“… you have left your first love (Jesus)… remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming… and will remove your lampstand (light).” Rev 2:4-5
Harley Sheffield gained celebrity status on national news as part of a 15,000-mile relay that carried the torch to the 100th Olympic Games in Atlanta. While carrying the flame on his bicycle, the rear tire blew out while crossing a bridge in Washington state on May of 1996 causing him to lose control. He went down, the flame went out and the nation gasped in disbelief. No worries! The original flame from Athens, Greece always accompanies the traveling torch in a nearby van for just such an occasion. Sheffield humbly picked up the extinguished torch, quickly leaned it into “father flame” and continued his part of the relay with great celebration. [Houston Chronicle: 5/12/96] What happened to Sheffield happens to God’s men as we carry the torch of faith during our part in the race of life. We often trip, slip, stumble or fall causing our devotion to Jesus to be dowsed, our zeal to smolder or the passion of our spiritual flame to go out. We wonder if His light which once blazed in our heart will ever burn bright again. No worries! The Father’s light always accompanies us through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit (John 14:16-17; Eph 1:13-14) even when our sin seems to quench the fire of His presence (1 Thes 5:19; Eph 4:30). The Father graciously invites us to come near in humble repentance and lean into the fire of His blazing glory to reignite our hearts to once again burn brightly! How would you describe the flame of your passion for Christ? What seems to quench the fires of your heart for Christ?
REKINDLING ISAIAH’S FLAME…AND OURS!
Isaiah (lit. Jehovah is salvation) was a contemporary of the prophets Hosea, Amos and Micah (739–681 BC). He faithfully proclaimed God’s Word during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah and Manass-eh when the flame of Judah’s passion to LISTEN to (1:2,10), FOLLOW (1:3), OBEY (1:4-5) or WORSHIP (1:10-15) their Creator God had all but gone out (42:1-4; Matt 12:20). So the Lord graciously sent Isaiah to encourage His men in humble repentance to lean into the fire of His blazing glory in order to reignite their hearts with a passion to respond once again to His love (1:16-18; 40:1-5; 41:13-14; 45:20-25; 46:12-13; 48:16-19: 55:1-3; 65:1-3). What verse/phrase in chapter 1 most describes the current flame of your heart? Why?
A GLIMPSE OF GOD’S GLORY
Before God could use Isaiah to reignite a passion in the hearts of His men in Judah, He had to first rekindle the flames in the heart of this mighty prophet. Isaiah was so busy pointing out things that were extinguishing the passion in others that he didn’t realize how low the flames burned in his own heart. Do you see the following passion extinguishers (“woes”) in your life?
Woe 1: Accumulation of wealth (5:8-10)
Woe 2: Party spirit chasing good times rather than God time (5:11-17)
Woe 3: Becoming like the culture instead of changing it (5:18-19)
Woe 4: Totally upside-down in every way. Switch the price tags (5:20)
Woe 5: Prideful hearts not in line with God’s heart (5:21)
Woe 6: Self focused in rejecting God’s principles of life (5:22-30)
(6:1-5) With what aspect of His character did God use to chisel Isaiah’s heart in order to fan the flames of passion? Why is the holiness of God a great place to start if you want to reignite the flame of our heart? How does the holiness of God chisel to make us more like Jesus? In all believers Christ is present; In some He is prominent; Only in a few is Christ pre-eminent.
Why are there so many references to fire in this passage? (2, 6) “Serephim” (lit. ‘to burn’). (4) “Temple filled with smoke. (6) “Burning coal” to purify. (6) “Altar” of burning sacrifice in worship? What might God be burning out of your life that keeps you from following Him with passion?
(6:5-7) What did Isaiah falsely expect was going to happen to him as the Lord burned sinful patterns out of his life? How does burning sin from our lives actually rekindle our passion to serve the Lord?
(6:6-7; 29:13; Mt 15:7-11) Why did God touch with a burning coal the lips of a man who makes his living by speaking God’s Word? What might He have wanted to burn out of Isaiah’s heart? Out of yours?
(6:8-10) What was Isaiah’s response to God gracious chastening? To what kind of people did God send Isaiah? To whom has He sent you?
View each of these 7 minute Bible project videos ready to share one insight you learned or impression you received!
DEITY IN DIAPERS (Isaiah 9:1-7)
No other prophet spoke of Jesus more than Isaiah. As an early Christmas present He declares that Jesus alone is qualified as our…
· WONDERFUL COUNSELOR Who guides us through the decisions and dysfunctions of life.
· MIGHTY GOD Who grows us through the heavy demands and harsh dynamics of life. \
· ETERNAL FATHER Who walks us through the multiplied disappointments in life and rescues us from death.
· PRINCE OF PEACE Who helps us face the discouragements and disasters of life.
Which most fans the flames of hope and encouragement as you face another week in this fallen world? Why?
PRAISE FOR HIS PROMISES
So certain was Isaiah in the character and prom-ises of the coming Messiah that he spontan-eously bursts out in praise for what Jesus would do 770 years before He was even born. In faith, let’s follow Isaiah’s lead to pause and thank Him now for what He has promised to do in and for you even before He does it!
COMFORT FOLLOWS CONVICTION
In the first 39 chapters God used the truth of Isaiah’s message as a chisel to CONDEMN the sin of His men and CONVICT their hearts of the things which were extingui-shing their spiritual passion in response to His faithful love over the centuries. And like a great Father, He then COMFORTS and CONSOLES (chapters 40-66) those whom He has disciplined (Heb 12:5-11) with the promise of His grace, assurance of His love and the sure hope of His coming in Jesus the Messiah to set all things right.
(Isaiah 40:1-5; Mark 1:1-5) What is the Lord essentially asking His men to do in order to start rekindling a heart flame for Jesus?
(40:6-8; John 15:5) Of what is God reminding His men? Why did the neglect of this truth cause their flame for the Lord to go out in the first place?
(40:9-31) List 2 phrases/truths/principles that will encourage your heart even as the Lord continues to make you more like Jesus using a variety of chisels.
A boy asked his father, “How big is God?” The father looked up to the sky and seeing an airplane then asked the son: “How big is that airplane?”The boy answered, “It's tiny. I can barely see it.” Detecting a teachable moment the father wisely drove to a nearby airport. As they approached a jet he asked, “So how big is this airplane?” The overwhelmed boy answered, “Wow daddy, this airplane is huuugggee!” The dad responded, “That’s right, son. God is always huge! The closer you are to Him, the greater He will be in your life!” So how close are you to Him?
Memorize Isaiah 40:31
“Yet those who wait (cawvaw = twist frayed rope) for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”
WHO KILLED JESUS?
Of the 85 times Isaiah is quoted in the NT, chapter 53 is quoted most. 760 yrs before the crucifixion God reveals the inner purposes of His heart because He wants to make certain we know (and never forget!) who really killed His Son as the sinless substitute for sinful souls!
(53:6, 10; Rom 8:31-32; 2Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13) So Sherlock…who would you say actually killed Jesus? Jews? Roman soldiers? Mob riot? Pontius Pilot? Your sin? Or perhaps the answer is far more spectacular still! Why is the answer of who really killed Jesus so absolutely vital to your understanding of the entire Bible and one of God’s most powerful chisels to experiencing His grace?
(53:11) And while the Father was actually the one “crushing” (5, 10), “piercing” (5), “scourging” (5), and “slaughtering” (7) His Son, what does this verse say God was feeling? Why is this so unbelievable?
(53:3-12) As a TAG team list all the verbs which depict what was done to Jesus both during His life and on the cross. I.e. verse 3: “despised, forsaken, acquainted with grief, not esteemed”
(53:12 last phrase; Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25) While the Father Himself was doing all this to His Son instead of us, what was Jesus doing and still does to this day? How might this rekindle the flames of your heart?
Write a prayer from your heart in response to the truths from Isaiah 53.
JESUS’ MEMORY VERSES
How did Jesus use these fiery verses from Isaiah to help reignite the fading passion of love for the Father in the hearts of those around Him? Which of these most fans the flames of your heart? Why?
Matthew 13:13-23 (Isaiah 6:9)
Matthew 15:7-9 (Isaiah 29:13)
Matthew 21:12-13 (Isaiah 56:7)
John 6:41-48 (Isaiah 54:13)
John 12:35-43 (Isaiah 53:1)
TAG TEAM DISCUSSION (Isaiah 55:8-12)
In light of all the truths gleaned from our brief study of Isaiah, why is this passage so very encouraging? What one truth from Isaiah do you want the Lord to “accomplish” and “succeed” in your life? Why?