Summary: The holiness of God is the driving force behind authentic worship.
WORSHIP & THE HOLINESS OF GOD
Sermon Objective: The holiness of God is a driving force of authentic worship.
It is considered one of the most difficult topics of faith to discuss.
• Not because we wish to avoid it.
• Not because it is of no relevance.
• And not because it is inappropriate.
No, it is one of the most difficult topics of faith to discuss because human language is inadequate and human knowledge is even more insufficient. THE ISSUE AT HAND IS THE HOLINESS OF GOD.
How does one speak and describe that which is transcendent … that which is beyond us?
In his book, “The Knowledge of the Holy” A.W. Tozer writes, “We cannot grasp the true meaning of divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible, and unattainable. The nature of man is blind to it. He may fear God’s power and admire His wisdom, but His holiness, he can never even imagine.”
I must agree. And yet I stand, as many before me, with the responsibility of helping us all grasp the essentialness of God’s holiness. It is a frightening, humbling, and yet, an honorable call.
As I read Revelation chapter 4 I cannot help but grasp the character (istics) of God that evoke his creatures to worship Him. We have seen the role that sovereignty plays; as well as the roles of love and fear. But the one that stands out head and shoulders above the others is GOD’S HOLINESS. It affected the creatures worshipping Him … just as it affects “we” creatures as we worship too. It was more than merely acknowledged by the worshippers … it was a driving force in their worship.
Let’s read the chapter again this week.
Rev. 4:1After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." 2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. 4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." 9Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11"You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
R.C. Sproul gives us a simple way to grasp God’s holiness, “The first prayer I learned as a child was the simple table grace: ‘God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for this food.’ The two virtues assigned to God in this prayer, greatness and goodness, may be captured by the one biblical word, holy.” [Essential Truths p. 47].
Sproul nails it! In simple, child-like words, Sproul helps us grasp God’s holiness.
GOD IS GREAT!
The first element, greatness, implies a vastness to God’s character. It gets to the core of the dilemma I was describing to you regarding the obligation to speak on God’s holiness today. It suggests that God is wholly other (transcendent). It informs us that God is in a class all by Himself. It speaks of His “separateness” … that He cannot be confused with the gods of this world. It speaks of our inability to grasp Him much less describe Him.
The greatness of God reminds us that there is a profound difference between Him and those He has created. Exodus 15:11 says “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”