Summary: The LORD welcomes us to live a life of authentic holiness. 1. The Call to Holiness Is Universal 2. The Call to Holiness is Practical and Relational 3. The Call to Holiness is Transparent.
Theme: Holiness Today?
The LORD welcomes us to live a life of holiness. 1. The Call to Holiness Is Universal 2. The Call to Holiness is Practical and Relational 3. The Call to Holiness is Transparent
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world.
Our passages this morning deal with a singular them; the theme of holiness. But exactly what is holiness and what does it look like in our world today?
+Is it the holy person or holiness the mystic that resides on the mountainside?
+ Is it the monk that is hidden away in some desolate desert monastery?
+Is it the lady who has surrounded herself with a collection of spiritual crystals?
+ Is it the person who is sitting in a lotus position doing their best to capture "nothingness"?
Holiness and the idea of being holy are by many considered to be antiquated thoughts and concepts. Concepts left better for those who lived during the 18th or 19th century. Ideas better left for those living alone and away from the hustle and bustle of the 21st century. Many believe that a life of holiness is neither attainable and/or necessary. Some have even concluded that such notions as living a life of holiness has no place in the modern day Body of Christ. And yet, the Bible deals with the subjects of holy or holiness over 500 times.
This morning, I would like for us to spend a few moments looking at the experience of holiness. Holiness as it is seen in both our Gospel passage and in the passage we read from the book of Leviticus (19:1-2; 9-18).
Our passage in Leviticus is a part of what our Jewish friends call Par shah of Kedoshim; which means that is part of a section of the Torah reading that deals specifically with the idea and life of Holiness. The Par shah of Kedoshim includes all of Leviticus chapters nineteen and twenty. It is in this section that we find Moses sharing with the people a number of ways in which they can express their holiness. Moses provides dozens of mitzvoth's (divine commandments) that are to help them learn how to live a holy lifestyle.
What can we take from this passage and other similar to it concerning holy and holiness?
I. We quickly understand that The Call to Holiness is a Universal Call
One of the things our Jewish friends point out to us very quickly here in the beginning verses of Leviticus 19 is the universal call of Holiness. The LORD GOD ALMIGHTY did not instruct Moses to limit this call to either the 120 spiritual leaders or even to the 12 Tribal leaders. Instead, Moses was called to speak to the whole congregation of Israel. That means to everyone.
This is one of the few places in the Torah that we see that the LORD made a universal call. The LORD wanted everyone to understand that He was inviting them to experience a life of holiness. This call included both Jew and non-Jew. It included all those who had joined the Children of Israel when they were redeemed from Egypt. It included all those that joined them along their journey. The Lord's Call of Holiness is Universal and it is both a promise and a commandment.
We see that this call to Holiness is further echo by our Lord Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. One of the things that Matthew shares with us over and over again is that the Messiah came not only for the Jew but for all mankind. Matthew gives us hints of that universal call with his inclusion of the Wise Men and this inclusion of the prophesy of the Prophet Isaiah:
"The land of Zebulun and the land Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of he Gentiles - the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned."
Therefore, we are to understand the universal nature of the Call to Holiness. Holiness is not for one people group. Holiness is for Jews. Holiness is for Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and all Protestants. Holiness is for every man, woman, boy and girl on our planet.
We are also to understand from these first two verses that our God is holy. Everything God says and does is Holy. Everything God made was/is holy. That is the beauty of all of creation. In Genesis the LORD called everything he made "good". We could also call it holy. It was made to be a visible sign of our God's love and Holiness. Everything was made to exist according to the Lord's Will and for the Lord's Purpose to come to completion.