Summary: A short sermon recognising the importance of being cleansed before God and living a a life of Holiness.
God wants us to be in constant communion with him. So often we can find it difficult to get in touch with God. It is as if somehow we are shouting over from a distance to God rather than speaking to him face to face. Often we can find the reason for this is sin. It can often be guilt preventing us from entering into Gods presence.
Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, "May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone
19:who sets his heart on seeking God - the LORD, the God of his fathers -even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary."
The first thing that God looks for is that our heart is set on seeking God. We can take comfort in the fact that God looks first at our heart. If we are seeking Him wholeheartedly then we can be assured of his forgiveness. However, we still need to deal with this sin. The people still had to purify themselves before they could really enter into Gods presence. I am going to go on to how the people cleansed themselves later, but first I want to look at the importance of purifying ourselves before God and getting rid of all forms of Sin from our lives.
1.Prevents us from entering into his presence.
But if anyone who is unclean eats any meat of the fellowship offering
belonging to the LORD, that person must be cut off from his people.
If a person was unclean and tried to enter into fellowship with God then he would no longer be counted as part of His people. If a priest attempted to enter the Holy Tabernacle without first being clean then he would be killed. The high priest used to wear a rope around his waist in case God found a sin in him and struck him down dead. The people wouldn’t be able to go in and carry him out as the would be struck down also and so they would have to pull him out on the rope. Although God can forgive sin He can not let it enter his presence and that is why we can’t get into his presence if we still have sin in our lives.
An example of this is when the radio wasn’t working in my car. I thought of everything that could be wrong with it. It turned out dirt had just got between the connections of the security tab that I take out any time I leave the car. This tab had been exposed to the elements when it was not secure in the radio, and so when it was placed back in, grime prevented the connection. In the same way when we are in the world sin can cover us like the muck in the radio and prevent us from connecting with God.
2.Prevents us from doing Gods will.
In Joshua chapter five, the people had just come out of the desert and were about to take on Jericho. However they hadn’t been circumcised. It was only after they had done this that God met them personally. The following day they were able to take the city. If they had tried in their own strength they probably would have failed. Circumcision represented having the world and its fleshly desires cut away and being set apart for God. In the same way it is only when we remove the sin from our lives that we can expect to do anything in Gods power.
I had further problems with my car not long ago. It would constantly cut out and then not restart. I had all the experts look at it and it took two weeks before it was fixed. It turned out just to be dirt again, blocking a connection to the fuel pipe and the engine, causing the car to cut out. Sin cuts off our power supply in the same way.
3.It can lead to our destruction.
If left, sin can not only prevent us from contact with God, but if we stubbornly refuse to rid ourselves of it, it will lead to our destruction. In Judges chapter 19-21 We read the story of the traveller passing through the territory of Benjamin. Some of the perverts from the town tried to rape him but ended up raping and killing the mans concubine. Because the tribe of Benjamin refused to give up the evil men that had done this, almost the whole tribe was wiped out. We need to be careful to rid ourselves of the sin.
The cleansing in the old testament came in two forms. The people had to be cleansed in water and in blood. Water which represents the Holy Spirit takes effort from the person themselves. They would thoroughly wash not only themselves but also their clothes. In the same way if we want to be clean before God it takes effort on our part. We have to examine ourselves closely and rid ourselves of the sin. We have to make the effort to stop gossiping, lusting etc and we have to expose the sin to God before it can be cleansed. We need to be in constant communication with the Spirit and His cleansing power.