Summary: Because of his devotion to God, Nehemiah could keep himself from doing wrong. We should improve our devotion to God so we too can overcome sin in our life.
I would not do that!
Illustration: Mikey the guy we love to hate. He is always cheerful. He wakes up every morning deciding to be happy. When he had his accident he decided to live. We must decide to pursue holiness. Walter Scott presented us with a five finger plan of salvation from scripture. Believe, Repent, Confess, Be Baptized, and live a Godly life. We sometimes want to shortchange the plan, some have taken out baptism, some say only believe, some will take out the last part, living a godly life. The pursuit of holiness is a decision; it is a matter of life and death.
Don Francisco has a song called the Steeple song. In it he sings of all the great things we have done, yet the question remains, Jesus says have you done the things I said.
Holiness is a command
1. Scripture commands us Be Holy because I am Holy
a. Lev. 11:44 44 I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy. Do not make yourselves unclean by any creature that moves about on the ground
b. Lev. 11:45 45 I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
c. Lev. 21:6 They must be holy to their God and must not profane the name of their God. Because they present the offerings made to the LORD by fire, the food of their God, they are to be holy.
d. 1 Peter 1:16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
e. 1 Cor 1:2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ--their Lord and ours:
2. We are to be holy because of whose we are:
a. Lev. 20:26 You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.
b. Eph. 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
c. Heb 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Therefore the pursuit of Holiness is not an option we pick up, but a command. And it is a command we can do. We must choose to live Holy and Godly lives. Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
We must choose to be Holy.
1. Nehemiah says out of reverence for God I would not do that
2. Daniel out of reverence for God and the Law says I will not eat that
3. Daniel 3:16 shows Daniel’s three friends saying DA 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."
4. Peter and John in Acts 4 and 5 saying we will not stop speaking of what we have seen and heard.
Out of reverence for God, they will live holy and godly lives; we will do the same. Every morning wake up deciding today that we will live holy and godly lives. Holiness is not the absence of sin; it is the resisting the temptation to sin. If we sin, we repent and go on to live Holy and Godly lives. We cannot compromise with the world and its desires.
When tempted follow these steps Nehemiah and the others have set before us.
2. Say “I will not do that out of reverence for my God.”
3. Move on
4. If we slip, repent and repeat as often as necessary.
Let’s leave today with the attitude of pursuing Holiness.