New Hope Notes
Make Us Holy
Pastor Randy Remington
I was asked to talk about if I had only one prayer, what would it be? The answer is I would pray to make us holy. In 1st Peter it says that we should be holy because without holiness we cannot see God. And I want to see God. Without holiness, we are a distorted version of ourselves. With holiness we see the truth of who He is and the world sees Him through us. So I pray to make us holy so that we can see God and that the rest of the world can see God through us.
How many of us have been around a truly superlative person? You know, like someone that is extremely beautiful, talented, smart or athletic? Intimidating, right? Well, Pastor Wayne is a superlative person. He is handsome, gregarious, endearing and a top 10 leader. I knew him from a distance and was intimidated by him. The first time I met him was at a practicum and we were suppose to take turns reading our journals to the group after studying the Bible. My turn was next after Pastor Wayne. His reading was perfect and eloquent and could be published, even! I was awed but even more I was embarrassed at what I had written in contrast so I just excused myself by saying that God’s revelation to me was simply too personal to reveal!
It is sort of like that in Heaven. The angels are awed by the greatness of God. They repeat “Holy, Holy” in His presence. No sin can glory in God’s presence. We need to understand that…
HOLINESS IS WHO GOD IS AND WHAT HE REQUIRES OF US.
As the Bible says, “For this is what the high and lofty One says – He who lives forever, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Is. 57:15). God is alone and above us but is willing to come down to be near to us. He is especially accessible to those that know that they have no holiness without Him. He says that He will draw close to those who are lowly.
TO BE HOLY IS TO BE SEPARATED FROM EVIL AND SET APART FOR GOD’S GLORY.
We are called to be set aside for God’s purpose. God is unique and so far above us. Only when we understand holiness will we understand issues of identity, trust, value and worth. A little boy with teenaged sisters had some understanding and he asked, “How many teenaged girls does it take to screw in a light bulb?” One to hold the light bulb and then whole world revolves around her!” I tell you this because it reminds me that I am not God. He is the one that keeps the world revolving.
You should also know that I annoy my wife with my ability to fall asleep in 30 seconds of hitting the pillow. She takes an hour. I tell her it is because I have a clean conscience! I tease her that God can sleep now because she has the weight of the world on her shoulders!
The holiness of God frees us from worry. God is more massive than our wildest imaginations. After an eternity, there is no sign of wear and tear on Him. He owns the universe. God is in control of all. He can name every man and woman that ever lived. His kingdom has no end. Yet he has time have a close relationship with every one of us. It makes perfect sense that He is God and I am not. We need to understand that…
1. GOD CHOSE US TO BE HOLY.
It is written, “For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight” (Eph. 1:4). From the very beginning, it was God’s plan that we be with Him. Man was made from the dirt. That’s why men feel so comfortable getting dirty, but women were not made from the dirt so that’s why they don’t like dirt! It was His plan from the beginning that we see Him face to face. The first thing Adam saw was God and that is the way it was supposed to be but sin through our disobedience separated Man from God. Man turned his face away from God and looked to other things in life to fulfill him because he was seduced by the Devil. But repentance is turning back to God.
Have you ever made a choice that you regretted? Like choosing something from the menu that tasted terrible or adopting a pet that you wish you had not? The greatness of God is that He loves us anyway even though we have sinned. He does not regret loving us. The instant we were lost to Him, He went into full pursuit mode to get us back.
I once took my family on a trip and we had to take a train. Our three children were young at the time and our four-year-old accidentally got on board a train first and the doors closed before the rest of us could board! Everything changed for us as soon as those doors closed and the train left. Nothing mattered to us except getting our son back. That is how God felt. As soon as sin entered, God went in hot pursuit of us. He made the sacrifice of His body in the form of Jesus Christ find us.
We need God to make us holy because as it is written, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). We must realize that…
2. GOD ALONE MAKES US HOLY.
As the Bible says, “Both the One who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers” (Heb. 2:11). This means that when you are made holy through Jesus you become like family or like brothers. Therefore you are once again compatible to be with God. It is the work of the Cross. God had to find a way to make us holy because He could not lower Himself to us. Instead, He had to find a way to bring us up to His holy standard. If we come through Jesus then God would reconcile us and we would be compatible with Him. If He had let us try to redeem ourselves on our own it would take great suffering and it would have been a debt we could not humanly pay. So Christ paid the price for us. The Law condemned us but Jesus redeemed us.
Ever notice that we get nervous and drive differently when we know there is a cop around? One way to not worry is to have someone else drive! In the same manner, Man cannot live up to God's law so we should simply let Jesus take the wheel!
Some of us may be thinking that even though we are forgiven that we will go to Heaven burdened with a rap sheet. Actually, choosing Christ is complete redemption. It will be like we have never sinned. God has said that He will remember our sins no more. But we should always remember that this forgiveness is not because of anything we have done but is because of what Jesus has done for us.
Still, it is an ongoing process as…
3. OUR HOLINESS IS PERFECTED.
We need to work on ourselves. As it is written, “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God” (2 Cor. 7:1). Having God affects how we see the world. Our life with God will conflict with the rest of the world. When we think of perfecting our holiness we sometimes think of all the rules we have to follow but it really is not like that. So what is one way to perfect our holiness?
· THROUGH DISCIPLINE: WE ARE LOVED BY OUR FATHER.
God disciplines us for our good. I am reminded of the time that I was real angry with my young son and later as I watched him sleep how much I love him, anyway. As he slept, he was not doing anything to earn my love and was unaware of his father watching over him, yet I thought I couldn’t imagine anyone loving me as much as I love him. Just as I thought that I heard God’s voice in my head saying, “I love you even more.”
Why do I step in to discipline my son? It is because I care who he is becoming because I love him. God loves us too much to let us get away with sin. When I understand that perfecting holiness is being in God’s family then I do not want to be an orphan. Another way to perfect holiness is…
· THROUGH HIS WORD: WE ARE CLEANSED THROUGH HIS WORD.
The Bible talks about being washed clean using the word. As it is written, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Eph. 5:25-27). Words transform and beautify us. At weddings, I tell husbands that I can tell in two years how they have treated their wives by looking to see if the wives have become more radiant and holy. So they should speak loving words to their brides. A third way to perfect our holiness is…
· THROUGH WORSHIP: WE ARE CHANGED IN HIS PRESENCE.
Right now, people are surfing and doing all sorts of things outside of church, but you chose to be here. People who made the right choice will populate Heaven. We become mastered and shaped by what and whom we serve. So worship Him. As the Bible says, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness” (Ps. 29:2). When we worship we are saying our lives are in God’s hands and that we want to be shaped by Him. When I do that I understand the joy that comes with the worship of Him and I cannot understand why anyone would rebel against a perfect God. The beauty of Heaven is that God chose us and that we accepted and honored that choice. He will also honor for all eternity the choice of those that refuse His invitation. God says that we can share in His holiness and when we do we can know the truth of who He is and the world can then know that same truth through us.
Holiness is who God is and what He requires of us. To be holy is to be separated from evil and to be set apart for God’s glory. God chose us to be holy and He alone makes us holy. But our holiness is an ongoing process of being perfected through discipline, His word and worship of Him. Only through holiness can we see God and others can see Him through us.
1. Why does God require holiness of us?
2. What happened when you were not disciplined?
3. What happened when you did not discipline your child?
4. How have you been cleansed by the word?
5. How have you been made more holy through worship?
6. How has discipline made you more holy?
7. Why did God let sin enter the world?