Summary: Sermon #3 This sermon talks about what holiness looks like. Taken from "Whatever Became of Holiness" by Steve Deneff
The Heart of the Matter
Do not defile yourselves by any of these creatures. Do not make yourselves unclean by means of them or be made unclean by them. 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. I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.
When the bible speaks of something as “holy,” it is meant to be separate and uncommon. It is used to describe places, days, clothing, furniture, dishes, ground, water, oil, cities, words and people.
To be holy is to be unique. It is to be different from the rest. Distinctively better. Reserved for special purposes.
But is also has a moral overtone. It describes those things that are set apart and totally consecrated for spiritual purposes. They are pure... sacred... dedicated to a single idea: that of pleasing and serving God and God alone.
When the term “holy” is used to describe people, as we have seen in the passage from Leviticus, they are said to be separate from the rest of their culture on account of their uncommon love for God and for others. Their white-hot passion to imitate Christ consumes them. Their radical, almost fanatical obsession with God and to think of nothing else. That’s not to say that you become “so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good.” Your will becomes so inter-twined with the will of God that you want to please Him in ALL aspects of your life.
It is possible for common people to have an uncommon love for God. The Bible has said, and the happy experience of holy men of holy men in the past confirms, that whatever else holiness is. It is have able for the ordinary people today. It is possible to do what is right and like it. It is possible to hear sermons on sin and NOT leave feeling guilty about them. It is possible to be the kind of person we admire. It is possible to really KNOW we are pleasing God.
This is the sanctified life. This is the meaning of holiness. And this is the goal of all decent faith.
This morning, we will look at what holiness is. We have walked down the road where we have seen a holy God. Last week, we looked at sin and repentance. As we continue, let us look at what an obtainable, holy life truly looks like.
1. Holiness is a Pure Heart.
The Bible tells us that the heart is the seat of all affections and desires. It is the focal point of who we really are, buried deep beneath the layers of image, personality, attitude and behaviour. Everything we do, every pleasure we enjoy, every decision we make, every habit we form is found within our heart. It is not possible to act, think, speak, laugh, or cry for very long in a manner inconsistent with our heart. Vance Havner put it, “Whatever’s in the well, will eventually come up in the bucket.”
The Bible says our hearts may be purified from every selfish desire, and liberated to love God with all our soul, mind and strength; and then to love our neighbour as much as we love ourselves (Mark 12: 30-31). This, and nothing less, is entire sanctification. So purity in heart is the heart of the matter.
We may make mistakes. We may holler at kids or say more than we mean. We may rub people the wrong way. We may be, in our worst moments, irritable, overzealous, “slaphappy”, or downright obnoxious. But we care. We do not deny it. And we do not excuse it as “just within my character” if we know it isn’t in God’s. And we do not ask each time that these transgressions be forgiven, but cleansed.
A poem describes what a pure heart looks like.
When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely set at naught, and you sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ - that is dying to self.
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence - that is dying to self.
When you can stand face to face with folly, waste, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus endured it - that is dying to self.
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after condemnation; when you can truly love to be unknown - that is dying to self.