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Holiness




How many of you want to see God? What is one thing which you must have in order to see God? Have you ever read about the different beings that there are in Heaven? What were they created for and what are they doing?
In Revelation 4: 8 - 12 we have a very interesting picture of the beings which surround the Throne of God. The four beings surround the throne of God and continually cry out, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE LORD ALMIGHTY WHICH WAS AND IS AND IS TO COME. If these beings who have been holy from the beginning have a response is like this - what should our response be when we, who were once lost in our sins, have been purified and cleansed. Our response should be like Isaiah. Woe is me, I am undone for I am a man of unclean lips and I live in the midst of a people with unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of host. His response a little later should also be ourís. When confronted with the responsibility to get the message of Godís holiness out to the nations, Isaiah volunteers.

Today we would like to get a picture of what it means to be holy and how we can obtain holiness. Picture of holiness - wearing a halo. The reflection of being with God is a shining face and brightness of the eyes. Holiness is to the human spirit what cleanliness , good nutrition and exercise are to the body.

The term holy means to set apart, or separate. God commands holiness both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Israelites were told in Lev. 19:2 and 20:26 that they are to be holy because God is holy and they are to be like him. God also wants us to be the kind of people He can claim as His people. I Peter 1:16 ďBe ye holy for I am holy.Ē Hebrews 12:14 says that without holiness no man will see the Lord.Ē If we do not pursue holiness Hebrews warns us that we will probably become bitter, or have a problem with immorality or with materialism.

Sincerity and zeal not a substitute for holiness. There are many people who are sincerely wrong. They pursue false gods. Some teach that Alla or Buddha is the same supreme being as the Christian God. Whatever their god it really doesnít matter as long as they are sincere. That is not what our scripture teaches because true holiness comes only through the forgiveness of sins, the cleansing of the blood of Jesus Christ.

To some holiness is a list of doís and donít. I am not here today to give a list of questionable practices but challenge you to think about which activities lead to spiritual growth. - to be in a state ready to meet God at any time. On the other hand many people try to enjoy as much of the world instead of enjoying as much of God as possible. Their false thinking says if God made everything good than I can enjoy everything. Oh the danger of seeking the cheap thrills of this world. In the computer industry we have a word for that. It is GIGO - garbage in, garbage out. Do you want to feed on husks fed to swine or unadulterated, pure sweet word of God. Would you like to go into the front door of the restaurant or the back door - garbage bin?

World make us laugh at sin, first dulling our sense of the perverseness and wrongness of sin and then searing our conscience as we expose continually ourselves to it. Happens so slowly that we are able to reshape our theology and justify our immoral activities. 1 John 2:15 says, ď Love not the world neither the things in the world. If any many love the world the love of the Father is not in him. This is a verse that I struggle to understand and apply to my life.

Some people reveal their holiness not by their words but by the music they listen to and the TV shows they watch. They cannot be filled by the Spirit because too much garbage filling their spiritual buckets. Not grey but pure light. Not what is wrong with it but what is right? Not just looking to other men to justify self but look to Godís standard to fill our lives.

Are we serving the cause of Christ? Do we have a hunger and thirst for God, and for his filling. When is the last time you cried out to God to filling you, empower you with his goodness, strength?

Satanís plot is to destroy our concept of what is holy. We are to be holy as God is holy. The only one who is truly holy is God himself. I have heard people around me profane Godís holiness by attaching words like cow, smoke or even more vulgar expressions to this word. I cringe when I hear it knowing that these people are ignorant of the words they speak and it is a signal to pray for them. That they might meet the One who is holy so that they might understand true holiness.

Holiness is not just putting away sin but conforming to Godís purity. We want to experience Godís holiness because without that we will NOT SEE GOD.

The Japanese symbol for holy is an ear, mouth and the character for king or jewel. We need to listen, and praise God to see the King in His splendor.
Jerry Bridges writes, ď When we indulge our sinful natures and live unholy lives, the Spirit of God is grieved and will not prosper our service. This does not mean that God requires sinless perfection before he will bless our service. It means though that God will withhold is blessing from the service of those whose lifestyles are consistently dishonoring to him.

Holiness is the spiritual equivalent of physical exercise - not a passive set of doctrinal beliefs but true Christianity in action. We need to have the right motivation. Holiness is not the outward appearance of goodness but inner cleansing so we can conform to the image of God

Practical -

1. Forgiveness the first step. We need forgiveness from God and from others. Purity before God. Clear your conscience. Purity comes from putting away one sin at a time. If the holy spirit convicts you of anything clear it up as soon as possible so you can begin working on the next sin in your life. Remove all hypocracy. Ask God to remove the evil one from areas in our life where we have allowed Satan a foothold in our lives and give these areas back to God. Get free from the past - even generational sins.

We need not only be free in our relationship with God but also in our relationship with others. If we have been violated by others this deep hurt causes bitterness and keeps from holiness.

2 Develop Bible based convictions

God has special rewards for those who are faithful in following the commands which he has given us for our well being. Isaiah 58:8 - 59:4 tells us of one of these which I believe we have neglected to follow in our day. Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Ex 20:8 - 12 (Deuteronomy 5:11) tells us that we are not to do any work nor have any one else work for us. It is even put stronger in Ex. 31:2 Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. We have moved a long way from the Word of God in our society. The Lordís day is no longer holy, but it can become holy for you once again.

3.Develop a lifestyle that is in complete obedience to Godís word. Put away carnal desires. Modesty in all including dress.

Example of John and Charles Wesley who with George Whitefield started the Holy Club at Oxford University in England. They were ridiculed by students and faculty but they ended up bringing life and peace to more people than any others in their day. They were disciplined, wanting others to experience Godís grace. They gave themselves to preaching and teaching the word of God to thousands. I still have the rhema God gave me to share with you at Christmas ringing in my mind. All of Godís word is not impossible. What dreams have you had since then?

4. Humility - have compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, self-control

A traveler once asked a North American Indian why he had become a Christian. The convert did not answer him in words. He gathered together some dry leaves and moss and made a ring with them on the ground. The picked up a live worm and put it in the middle of the ring. He struck a light and set the moss and leaves on fire. The flame soon rose and the heat scorched the worm. It writhed in agony, and after trying in vain to escape on every side, curled itself up in the middle, as if about to die in despair. At that moment the Indian reached forth his hand, took up the worm gently and placed it on his lap. ďStrangerĒ... ďDo you see that worm? I was that perishing creature, I was dying in my sins, hopeless, helpless, and on the brink of eternal fire. It was Jesus Christ who put forth the arm of His power. It was Jesus Christ who delivered me with the hand of His grace, and plucked me from everlasting burnings. It was Jesus Christ who placed me, a poor sinful worm, near the heart of His love. Sir, that is the reason why I talk of Jesus Christ and make much of Him, I am not ashamed of it, because I love Him. Love not the world, neither the things in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Where is our first love? Do we want to see God? Practice holiness.

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Feb 2/ 97