Posts Tagged ‘ holiness ’

June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017

PSALM 74-77

Focus Verse: Your way, O God, is holy;
What god is great like our God?
Psalm 77:13

 

God’s way isn’t just right. His way isn’t just what’s best for us. His way isn’t just better than our way. God’s way is HOLY because He is holy. Interesting translation point here, the Hebrew root used here for ‘holy’ is qodesh, but the actual Hebrew word used here is baqqōdeš, which is commonly translated as “holy place” or “in the sanctuary”.

 

Isn’t that an interesting translation? God’s way is in His holy place. God’s way is in His sanctuary. God’s way is in His temple.

 

So let’s mash some verses together (while remaining exegetically responsible of course). 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 6:19 tells us that our hope is an anchor of our soul, one that holds us within the veil. The veil was what separated the rest of the temple from the holy of holies. So our anchor holds within the holiness of God. I listened to a sermon by Mark Batterson just this morning (isn’t God timing great!) about how the technique the writer of Hebrews is talking about here doesn’t have as much to do with stopping a ship from moving as it does navigating a ship through treacherous waters. If that’s the case, then our navigating anchor holds within God’s holiness.

 

So let’s land this plane. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit the minute you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. So inside of you there is THE SOURCE of holiness – the Holy Spirit! Inside of this temple is also the way of God…God’s will. The will of God is not a mystical path that you need to find! It’s not some ‘fountain of youth’ or other hidden treasure that God keeps burying somewhere else to keep you searching forever. The will of God is INSIDE of you!

 

His way is completely perfect. His way is completely holy. And his way is completely attainable. As long as you are following the Holy Spirit, God’s way is INSIDE of you. How can you know whether or not you’re following the Holy Spirit? Is Jesus your Lord and Savior? Are you listening to Him and willing to do what He asks of you? Then you’re in it! Let His will carry you.

June 14, 2017

June 14, 2017

PSALM 1-8

Focus Verse: Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.
Psalm 4:4

 

Interesting verse here. The verb ‘tremble’ used here in the NASB comes from the Hebrew root ‘ragaz’ which means to tremble with violent emotion. This lends itself in several ways in this passage, and both are applicable to us today.

 

The two emotions most commonly associated with this Hebrew word are fear and anger. Because of the lack of fluency between the Hebrew and English here, we have multiple translations of the Bible that translate this passage differently. The King James version says to “Stand in awe, and do not sin…” while the NIV and NLT say, “In your anger, do not sin…” The first assumes we are trembling with a fear of the Lord (a healthy fear, a reverence for him…standing in awe), the second that we are trembling because of anger.

 

Either translation holds some cool stuff. If we are trembling out of fear of the Lord, that really is the only way that we can truly keep from sinning. NOT because we fear punishment from Him. This is the wrong motive. 1 John 4:18 tells us that perfect love casts out fear. On the cross, Jesus Christ took away ALL of the wrath and punishment of God. So it is not our fear of punishment from God that keeps us from sin, but instead, our adoration of Him. Standing in awe of Him, a God so strong and so might and SO FOR US! That kind of reverence, that kind of adoration, will drive you to a place where sin is the last thing you want to do. You want to please your Father, you want to make Him happy, so out of love, you cling to Him and the path He has laid before you.

 

The second translation is also very cool. If you are trembling in anger, there follows a warning to be careful not to sin. But note that trembling in anger is not a sin. Did you catch that? IT IS NOT A SIN TO TREMBLE WITH ANGER. In fact, there are certain things that it would be a sin to not get angry about. If you witness abuse or injustice and are ok with that, there’s something wrong with that. The key in anger is not to keep from getting angry, the key is to be angry in a healthy way…under control and without letting sin creep in.

 

With both of these, we need to be careful. Our fear and reverence of God has to be healthy; it needs to be balanced. We must have the humility to be in awe of Him, yet the confidence that He has called us His prized possession. Likewise, our anger must be controlled and without sin. To do both of these, we must follow the second part of the verse, meditating in our hearts on our actions and trusting completely in God. Being still and allowing God to move on our behalf, trusting Him to tell us when to take action and when to let things go, is the ultimate test in self-control and in faith in Him. Do you believe He will guide you through it?

March 28, 2017

March 28, 2017

1 SAMUEL 4-8

Focus Verse: Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
1 Samuel 8:19-20

 

We have to ask ourselves, are we becoming more like God or more like the world? I think this is a question that we need to be asking ourselves on every decision we make. Is this decision making me more like God or more like the world.

 

There is a big push in the church today to start producing up to the world’s standards. I want to be very clear that I don’t think that is wrong. In fact, I think we should up the ante. If we believe that God is the Creator of the Universe, our Savior, that He died for us, that He loves us, I think that should motivate us to hold ourselves to a higher standard than the world. The movies, music, designs, art, you name it, that Christians produce should be so much better than anything the world can produce because we are doing it for Jesus.

 

But morally speaking, theologically speaking, content-wise, we need to make sure that we are making decisions to become more like Christ and less like the world. Who are we becoming? Who is our church becoming? Is it truly becoming THE Church? Or is it mirroring worldly success? Does our church look more like a business than a place Jesus would call His body? Are the people in our church looking more and more like Christ each and every day, or are they stagnant or in decline?

 

God’s command to us is to be holy, as He is holy.

 

You cannot be holy and fit in with this world.

 

Israel chose the world here in 1 Samuel 8. What’s your choice today?

February 26, 2017

February 26, 2017

NUMBERS 35-36

Focus Verse: “You must not defile the land where you live, for I live there Myself. I am the Lord, who lives among the people of Israel.”

Numbers 35:34

 

Where does God live? Any good little boy or girl who attends Sunday School will tell you that He lives in our hearts. When Jesus talked to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, He told her that a time was coming when it would no longer matter where someone worshiped God, but instead how they worshiped Him (in Spirit and in truth). And why is that? Because, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:16, “we are the temple of the living God”.

The same principle still applies though. If God is living in you, you must not defile His place of residence. I heard a heart wrenching story once from a pastor who had let his morals grow loose while serving in ministry. He said that it wasn’t something that happened overnight, but a very gradual, slippery slope. One Sunday morning he walked up to the pulpit to preach, got into a tight spot and when he looked for direction from the Spirit, he realized that the Spirit wasn’t where He used to be. He had lost the Spirit through turn after turn in disobedience.

Again, we need to walk this tightrope. This doesn’t mean that we are suddenly bound to the law and if we don’t keep it to a T, we’re toast; the Spirit leaves and will never come back. But if the Spirit is consistently telling you to turn from something, if He tells you not to go somewhere and you go anyway, if He tells you to do something and you don’t do it, eventually that voice is going to become quieter and quieter until you aren’t hearing anything at all.

It’s not that the Spirit has disappeared. We aren’t that powerful. But if you aren’t going to allow yourself to be used by the Spirit, He will find someone who will…which means that your “temple” will be nothing more than a dusty old monument; like many of the ancient ruins we see today.

Keep God’s temple clean. Keep your heart clean. Not by obeying the law, but by following the Spirit. HE will lead you into all truth. HE will make His home in your heart. HE will help you keep it clean. Your job is simply to obey.

February 4, 2017

February 4, 2017

LEVITICUS 11-13

Focus Verse: “For I, the Lord, am the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy.”

Leviticus 11:44

Careful or you might miss this one. I think God sneaks this little gem in right here to check us all to see if we’re skimming through these passages. “Yeah, yeah, yeah…unclean…I get it. Don’t touch a dead snake or I can’t do anything fun.” But if we aren’t paying attention, we miss this, and this is a big one to miss.

In fact, this is the key to all of the clean v. unclean business. It’s the key to everything that God tells us to do. We are called to be holy because He is holy. We are called, we are created, to be like God. That’s the whole point of being made in His image in the first place. Not that we look like God, but that we are like Him, down to the very core of our being.

And once again, we go back to the Gospel, we can’t. And this goes so far beyond dietary restrictions. Can anyone among us say, with any sort of confidence, that you are able to be holy as God is holy? Even for one day?

This is THE requirement of scripture. Every commandment, every law, every guideline, every consequence is for this reason: to make us holy like God.

But it took Jesus Christ becoming flesh, dying on a cross, being placed in the tomb, rising on the third day and ascending to heaven to make it stick. We were absolutely hopeless until Hope came to earth, until Hope was buried, until Hope rose again. And now, He has become our holiness; He has given us the power to become like Him.

What a Savior!