Thursday, May 31, 2012

A New View of Holiness


We are in a teaching series at South Bay Church where we are talking about key paradigm shifts that can greatly impact our lives.  A change of thinking and perspective that can take us from lost-living to purpose-living, from chaos to order, from empty to fulfilled, from darkness to light...

This past Sunday I taught on the concept of Holiness.  How when most people think of HOLY, the images that come to mind are images of halos, saints, angels, God on a throne, or someone like Mother Theresa. The problem with that is that "HOLINESS" is no longer a practical concept in our minds.  It has become a religious concept - far from everyday practical living.  You might have ready verses like:

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God—who chose you to be his children—is holy. For he himself has said, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Pet. 1:13 NLT

But, if God being holy is Him seating on a huge throne with lights glowing around Him and angels singing to Him, then how do we imitate that? 

In Leviticus 10:10 it says, "You must distinguish between what is holy and what is common." 

Though most think the opposite of HOLY is evil, corruption, sin...  the most clear definition we see in Scripture is that the opposite of HOLY is simply to be COMMON.  

On the other hand, to be holy is not necessarily to be bright, glowy, perfect, but just simply to be UNCOMMON.  To be uncommon because of a (1) touch from God and (2) separation for His use.

All throughout Scripture we see this pattern.  Whatever was touched by God and set apart for His use became HOLY: A holy day (Sabbath) - Exodus 20:11 / Holy Ground - Exodus 3:5 / Holy Nation (Israel) - Exodus 19:9  / The Holy Scriptures - 2 Tim 3:5 / A Holy Temple, A Holy City...

Even His name: “You must faithfully keep all my commands by obeying them, for I am the Lord.  Do not treat my holy name as common and ordinary. I must be treated as holy by [my] people… It is I, the Lord, who makes you holy.”  Lev. 22:31

These are 2 "UNCOMMON" practices that help us live a Holy life:

1.   Bring everything before Him   (Touch) - Which means we care about doing things His Way.   We hide nothing from Him.  We submit in obedience in all areas - our money, our addictions, our wrongdoings, our vision for the future.  

2.   Commit everything for His use (Separation)  - We have a practice in our family of bringing and committing things to God: our cars, house, kids, computers, building, marriage...   It's so important to take the time to say, "God we separate ourselves, our belongings, our talents, our resources... for YOUR use."

KEY TRUTH: God's grace falls on what is HOLY.    
2 Timothy 1:9 For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12:14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. 

If you want God's grace (His blessing, His presence, His favor) to be on your life, then allow Him to touch you and separate your entire life for His use.

I believe that the reason many us don’t pursue God’s touch and separate ourselves for Him is because we don’t understand how HOLY He really is. 

Our God is is unequaled - on a different level - His Ways are higher than our ways, His Plans Higher than our plans.   HE IS HOLY.  He is incomparable,  unparalleled, matchless, second to none, in a class of His own, unequal, unrivaled, unsurpassable, supreme, top, best, singular, unique, perfect. HE IS HOLY.

He is greater, better, He is set apart.  He cannot be conquered, intimidated, subdued, beat, triumphed over, overcome, overwhelmed, overpowered, or overthrown. HE IS HOLY.  His greatness is beyond discovery.  His Glory is brighter, it's consuming, it's piercing.  His name is above every name - it is the ONLY name that expels demons, that heals the sick, that saves our souls, that can shake the foundations of the earth.  HE IS HOLY.

The Scripture says that thousands upon thousands of angels encircle around His throne day after day and night after night and all they can say in thundering voices is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the Lord God, the Almighty - there is none like you.  

(to hear the complete message on this topic, go to: http://www.southbaychurch.org/media/switch)
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