Summary: This is the third sermon in this series. This sermon looks at seven practical steps that a person can take to submit to God.

Submitting To God – Cleaning Up

Every Christian is to pursue holiness. Every Christian is to pursue purity. Every Christian is to strive to stay away from sin. Holiness is not an option. God tells us:

"Be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16 (NKJV)

The path that the Christian travels is to be one of greater insight. As we grow closer to Christ we are to become more and more aware of His Holiness. But at the same time – the closer we get to Christ the more we are to become aware of our own sinfulness. We become aware of our flaws and shortcomings as we approach He who is perfect. We become more aware of the grace and mercy of God. The mark of a person moving toward holiness is that they are becoming humbled and God is being magnified.

To emphasis this point let us look at a few verses that look at the holiness of Christ.

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

This verse speaks of Christ as being sinless. Even though He was tempted, He was without sin. He was tempted in all areas - yet He was without sin. First John tells us that Christ showed up to rid the world from sin.

“Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program.” 1 John 3:5 (MSG)

Holiness and purity has always been part of God’s program. The next verse from first Peter tells us that Christ came as an example for us to follow.

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: "Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; 1 Peter 2:21-22 (NKJV)

Go ahead and circle the words, “you should follow His steps.” This is what God intends for you to do. We are to pursue holiness. In other words God is telling us:

"Be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16 (NKJV)

Let me say this plainly. When I speak of holiness I am not speaking of becoming clean to receive salvation. We are not saved by our holiness or our purity. We are not saved by our good works. What I am talking about is becoming clean because you HAVE been saved. I have heard it said:

“God loves you just the way you are.”

That is a true statement. But I have also heard:

“God loves you just the way you are. But He loves you too much to leave you that way.”

God’s process is to make us pure. He will provide for us clean clothes. But you must put them on. He will provide us the ability to come clean. But you must wash. God is in the business of life change. He takes that which is dirty and cleans it. He takes that which is broken and He fixes it. He takes that which is bent and He straightens it out. Another way to put it – if we talk about salvation as fishing is:

God catches them – then He cleans them.

In fact:

“You can not clean them – till you catch them.”

God gets us in the net of His salvation. He catches us. We have seen the bait – His love – His grace – His mercy – and we have accepted it. We have been saved by grace. Now that He has caught us, He begins the process of cleaning us up. But the process of becoming clean – “holy” – is a partnership between us and God. It takes effort on our part. That is why God tells us to:

"Be holy, for I am holy." 1 Peter 1:16 (NKJV)

We are to strive for holiness. We are to pursue purity. We are to have a desire to please the Father – to become like Him. The only problem is – our desire does not produce holiness. Our wishes do not produce purity in our lives. Somehow we need more than desires and wishes to overcome the sin in our lives.

I believe two elements are needed from us to overcome sin in our life.

We need SUBMISSION and we need RESISTANCE.

Only you can provide these two items.

Follow along with me in James chapter four.

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NKJV)

Go ahead and circle the words “submit” and “resist”. Those are the two things you are going to be held accountable for when it comes to your pursuit of holiness. We need to be submissive and we need to be resistant if we are to be holy as God is holy.

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