Summary: God says that we are to be holy even as He is Holy, but how? Doesn't holiness mean perfection? And none of us are perfect! In this sermon study we will learn that holiness means sacred and separated or dedicated to God.
Illustration/Story/Quote/Statistic- Several years ago my wife and I volunteered along with some helpers from the church to go clean the house of a family in need. I'd never been in a house like this before. There was so much stuff, you could barely see the floor. Roaches filled the woodwork. We sprayed and sprayed, but nothing could kill them off. Trash was left untouched everywhere. Dishes left unwashed for days. Holes in the floor in bathroom and in the shower. The shower was held together with duct tape and a dingy curtain. The father was blind and the mother was depressed. Their one child slept in a room with no light on a soiled mattress in the middle of the floor. They lived off of the government, disability insurance. It was hard to be there. I had to keep stepping outside to catch my breath. And we tried to help but honestly, I think all of us knew that we were fighting a losing battle. No amount of cleaning that we could do would fix the problem and we knew it. A new house and a new lifestyle was what needed to happen and that old house burnt to the ground.
You see it wasn't that their lives had somehow become too cluttered through carelessness or lack of maintenance. It was a disastrous situation that was extremely unhealthy and destructive. What needed to happen was a miracle.
That's the way our lives can become where every area of our life is affected by sin. Where no amount of cleaning on our part will fix what is wrong. What needs to happen IS CHANGE! The old life must be destroyed and a new life discovered.
The Bible speaks a lot about clean and unclean if you read the Old Testament. Jesus told the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law, “You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”
We clean the outside when the heart and mind are really the problem. God wants to change your heart, your mind, your life and make you holy… wholly His!
“Holy!” The Bible is saturated with the concept of holiness, yet we live in an age where holiness is misunderstood and foreign to us. The word “holy” according Webster's New World Dictionary means something (or someone) dedicated to religious or sacred use as belonging to or coming from God. The word holy means to separate from the world and to consecrate or dedicate to God. So, if something is sanctified or holy, it is separated from the world and dedicated to God.
And the Bible talks a lot about that – you either belong to the world... to the kingdom of this world or you belong to God and the kingdom of God. You cannot be both! You cannot have two masters. One devotion will give way to the other. It's like having a wife and a mistress; how can you be faithful to both? Because as long as you give yourself to both, you are not faithful to either one. We are either faithful to God or to sin. We either belong to God or sin. We are either possessed by sin or possessed by God.
We who profess to be Christians are called to holiness. We are here because God is making us holy through our daily surrender and His indwelling Presence.
Transition- Today I want to talk to you about the word “HOLY.”
Please Turn in your Bibles to... 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NASB) there it says…
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the [b]temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.
The Temple according to the OT was made to be the dwelling place for God among His people. And God filled the Temple Courts with His presence on its dedication. Israelites from all corners of the Kingdom would come to the Temple to worship and sacrifice to their God. The Temple was a place of holiness, dedication, consecration, and worship. Nothing unclean was allowed there. Sacrifices were to be spotless, flawless. Everything was to be done with reverence and fear. Ritual cleansings were done to ensure that the worshiper was ceremonially prepared to meet with God. Blood sacrifices atoned for the sins committed. Walls of separation stood between each level of holiness leading to the very presence of God – the courts of the Gentiles, the courts of the women, the courts of the men, the Holy Place, and finally the Most Holy Place (or the Holy of Holies). The priests could only enter the Holy Place beyond the courts of praise and the High Priest could only enter the Holy of Holies and that only once a year on the Day of Atonement. This was arranged this way to help the people understand the separateness of God, His purity, His sacredness, and the fear and respect that He deserved.