Summary: We are in our series on Core Values. Core Values are the DNA that define who we are, what we are in infancy and in greatness. What God has called us to be. They are not just creeds on plaque or notes in book somewhere. They are the essence of who we a
Core Values: Character / Hebrews 12:9-16 (NIV)
9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!
10 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.
11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.
13 "Make level paths for your feet," so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.
a. As I preach about such a core value, I am uncomfortable & humble. Of all the subjects I ever preach on, personal holiness is a struggle for me.
b. I can preach on God’s grace and mercy, because I’ve so needed and have received it. I can preach about God’s awesome power, because I’ve seen it and know it is real. But when it comes to personal holiness, I feel so unworthy to talk about it, so far from ever grasping it, so in need of having it.
c. As I contemplated this message this week, I thought about holiness and character. I thought, if you think you have it, feel good about where you are in striving toward it, you don’t understand it.
d. Think about the mighty prophet Isaiah. He had preached for 18 years, he had written 5 chapters of the Word of God. Then, in the year Uzziah died, he saw the Lord. He saw God high & lifted up, and His glory filled the temple.
i. He saw the house filled with smoke, the doorposts shaking, and the seraphim & cherubim crying.
ii. He heard the heavenly declaration over and over "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord."
iii. Isaiah realized the holiness of God and began to groan,
iv. "Woe is me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
e. When you began to glimpse the holiness of God, you can never feel holy.
i. I don’t understand "holiness" Christians who feel like they have "out-holied" others and are at a place where they can sit in judgment of someone.
f. I feel like Paul who said "in my flesh is no good thing."
i. I have to be honest with you this morning, apart from the grace of God, there is nothing I’m above.
ii. If God were to remove His grace for a moment, I’d fall into who knows what.
g. So as I preach to you on personal holiness, character, and integrity, I don’t do it as someone who has arrived pointing to you the way.
i. I expound this core value with reverent fear, praying like Paul "I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."
h. Illustration – Crooked Button
i. Have you ever walked around all day where you got up in the morning and you didn’t get your shirt buttoned right? You look all crooked & stupid, and nobody will tell you. All it takes to get messed up is to have your top button lined up with the button hole under it.
ii. Maybe you weren’t paying that close attention when you did it, it’s an easy mistake to make, and easy for you to miss -- though everybody else sees it. Well, all you got to do to fix it is get the top button right and all the others fall in place.
iii. I think holiness is the same way. If you get Grace right, it all falls into place. You must depend on and draw from God’s grace to get everything else in your life lined up right.
i. So I fearfully declare to you what God’s word commands "without holiness no one will see the Lord."
i. So based on our dependence on God’s grace, the restraining power of the Holy Spirit, and the principles for wise living found in Scripture, there are elements of our core value of character we’re going to expound today.