February 2, 2014  I Peter 1   Holy


     In my life I have been thinking and laboring with the thoughts of God’s holiness this week and I had to preach on it.   Christians in this culture put way too much emphasis on grace and forget that God is holy.   In this passage God says be holy in all that you do.  God is holy and He expects us to walk in holiness.   How do we walk in holiness?   We walk in and with the Holy Spirit.  .   Exodus 15:11 who among the gods is like you O Lord?   Who is like you majestic in holiness awesome in glory working wonders?     The Majestic seraphs or angels that Isaiah saw in Isaiah chapter 6 and they were calling to one another Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty the whole earth is full of his glory.  John saw and records the same thing in Revelation chapter 4 Holy, Holy, holy.  It is the only characteristic of God that is mentioned 3 times.  He is holy, holy, holy.   It is written in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. .   God wants us to know that.  

      Holiness is a quality that comes only from God.   It is associated only with God.   There is no holiness apart from God.  Isaiah writes the holy one of Israel some 24 times.   The books of Exodus, Leviticus and Isaiah use the term over and over again.  In Leviticus the word holy is mentioned over 90 times much of it to do with the tabernacle.   Holiness expresses who and what God is.  It is his character and God’s essence.  It is God’s personality.  Zondervan Bible Dictionary says that holiness is a synonym with power and that God controls all the power of the universe not to be tyrannical but to convey life and blessing to mankind.   His holiness and power are integrated to fulfill his purposes in his creation. God’s holiness is expressed in his justice. 

     God abhors sin.   God hates sin.  Since God abhors and hates sin he punishes it.   A holy God must punish sin.  We see with Isaiah that when we get in the presence of God that we hate our sin.    After Job had his discussion with God Job said therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.   Isaiah said woe is me I am undone.  I am ruined because I am a man of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the king the Lord Almighty.   In Revelation chapter 1when John the disciple that Jesus loved saw the glorified Jesus he writes I fell as a dead man.   One look of Jesus and he fell as a dead man.  You can say it will take your breath away.   God is holy.   God gives grace but God hates sin. 

    We see God defending his holiness in the Old Testament in Leviticus 10 Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command.   So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord.   Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said: “‘among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’”    Aaron remained silent  

    In Numbers 16 we see another incident where Korah treated the Lord with contempt.   Moses warned the assembly, “Move back from the tents of these wicked men! Do not touch anything belonging to them, or you will be swept away because of all their sins.”   So they moved away from the tents of Korah, Dathan and Abiram.    Dathan and Abiram had come out and were standing with their wives, children and little ones at the entrances to their tents.   Then Moses said, “This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea:  If these men die a natural death and suffer the fate of all mankind, then the Lord has not sent me.    But if the Lord brings about something totally new, and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them, with everything that belongs to them, and they go down alive into the realm of the dead, then you will know that these men have treated the Lord with contempt.”  

      As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions.   They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community.  The next day the people gathered against Moses and the glory of God came down and wrath came out from the Lord and 14,700 people died.   Aaron took a sensor to offer atonement for the people and stopped the plague.  Such illustrations of God’s power and holiness are troubling.  

    At one point the Philistines captured the ark of the covenant of God and they put it at the feet of Dagon their idol god.  The next morning Dagon is face down before the ark.  They set Dagon back up and the next morning Dagon is face down but his arms were broken and his head broken off.  Every town the Philistines put the ark of God was afflicted by Almighty God.   God defends his holiness.   When the ark came back from the Philistines to Beth Shemesh 70 men looked in the ark and the Lord struck them down.  The men of Beth Shemesh said who can stand in the presence of the Lord?   God gave directions on how the ark was supposed to be moved.  The priests were supposed to carry the ark of God on poles.  David builds a cart and moves the ark on a cart pulled by oxen.   The ox stumbled in II Samuel 6 and Uzziah reached out to steady the ark and God immediately struck him down and he died right beside the ark.  You just don’t grab and look into the ark of God.   That seems real tough to us today.  

     We like to discount the Old Testament in some ways.  We live after the cross and we have grace and mercy.  We feel that some of those Old Testament things are passé.   And yes we do not offer animal sacrifices anymore.    Some things we are free from.   We are thankful for the cross and no more animal sacrifices.  God told Noah not to eat meat with blood in it and it is interesting that is mentioned in Acts.   The gentiles were told not to do that in Acts 15.   The New Testament encourages us to learn from the Old Testament.     Romans 15:4 says  For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.   Everything that was written was to teach us.   All scripture and doctrine is for your good.   Read and study the bible and know it.  Too many Christians have never read through the bible.     I Corinthians 10 for I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.   They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.    They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.   Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

     Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.  Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.    We should not test Christ, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes.  And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.  These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come.  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!   Romans 1 the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.   In Galatians 6 do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.   Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.   In Acts 5 Ananias and Sapphira lie to the Holy Spirit and they die.   Their lives are a warning for us.  These are hard things.   God is so gracious and merciful.   Look at how many live who lie.   God gives us his word so that we can follow it and be blessed.  If we choose to sin and disregard it we do so to our hurt.   His commandments are not grievous and are given for our good.     

      Leviticus 19:2 you shall be holy for I the lord your God am holy.   But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”    Peter tells us the same thing in the passage today.    We are to sanctify God in our heart.  We are to be separate from the world.  God is the standard of holiness.  It is not what I think or what you think or some other person but what God says.  Holiness is tied in with faith.   Who will a person believe when it comes to standards of morality and right and wrong?   G.K. Chesterton once said, "It is often supposed that when people stop believing in God, they believe in nothing.   Alas, it is worse than that. When they stop believing in God, they believe in anything."    Someone said without God the only standard of trust - of right and wrong - is what appeals to you. And that's a shifting standard.   It all depends on what I want, what I like, what I accept, what pleases me.   Man’s standards are warped with impurity and selfishness.  There are absolute truths – thank you Lord.    The path to destruction is to ignore God believe and do whatever strikes my fancy.   I need to trust God to sanctify me and purify me.  I also have to control my thoughts and my mind.   In the disciples prayer Jesus tells us to pray - keep me from evil or the evil one.   God established a wall of protection around Job that Satan knew about.  

      We need to walk in that wall of protection.   If a man is filled with anger, then anger controls his life.  If a man is filled with greed, then greed dominates his life.  If a man is filled with lust, then lust governs his life.  If a man is filled with love, then love influences all he does.   And if a man is filled with the Holy Spirit, he is controlled by the Spirit - it is, if you will, "control by consent."   It is control by action and by my will.  We need that wall of protection in our families.    This passage tells us be holy in all you do.  Be holy in how you live at home.  Be holy in the work place.   Be holy in how you relate to your spouse.  The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence.   Satan would have people believe that someone else is better.   Many men battle with porn.  Job said I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.    Many women battle with TV soaps. 

     Both create a world that is not real.  Gals can get hooked on that guy that is always so romantic and is loving and is so good looking.   That guy is so not like my husband and he is so desirable.  It is not a real world and real life.   It is interesting the rise of reality shows on TV – perhaps somewhat of a movement toward reality and real life.   Satan will challenge us in our walk with Jesus.   Christians should not think it strange that things are not perfect at home.   The kids are not perfect.   We are born with that sin nature.   I think it would be so interesting to get a glimpse of Jesus house hold as he was growing up.  It would be so neat to see Jesus in those teen years.  Scripture said he submitted to his parents and we know they were not perfect.    

     The Holy Spirit tells us to live our lives as strangers here in reverent fear.   We are strangers to this world system.  We are to be different in how we live.   We are to be shining lights and salt.  God says in verse 18 you were redeemed from an empty way of life.  Life without Jesus is vain and empty.   Be holy in all that you do.  Be holy when you drive.  Be holy when you are alone.  Be holy with what you see on the TV, the computer and the smart phone.  Commit your sleep to the Lord so that it may be to Him and holy.   Be holy in all that you do.