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Summary: Contemporary Holiness sermon with object lesson and communion medidation at the close. Part of series on Acts. Updated 12/05

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Radical Cleansing Acts 15:8,9

Pastor Bob Hunter

(Others sermons on Acts available at www.sermoncentral.com) Today I want to bring to a conclusion our summer series on Acts. Last summer we journeyed through the book of Acts from Chs. 1-8. This summer we covered Chs. 8-16, I gave you chapter 16 a little early, so today we find ourselves again in Ch. 15 looking at a theme that is dominant in scripture. Today I want to talk to you about cleansing.

OPENING EXAMPLE: Now, before we dive into this subject matter tis morning. How many of you have watched a hospital show recently like Chicago Hope, a rerun of ER or there for a while there was one called Scrubs, that one was a little bit over the top…I think it got cancelled. Those kinds of things don’t really happen in the hospital. I know that. I’ve spent a lot time in Hospitals, Cambria used to work for one, and for a while I sold products to all the major hospitals in the state. I’ve seen a lot.

One of things that has always intrigued me about a hospital is the whole surgical scrubbing process. Have you ever seen that? I have, and not just on T.V. I was an observer in the operating room once and watch the surgeon come in and spend at least 15 minutes scrubbing in to make sure there was no contamination. All the water has roll down your arm not up & you can’t touch a door handle. It’s a tedious process. And then what I never understood about that, is after you spend 15 minutes washing your hands, the surgeon puts on a pair of sterile gloves to cover up everything you just washed, so it’s like what’s the point?

Nevertheless, the whole scrubbing process is absolutely key to prevent infections and the spread of diseases. The environment behind the red line as it’s called has to pure and uncontaminated. So to perform surgery a well scrubed surgeon is very important.

It’s a tedious task, but you have to do it. It’s like brushing your teeth to prevent cavities. The Dental association recommends tooth brushing for at least two minutes, how many of you brush your teeth for two whole minutes? I can’t stand to have tooth paste in my mouth for that long. I’m spit it out after 30 seconds or so. Two minutes of crest toothpaste in my mouth activates my gag reflex. It gets all warm and gooberish…I can’t stand it.

Did you know that washing your hands is recommended for a one full minute to prevent the spread of colds & contagious illnesses? When was the last time you did that? Been a while hon? When we get together here on Sunday we shake hands and pat each other on the back ya know, I figure by the end of the Day, I’ve passed something to somebody, I don’t know who? So if you find yourself sick on Monday, go ahead blame the Pastor.

A friend of mine used to say, after each Church service you go to the bathroom and wash off the fellowship…I hope it hasn’t come to that.

No surprise what I want to talk to you about today is soul scrubbing. Soul scrubbing, when was the last time you had your heart cleansed and scrubbed by God?

Just like tooth brushing, and hand washing, we probably don’t spend enough time getting our soul scrubbed.

You don’t have to read very far in the Bible to find out that God is very concerned about the purity and Holiness of his people. In fact, early in the book of Genesis, God begins to set forth ways in which his people can approach him and appropriately be cleansed. And then, in the book Exodus & Leviticus, God reveals his plan for the Holiness of His people, he says "…be holy and I am holy." (Lev. 11:44,45) Wow that’s a pretty tall order isn’t it. Because God is a pretty Holy God. How in the world can we be like Him. That’s huge.

So today we find ourselves in Acts Ch. 15 dealing with this issue. The issue of cleansing and heart purification. Let me tell you, how it all came about. Remember last week, I told you about the first Church convention held in Jerusalem with all the Big Cahoona’s, we’d better call them the elders or the Apostles. Anyway, they met there to discuss the inclusion of unholy people in the Church. Gentile people. Non-jewish people who were considered unclean by Jewish standards. Paul & Barnabas made a compelling argument to the Church elders for the right to preach the Gospel to gentile people from both near and afar. To better make their case, they testified to the events they saw and witnessed among the Gentile people when the Gospel was preached. They saw, people who were sinners cleansed by God and set free from dominion and power of sin. It was an amazing sight to them, a real eye opener, so they brought that testimony to the council and laid it out on the table. And they said,

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