three dimensions of our faith as taken from the Book of Isaiah, the King James Version.

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. And he said, Go, and tell this people…” (Isaiah 6:1-9 KJV)

Isaiah was given a three-dimensional vision. It’s found in the three words brought out by Isaiah, “Woe,” “Lo,” and “Go.”

In this critical hour we live in, this three dimensional vision is imperative. There’s no greater vision that this.

Solomon said,

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18a KJV)

In the original language this more literally reads,

Where there is no prophetic revelation from God, the people cast off all restraints and become uncontrolled in their behavior.”

This three-dimensional vision is God’s prophetic revelation, and if we don’t pay attention to it then we will likewise do whatever is right in our own sight, and the church will do what is right in its own sight, thus casting off God in the process.

So let’s taka a look at these three dimensions.

  1. The Dimension of Confession

This is the “Woe” dimension. This dimension of confession encompasses an upward vision of God’s holiness as well as a vision of the cross.

We see this in verse five.

“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.” (Isaiah 6:5 KJV)

Isaiah sees his true state of being, that is, a sinner, and this only happened after he got a glimpse of God. It’s such a vision we need, that is, a vision of who we really are in connection to a holy and righteous God.

The Bible says there’s no one who is righteous, no not one, and that everyone has fallen short of God’s holy and righteous standards for life. (Romans 3:10,23) And without seeing ourselves in the light of God and His word, we may never have known just how precarious our stance may be.

Up to this point, Isaiah cries “Woe” seven times, and each time has to do with the nation Israel, but now, in full view of God, Isaiah realizes he’s no different, thus he cries out, “Woe is me.”

Isaiah was God’s prophet, and while he was talking about God’s people, which includes all of us, he also realized this was directed at himself as God’s prophet, as a leader of God’s people.

We see a similar view of God’s leaders when the prophet Ezekiel was given dream where he was to dig a hole through the wall of one of the temple’s inner chambers. And in this dream/vision what he saw were the elders of Israel and the idolatry that was in their hearts. (Ezekiel 8:7-18)

We need a vision of a holy and righteous God so that we can see ourselves in the same sort of light. We need to ask, “Are there any inner chambers in my life leading to idolatry?” Or maybe we can say it like this, “Lord, are there any skeletons in my closet?”

We need to honestly evaluate our position in the light of a holy and righteous God, much like King David who prayed,

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV)

Now, when it comes to this first dimension of confession, along with this vision of a holy and righteous God, we also need a vision of the cross of Calvary and what Jesus did to forgive our sins.

We need to see our sins in the light of a holy and righteous God along with Jesus’ death upon the cross and the price He paid so our sins can be forgiven. And once such a vision is internalized within us we can move on to the second dimension.

  1. The Dimension of Cleansing

This is the “Lo” dimension. The dimension of cleansing encompasses an inward vision as well as a vision of an eternity without God, or more literally a vision of hell itself.

This “Lo” dimension can be seen in verses six and seven.

“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.” (Isaiah 6:6-7 KJV)

The Apostle John says,

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NKJV)

Isaiah confesses his own unworthiness and God had an angel take a burning piece of coal from off the altar and place it upon his mouth, purging and forgiving his sins, thus Isaiah was cleansed.

When we confess our sinfulness to God then God acts on our behalf and forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

But with this inward vision of our sinfulness, of our unrighteousness, I believe we also need a vision of hell to realize just what has been provided through God’s forgiveness. Everyone needs that vision of the cross of Calvary and the forgiveness Jesus provides, but with that should come a vision of hell to see the eternal torment should they refuse.

William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, said that if he could, he would have finalized the training of his soldiers with 24 hours of hanging over hell.

It was such a vision that Jonathan Edwards gave in 1741 with his sermon, “Sinners in the hand of an angry God.” The people talked about how they could literally smell the smoke and they fell down crying out for God to save them. It was from this sermon that a great revival broke out across America.

Charlie Peace was condemned to death for his crimes. As he was taking that last walk a chaplain went before him reading from “The Consolations of Religion” about the fires of hell. Peace was shocked at the way this professional minister could so easily speak about hell without shedding a tear for Peace’s soul knowing that he was about to spend eternity there.

It says that Peace wondered if the preacher believed the words he was speaking about hell as a place of torment and eternal fire that forever burns but never consumes its victims. He said that if he believed what the church of God believed then even if England were covered from coast to coast with broken glass, he would crawl on his hands and knees to save one soul from spending an eternity there.[1]

Every person will experience fire at the end of this life. Judgment fire for those who believe in Jesus Christ as their works are burned leaving that which is precious to the Lord with heaven as their eternal home, but hell fire for everyone else who refuse to believe and come into the saving faith of Jesus Christ.

With such an understanding we, and the church, really only have one true mission, and that is to save souls lest they perish and go into a Christ-less and fiery eternity.

This brings us to the last dimension

  1. The Dimension of Commission

This is the “Go” dimension. The dimension of commission encompasses an outward vision of the hopelessness of this lost and dying world as well as a vision of the Great Commission.

This “Go” dimension can be seen in verses eight and nine.

“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. And he said, Go, and tell this people.” (Isaiah 6:8-9a KJV)

Can we do anything less than go? Please catch this vision of hopelessness, this vision of the reality we live in. [2]

  • 3 million people die each year – (Now let’s do the math)
  • 151,600 people die each day
  • 6,316 people die each hour
  • 105 people die each minute, and
  • Nearly 2 people die each second

What we can deduce when looking at these numbers and then what Jesus said about how wide the gate and broad the way that leads to destruction and many who go in by it (Matthew 7:13), is that the vast majority of these 55.3 million people who died went into a Christ-less eternity and into the fires of hell.

Please let that sink into our souls and into the soul of the church.

And it is such a vision that we should cry out with Isaiah and the Apostle Paul.

“Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord.” (Isaiah 51:9 NKJV)

“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11 NKJV)

For this to take place we must catch the vision of the Great Commission.

Jesus said

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)

Conclusion

We need to see the Lord, high and lifted up, holy and righteous, and then see His love for us there upon the cross as Jesus took our place and died the death we all deserve to pay the penalty price for our sins. And with this vision we need to see ourselves as sinners and confess.

The second vision we need to catch then is that of what hell is really like to we can run to God and receive His mercy and grace, to receive His forgiveness and cleansing touch.

And finally we need to catch the vision of the world’s hopelessness in trying to right itself with God and the millions that are going to hell and a Christ-less eternity because of it, and then catch Jesus’ vision of the Great Commission.

“Woe,” “Lo,” and “Go.” Let’s catch this three-dimensional vision so it can truly change our lives and change the church.

When the blind man came to Jesus, Jesus asked what he wanted, and the blind man said, “That I may receive my sight.” (Mark 10:51)

I pray this would be our prayer and the prayer of the church, that we might receive this three-dimensional vision, the upward call of confession, the inward call of cleansing, and the outward call of commission.

It’s only this vision that will change our lives, change the church, and change the spiritual landscape of our world.

[1] Wikipedia.org, “Charles Peace.”

[2] Quora.com, “How many people are born/die every day in the world? What is birth to death ration in the world?”









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