October 3, 2018: God's Holiness

 How would you define the word Holy?

                Which of these is a better illustration for Holiness and why?

Holiness means you’re without blemish or sin; in other words, you’re pure. What you see on the outside is what you see on the inside. You’re the same inside and out.

With the solid piece of chocolate, you can see that it’s the same, all the way through. With the candy bar the outside is covered in chocolate, but the inside is something different. When we talk about God’s holiness, we’re talking about the solid piece of chocolate: God is the same, complete and whole, all the way through.

·         The Communication:

·         Isaiah 6:1-3:

o   Isaiah has this vision, that he sees God.

o   Close your eyes for a minute as I read through this again. Imagine that you are Isaiah as I read. You are in the temple. 

§  God is sitting on a throne

·         He is high and lifted up above you

§  The train of his robe fills the entire temple.

§  There are angels standing above him, with 6 wings.

·         Two wings cover their face, two cover their feet, and the last two they use to fly.

§  The angels are calling out to each other, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts

·         The whole earth is full of his glory!

§  The foundations of the temple begin to shake.

§  Then a voice begins to speak

§  Smoke begins to fill the temple

·         What would your reaction be to this?

o   Would we be the same after experiencing God’s glory?

·         We see Isaiah reacting in the same manner that we should react when we experience God.

o   Woe is me! For I am lost

§  I am a man of unclean lips.

§  I dwell in the midst of people of unclean lips

§  My eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts!

·         The Confession (Isaiah 6:5)

·         Isaiah begins confessing sin.

o   I’m not worthy

o   I’m lost

o   I say things I shouldn’t say (my heart is not clean)

o   I have friends and others that I shouldn’t be around

o   I have seen the King, the creator of the universe.

It might seem a little scary or intimidating to consider exactly how holy God is. We have discussed this in the past, that experiencing God should bring us to a place of conviction and confession.

A deeper understanding of what “holy” really means can create a sense of wonder and attraction to God, not a fear that he will strike us down or punish us.

·         To fear God, means to be in awe of Him, to have the proper respect. We understand that He is higher than us, that he is holy and not like us. This is why we see in the vision that He is high and lifted up, or lofty.

·         Someone tell me what’s going on with the angels in verse 2. (They have their faces covered.) Even they don’t look upon God. The glory of God is something that even they can’t fully take. So, instead they constantly shout back and forth to each other about the greatness of God.

We, if we don’t know Christ as our savior can only experience God in this fearful manner. We are terrified of God and his judgment. We don’t know His peace or His love.

There may be some in here that don’t know Christ. It’s as if you are in a prison cell, awaiting the judgment of God, and you may not even realize it. There is good news though, as we will see in just a second. You can be set free from that prison cell.

§  The Cleansing (Isaiah 6:6-7)

o   A seraph, the angel with six wings, two covering his face, two his feet and two, flying comes to Isaiah and touches his lips with a hot coal.

§  Can you imagine how it must feel to have a burning coal touched to your lips? I’m guessing it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Has anyone ever been burned before?

·         (George Foreman grill)

§  Here’s the thing with sin, being unclean, unrighteous…

·         There is pain associated with sin.

o    Sometimes we hurt people around us when we sin,

o   sometimes others hurt us,

o    but when it comes to paying the price of sin, it is more than we realize.

§  For us now, that price has been paid by Christ.

·         We can be set free by Jesus when we acknowledge our need for him, and our need for forgiveness. When this happens, the sins that separate us from God are resolved by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and we can be in God’s presence without fear.

·         Then we can see God in His majesty, in his awesomeness, without concern for the wrath or judgment that He has for those that reject Him.

·         Like the angels constantly proclaiming the holiness of God, when we experience His salvation, we should be consumed by it, in our thoughts, in our actions, in our speech.

§  The Commission (Isaiah 6:8-13)

o   God asks whom will I send, who will go for Us?

§  He has this message for His people that judgment is coming.

·         All of us would be lining up to share that message, right? …Probably not.

o   Isaiah says, send me!

§  We can get in the habit of asking, “what’s in it for me?”

·         Someone asks a favor, or we are given a task…how do I benefit from this?

§  Would you take a job knowing that you wouldn’t accomplish anything?

§  Isaiah was eager to work for God

§  Isaiah didn’t care about the outcome, he just wanted to be obedient to God.

·         We need to have this same attitude. Here, God tells Isaiah that his mission is going to be unfruitful…that people will hear but not listen, they will see but won’t understand, they will harden their hearts.

·         Isaiah’s attitude here was not self-centered but God-centered. He was focused on God’s holiness, not his personal gain.

o   Some of you are not extroverts, you don’t like speaking in front of a bunch of people, and that is understandable. Some of you will speak to anyone about anything, and that’s great. But, we should be like Isaiah be more concerned with the message and who gave it to us and not the outcome.

o   The strength that we need to be as eager as Isaiah, doesn’t come from our own talents or preferences, it comes from a God who is Holy and has a desire to see His people repent and believe. Jesus, who is perfect and without sin, gives us strength to overcome things in this life that pull us away from Him. As we grow spiritually, getting to know Jesus more deeply and therefore becoming more like him, our thoughts and actions start to reflect the thoughts and actions of God, who is holy. Your inside starts to look more like your outside, and vice-versa.

§  The Challenge- Matthew 28:18-20

o   We have the same commission that Isaiah did thousands of years ago. We are called by God to share this message of repentance and love to those around us.

o   Jesus wants all people to be in heaven with him for eternity. But, he lets us choose whether we’ll follow him and how we will live.

o   We have to remember that we are not called to save people, but to present the good news of Christ. Some people will listen to it and be saved, others will reject it, but that is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit.

§  We share the message, the gospel, and pray for the individual, then the Holy Spirit begins to work in their hearts and they have a choice to make, to follow Christ or reject Him.

o   For us, if we are believers, we need to follow Christ because He has already redeemed us. He has already given us the ability to stand in the presence of a Holy and Righteous God, not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done for us.

o   Jesus desires for us to continue walking with Him throughout our lives. This means dying to self and becoming more complete as we mature spiritually.

§  The Conclusion- John 12:25-26

o   Jesus tells us what He expects from His servant

§  We must care more about Christ than our own lives.

·         Christ cared more about our salvation than His life.

§  We must follow Him, like He followed the will of His Father

·         This means, even when it isn’t easy, like Isaiah

§  Where He is, we will be also

·         Christ is always with those who serve Him. This is a great reminder that where He calls us, He will be. It may be a place that we are unsafe or lose our life, but Christ will be there with us.

§  If we serve Christ, the Father will honor us.

·         We will be honored by a Holy and righteous God. The creator of the universe. The savior of our souls. What more could we possibly want?

o   Jesus wants his followers to live holy lives. This doesn’t mean being perfect, but allowing his work in our lives to make us more like him—more complete, inside and out.