Summary: Happy Are The Holy
What immediately comes to your mind when you hear the word “holy?” In his book “The Pursuit of Holiness,” Jerry bridges wrote, “To some minds the very word ‘holiness’ brings images of bunned hair, long skirts, and black stockings. To others the idea is associated with a repugnant ‘holier than thou’ attitude.” Is that your mental image of holiness?
Usually we think of holiness as living a boring life, always wearing a long face. We end up asking, “How come people who are disobedient to God have so much fun?” We feel we are missing out on life. But our Lord Jesus declared, “Blessed are the pure in heart…” The Good News Bible goes like this, “Happy are the pure in heart…” In short, happy are the holy. There can be no true happiness without true holiness. There can be no peace without purity. Because in the Bible, holiness equals happiness. Thus this morning, we will talk about “How To Be Happy Inside Out.” Again, to make it easy for us to remember, I summarize today’s message in the acronym P-U-R-E.
Let us commit our time to the Lord…
“P” stands for PURSUE purity. The word “holy” means separate and set apart. When you go to the wet market and you choose for example a chicken, you are separating it from the rest of the chickens there and you are setting it apart for yourself. In a sense, you made that chicken “holy.” Now, God made us holy and wants us to live holy. 1 Thessalonians 4:3 says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified”. To be sanctified means to be holy. I like how the New Living Translation goes: “God wants you to be holy”. The question is, “Do you want to be holy? Do you want what God wants?” In fact, verse 7 adds: “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” God chose us and called us to be separate from sin and set apart for God.
We are warned in verse 8, “Therefore, he who rejects this instruction [on holiness] does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.” You may be saying, “Well, I am not really rejecting it. I am just not living it.” But to ignore it is to insult God. If we are not living holy, we are rejecting it. For God is so serious about our holiness that He even gave us His Holy Spirit just to make sure we can live it.
In his book “The Pursuit of Holiness,” Jerry Bridges wrote, “When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives at our salvation, he comes to make us holy in practice. If there is not, then, at least a yearning in our hearts to live a holy life pleasing to God, we need to seriously question whether our faith in Christ is genuine.” 1 John 3:6 says, “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”
Thus, Hebrews 12:14 commands us, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” The phrase “make every effort” is only one word in Greek, which means “to hunt, to follow after, to pursue.” It is in the imperative mood. So, we are commanded to pursue holiness. It is simply not an option. If we are not striving for purity, we are disobeying God. It is also in the present tense, that is, it is not just once in a while or once in a lifetime but it is a continuous effort. That is why we call it a pursuit. Since it is also in the active voice, that means we are to persistently and actively pursue holiness. Note that Hebrews warns us: “without holiness no one will see the Lord.” I will talk more about that later. The question now is, “Are you making every effort to be holy? Do you want to see the Lord?”
Before we move on to the next point, let me add that we are not to pursue holiness on our own. 2 Timothy 2:22 commands us, “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” We are to pursue purity together. The New Living Translation goes like this: “enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.” That’s why we must join a small group where we are encouraged to live a holy life. We should also check our relationships or friendships. Does it bring us closer or farther from God?
“U” stands for UNDERGO change from inside out. Our Lord Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart…” The heart is “In Biblical language the center of the human spirit, from which spring emotions, thought motivations, courage and action”. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” What does it mean to be pure in heart?