Summary: The aim of this sermon is to help us to capture a vision of God's holiness so that we realize that we must take God's holiness as seriously as God does and to strive to be holy like God is.

A. One day Charlie Brown and Lucy and Linus were lying on the ground, looking up at the sky.

1. Lucy says, “Aren’t the clouds beautiful? They look like big balls of cotton. I could just lie here all day and watch them drift by.”

2. Then Lucy says, “If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations. What do you think you see, Linus?”

3. Linus responds, “Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean. And that cloud looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins (Ay-Kins), the famous painter and sculptor. And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen. I can see the Apostle Paul standing there to one side.”

4. Lucy congratulates him, “Uh huh, that’s very good. What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?”

5. Charlie Brown replies, “Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind.”

B. While it is all fun and games for us to subjectively see different things when we look at the clouds, however, the stakes are very high when it comes to how we envision God.

1. Who God is and what God is like is not a subjective thing that is open to imagination.

2. God has revealed Himself to us and we can objectively know God.

3. But unfortunately, rather than looking for the truth in Scripture, many people prefer to envision a God of their own imagination.

4. And when some use their imagination, they see a God who looks like Santa Claus — who doesn’t really care if we naughty or nice — but winks at our sin and giggles at our iniquity — a God who is too loving and kind to allow anyone go to hell.

5. Similarly, others use their imagination and see a God who looks like a kindly grandfather — who accepts all his children just the way they are — and never bothers to change them. He is a God who gives them everything they want and never expects anything in return — a God who honors all religions and sees one way to Him just as good as another — a God who is so accepting He eventually is going to let everybody into heaven.

6. Those visions of God would be all well and good except for one thing – they don’t line up with the truth about God as He has revealed Himself to us.

C. If I were to ask you — When you think about God — what do you imagine? What would you say?

1. Would you say: I imagine a God of Love... a God of Mercy... a God of Grace and forgiveness... A God of Hope...a God of Strength when we are weak... a God of second chances when we fail.

2. If you have heard me preach over the years, then you know that I believe in each one of these wonderful qualities of God – Our God is a God of love, mercy, grace, and second chances.

3. However, if we’re not careful, then those attributes of God can morph into a God who is just there to make life easier on us and doesn’t really care about sin and disobedience.

4. If we allow ourselves to think that way, then we have forgotten about one of the most important attributes of God – God’s holiness.

D. God is HOLY.

1. In many ways, holiness is God’s central attribute.

2. Ultimately, holiness is what makes God, God.

3. Holiness is the only attribute of God that is mentioned in triplicate.

a. There are two times that the Bible tells us that God is holy, holy, holy (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8).

b. If God says something about His character once, then that’s enough to settle it.

c. When God says it twice, that’s emphasis, but when He says it three times, that means it is of supreme importance.

d. Repetition like that in the Hebrew language performs the work of our highlighter or exclamation point.

4. No other attributes of God receive that kind of emphasis.

a. No where in Scripture do we read, “Love, Love, Love” or “Wise, Wise, Wise” or “Just, Just, Just,” rather all we see is “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

E. What do we usually think of when we think of the word “holy”?

1. Maybe we think of something sacred, religious, spiritual, consecrated or special.

a. Like the Holy Bible, or holy ground, or holy communion.

2. Or maybe we think of it as an expression of surprise: “holy smokes!” “holy cow!” “holy mackerel!” or “holy schmoly!”

3. But what does “holy” mean when applied to God?

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