Summary: A sermon to emphasis the importance of holiness.
"His Character -- Our Calling"
1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
Introduction: Of all the things that the Bible says about God there is one thing that stands out and it is what God says about Himself. He declares that He is holy! I would think that I would be safe in saying that this is the single most undervalued and underappreciated quality of the character of God not only in our culture but also in the church world. Almost every ill facing the church today is directly related to the loss of appreciation for the holiness of God and His demand that we be holy!
ILL - Let's not drag God's standard of truth down to our level of performance. -- Morris Vendon
What else could explain the acceptance of practices that used to be universally condemned by the Church but are now being condoned and even embraced? A loss of appreciation for the holiness of God leads to superficial worship practices and precepts. A loss of appreciation for the holiness of God leads to a compromised lifestyle.
ILL - Dr. David Wells (GCTS) observes, "Worldliness is what makes sin look normal in any age and righteousness seem odd."
I. His Character
God is holy! That is the declaration of our text. But what does this mean?
a. The truth scrutinized
What does it mean when God says that He is holy? The holiness of God is the most difficult of all God's attributes to explain, partly because it is one of His essential attributes that is not shared, inherently, by man. We are created in God's image, and we can share many of His attributes, to a much lesser extent, of course--love, mercy, faithfulness, etc. But some of God's attributes, such as omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence, will never be shared by created beings. Similarly, holiness is not something that we will possess as an inherent part of our nature; we only become holy in relationship to Christ. It is an imputed holiness. Only in Christ do we "become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). God's holiness is what separates Him from all other beings, what makes Him separate and distinct from everything else. God's holiness is more than just His perfection or sinless purity; it is the essence of His "other-ness," God's holiness embodies the mystery of His awesomeness and causes us to gaze in wonder at Him as we begin to comprehend just a little of His majesty.
Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/holy-holy-holy.html#ixzz3X2D9uSjX
R.C. Sproul in his book "The Holiness of God" says this about God's holiness. "What God does it always consistent with who God is, He always acts according to His holy character. God's internal righteousness is the moral excellence of His character. It is rooted in His absolute purity. There is no "shadow of turning" in Him. As a holy God, He is utterly incapable of an unholy act. . . .There is a consistency in God, a "straightness" about him." (Sproul, pg.109)
b. The theme of Scripture (611 times holiness is used )
Isaiah was a firsthand witness of God's holiness in his vision described in Isaiah 6. Even though Isaiah was a prophet of God and a righteous man, his reaction to the vision of God's holiness was to be aware of his own sinfulness and to despair for his life (Isaiah 6:5). Even the angels in God's presence, those who were crying, "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty," covered their faces and feet with four of their six wings. Covering the face and feet no doubt denotes the reverence and awe inspired by the immediate presence of God (Exodus 3:4-5). The seraphim stood covered, as if concealing themselves as much as possible, in recognition of their unworthiness in the presence of the Holy One. And if the pure and holy seraphim exhibit such reverence in the presence of Jehovah, with what profound awe should we, polluted and sinful creatures, presume to draw near to Him! The reverence shown to God by the angels should remind us of our own presumption when we rush thoughtlessly and irreverently into His presence, as we often do because we do not understand His holiness.
John's vision of the throne of God in Revelation 4 was similar to that of Isaiah. Again, there were living creatures around the throne crying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty" (Revelation 4:8) in reverence and awe of the Holy One. John goes on to describe these creatures giving glory and honor and reverence to God continually around His throne. Interestingly, John's reaction to the vision of God in His throne is different from Isaiah's. There is no record of John falling down in terror and awareness of his own sinful state, perhaps because John had already encountered the risen Christ at the beginning of his vision (Revelation 1:17). Christ had placed His hand upon John and told him not to be afraid. In the same way, we can approach the throne of grace if we have the hand of Christ upon us in the form of His righteousness, exchanged for our sin at the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21).