Summary: When I seek worship, purity and holiness then serving others in Jesus name, praying in Jesus name and sharing the truth of Jesus name comes as natural to me as eating and sleeping.
We describe the free gift that Jesus provides through his death, burial and resurrection, to those who choose to do life with him, salvation. This is the overall umbrella of a Jesus follower. It’s our ultimate protection against the rain of evil and sin that falls on us. If we place the umbrella down and decide not to use it, we open ourselves up to exposure to the things of this world. This gift only comes through Jesus. There is no other way to God but through him. We don’t deserve the gift because of our sinful nature. We can’t earn the gift because there is no way we can be perfect, pure or holy enough to deserve it. This is why we call it a free gift.
So I would like to take a look at a present. This is a box that’s been wrapped up real nice. Well, as nice as I can wrap a box. Let’s just say for the sake of this illustration that this gift or present represents the gift that Jesus gives us. If I give this gift to you what are you going to do with it? Is there something you need to do before you can use the gift? Obviously you must unwrap it before you can use it. Does that make the gift any less free to you?
“Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:37-38
“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Ephesians 2:8
I see all these verses really saying the same thing. Before you can put to use the free gift you’ve been given, you must receive it and open it. Last week when we worshipped at the lake Valerie was baptized. That was when she opened this gift. For her and for all of us who have chosen to receive this gift we own the responsibility to use it. God has shared His glory with us and he expects us to share His glory with the world.
We use God’s gift by understanding the Word He gave us. What we’ve been discussing through Ezekiel is how God wants us to use our salvation. Today we finish up the third life premise that God demands of us. The first is worship. The second is purity. And the third that we will talk about today is holiness. But first I want to show how all of this works together in the life of a Jesus follower. I’m a visual learner and a visual teacher so let me point your attention to the illustration on the screen.
God demands worship. Jesus said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
A life with God begins with a genuine love for Him. This is where worship starts. The Bible defines what worship is.
Romans 12:1 says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters,I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”
The word worship really means to serve. When say, “worship service,” we are channeling the Little Ceasars guy because what we’re actually saying is “service service.” We use our salvation by serving others. In Matthew 25:31-40 Jesus is discussing the final judgement and those who would enter heaven. He said it would be those who served others in His name. This is worship.
Then we talked about purity. Jesus said, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.” Matthew 5:8
When precious metal like gold is purified it is heated to burn away the impurities. This process is called cupellation. A blacksmith or welder heats hard metals like steel or iron to mold it into a tool or shape that has a particular function. This is what God does when he purifies us. Jesus said, “What sorrow awaits the world, because it tempts people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting. So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one hand or one foot than to be thrown into eternal fire with both of your hands and feet. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It’s better to enter eternal life with only one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell” Matthew 18:7-9 This is the idea behind purity. Cutting off or getting rid of things in our life that cause us or help us to sin.