God is Holy - Are you?
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

God is Holy - Are you?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

 God is 100% perfect and 100% set apart. He is holy. He is transcendent. He is not safe. He’s so big and we are so small. No human can be in his presence. What can be done about that?  

Be Holy as I am holy, says the Lord. You must be holy because the Lord, your God, Am Holy. Is it is that any of your favorite Bible verses? It's on a Mug. You got it written on a sticky note on your mirror. You're like this. Wake up every morning. You can't wait to read this verse. I didn't think so. But this verse is so, so important. It's a huge theme over the course of all of scripture. One of the first books of the Bible, Leviticus, is a book dedicated to the holiness of God and to this idea that we should be holy just as God as holy. The prophets talk about it, and it's not just an old testament thing. First Peter, in the New Testament portion of the Bible, talks about this verse too and says the exact same thing, be holy as God is holy. And so my question for you today is how holy are you? How Holy Are you? But first before you can answer to that question, you have to look at how holy God is, because the verse is beholy like God is holy. So how holy is God? What does it mean that God odd is holy. Well, another way to think about holiness is that it is the idea of being set apart. He is separate, he is other, he is outside of time and space, he is set apart from all creation. He is perfection. There is no one like him morally. He is a hundred percent perfect. Everything about him is a hundred percent perfect. He is completely entirely other, set apart, he is holy. And so how holy are you? I can think of you can think of holiness, sort of like the idea of a bonfire. Okay, and anyone ever made a bonfire? Yes, you set it on your patio, you put the twigs in there and you light the fire, and my wife is usually the one doing that in our household. But I've sat around a fire and if you do that in your backyard or wherever you are, you have to pay attention to it, don't you? I mean you're supposed to write. A smart could go off and it could cause a huge destruction. It could make everything just devastated by this fire. But there's something about the fire that draws us in, it captures your attention, it makes you come close and you and you want to be near it, but then if you get too close, it hurts...

...you, it gets you, it burns you. You know you go in and you love the bonfire. You got the marshmallows and the some more stuff and you're toasting the marshmallows and sometimes you might end up pasting your hand instead. Or if you have little kids, they enjoy the fire, don't they? They're running around, they love it, they love the snacks, they love hanging out late at night and you know all that fun stuff. But if the kids get too close, if they forget that the fire is hot, is dangerous. Oh you know, watch out. And I think sometimes we treat God like that, like God is is like this fire and we have to pay attention to him. He's in the middle of everything, right, it's just there and you have to figure it out, you have to do something with it. But at the same time sometimes we like play with fire, we play around with it and and it's doesn't go well at does doesn't work out well for those that do that. Imagine a bonfire, a fire, a hot fire, big fire in the middle of a football field, right, instead of the logo for the team, it's just this giant, flaming ball of fire, and then the team show up and they want to play the football game. Do you think they're going to get very far. I mean you might try, you might pretend like it's not there and you might start playing and eventually somebody's going to run into it and somebody's going to get hurt. But I mean that's that's that's putting the situation out very far. I mean, if you got a flaming ball of fire in the middle of your football field, there's no football games going to be going on. Everyone's attention is going to be squarely fixed on this flaming ball of fire. You can't you can't miss it. But how often do we try and go about our everyday life, our normal life, try and in our live our normal routine, play the normal game and we try to avoid that flaming ball of fire right in the middle of everything? We can't play with fire and fire or fire is sort of like in this illustration as analogy, like our God, God, who is transcendent, who is outside time and space. We can't approach God. You're like, I like a friendly God. I know we like a God that is comfy and Nice and let's us do...

...good things in this world. But our God, he's not a safe God. He's a god to be afraid of. The fear, to stand in amazement at the fall on our face and worship, because he is unlike anything else that has ever existed or will ever exist. He is entirely holy and set apart. Another word for that not just holiness. Another word for that is transcendent. God is transcendent. He transcends everything, he is outside of time and space. He is completely other, he is set apart. His ways are not our ways, his thoughts are not our thoughts. He is completely more than we could ever think, ask or imagine. God is transcendent. However, this transcendent, holly other outside of anything we could ever seem to grasp. He has chosen to reveal himself to creation, to us, to you, to me, and really that in and of itself is an incredible miracle, like if he didn't choose to do that, there would be no way of US knowing this amazing, powerful, transcendent God. And he's chosen to reveal himself, and generally through creation, but also specifically in a couple different ways, and one of those ways is through scripture, and we read about this God. He's given us who he is and in the writings, and one of the ways that God reveals himself to us, and scripture is at the very beginning to a man named Moses, and one of the ways that God reveals himself is in a flaming ball of fire. And Moses sees the flaming Bush, the ball of fire, out in the horizon and Moses is drawn to it. It captures his attention. He wants to get close, he wants to see it, and the one of the first things that God says to Moses is don't come any closer. I know I've got your attention, I'm know I'm calling out to you, but stay where you are. Take off your sandals, for the place you're standing is holy ground. Holy Ground. What made the ground Moses was standing on holy? Was it the color of the dirt or the phosphate level of the soil? Was it that it was sand or that it was rock that made it special,...

...that made it holy, made it perfect? No, of course not. It was holy because God was there. Its holy because it was in the presence of the Holy God. And in a couple weeks ago we looked at how God is omnipresent. He is all places, everywhere. There's no place God is not but God chooses to reveal himself specifically to certain places and certain people at certain times and certain ways, and in this time of the church, those who believe in Jesus, we talked about this. How God lives specifically inside of you in the person of the Holy Spirit. God is with you in a personal way, like as close as you could ever imagine. And think God is with us. So if God is with US wherever we go, that means that whatever we're standing on is holy ground. Your House is built on Holy Ground, the car you drive is built on holy ground, is driven on holy ground, this church is built on Holy Ground, this movie theater is built on Holy Ground, because God is here and God is there. God is with us, and everything here can be holy ground or is holy ground, and if it is holy ground, then we should all take our shoes off. That's right, take your sandals off. You can do that right now if you so choose. Why would you do that, right? I mean nobody, nobody, nobody was going for their shoes. Why weren't you doing that? Because it's it's kind of weird, right. I mean, no one wants to see my feed, but but you might take your shoes off when you enter into someone's house right or you might ask them, would you like me to take my shoes off? And what are you doing in that moment? You're recognizing WHO's presence you are in and you're showing respect for the presence of where you are, the place where you are. And so God tells Moses, recognize where you are, recognize who you're with, take off those shoes. Be Holy as I am holy, Holy Transcendence, set apart God. He reveals himself to people and desires to be with us, which doesn't make any sense. How is that possible? How is this holy set apart completely other God wanting to be with us,...

...wanting to be close with us? It doesn't really go together. It doesn't really make sense, to which I would say that's exactly why God is God, because it doesn't always make sense to our finite human understanding. He is transcendent and holy other and, as we will learn next week, he is closer than you could ever think and he's imminent, both at the same time. Our God is, he just is. He is both of those things, which is interesting, because one of the other things God revealed to Moses in this encounter of the burning Bush was his name. Well, he sort of gave him his name. Moses is like, God, I know you're talking to me, I know you got a mission for me, but my people are going to wonder who is it which God gave you this mission? Who is it that that you talked to? Give me your name, and God's like, Nope, I'm not giving you my name, because when we name something, we own it. We name something, we feel like we can control it. We name something, we study it, we name something, it's ours, we have it. And God's like, I am not giving you my name. My Name, you want my name. Okay, I am what what I am God says. I am Moses is like what most. God says. I am. I don't know what that means, God, I don't know how that works. I don't know what who you are. And God's like, I am that, I am more than that. I am everything that you could ever want or imagine or need. I am. I just am. So just leave it there. I am that, I am. I don't need nothing else, I just I just am. And we need a God like this. We need a transcendent God who is outside of our situation, who is outside of our life, because I don't know about you. But life gets crazy sometimes, doesn't it? Stuff happen, situations arise, you go through things and you feel like you're over your head with worries over your head, with stress over your head, with doubt and anxiety, and it's like you don't know where to turn, you don't know where to look, and here comes transcendent God outside of all of that mess and says, look over here, trust me, I know, Oh, it's going to work out. I can see beyond where you are right now. I know you only got one more year left dealing with this thing that you've been dealing with for seven years, but I know, I know it's coming. I can see it. I'm on the other side of it. Just trust me, follow me. And we're like stuck over here,...

...like I can't, I can't, I don't know which way is up. And God's like I'm outside of all of that. We need a transcendent God, a God who is outside of our our world, are our situation. But this transcendent God also then wants to have a relationship with his people. And so how does that work? How did it work well for Moses and this situation in the Old Testament, thousands of years ago, God set up a system, of religious system by which he could dwell with his people and his people could have a relationship with him. And the way he did that was God gave Moses the exact dimensions and the materials, like you can read all of the numbers, all of the things. This is exactly how I want you to build that thing. And God, for some reason, God chose that thing to be where his presence dwell. Now, of course we don't know exactly what it looked like, but that is called the Tabernacle and it is a depiction of, if you read in the Bible, this exact perfectly. Everything had to be exact, of how God was going to meet with his people. And when, when Moses built this thing for the very first time, God's presence showed up there in this smoke, in this cloud, and it was so thick, it was so just there that Moses like literally could not go in. It was just his presence was so was so much there. And then they started doing some sacrifices and started doing the system and then they could go in and God made himself specially present in one particular place in this tabernacle arrangement under the little tent was divided into two places, the holy of Holy Place, and there was only one person that could go into that part of the Tabernacle one time a year. The high priest could only go in one time a year and he wore on his garment, on his clothes, bells, so that, as you can picture it, I mean people are standing outside of this this fence. You know, they can't go in, they can't go anywhere near the presence of God, and there's one guy who's going in there to represent all the people and they can hear the bells ringing as he's walking around doing his things, sprinkling the blood on the Ark of the Covenant in that Little Tent Area, and it's like that's as close to God as these people got right. They're just hearing the...

...sound and the idea that it's only one little place with one person one time a year shows just how serious this presence of God really is, which is interesting because this setup doesn't look like it has much glory to it right. I mean it's portable, it's you could they literally picked it up, put it together and took it on their journey as they were moving around and as they did that as as stuff happened throughout the history of their nation, the main place that Ark of the Covenant where God's presence chose to dwell like, it got stolen. It ended up in a foreign nation and they tried to bring it back because God's presence was supposed to be with Israel in this place. And there's a story in second Samuel where the Ark of the Covenant is coming back from this foreign nation. It's got to be back with our people. It's got to be back, and it starts to like fall over. He's going to fall off the cart, you know, the oxen pull in the cart. It's going to tumble over and of course, as any normal person would do, they would like run up to it and touch it and make sure it doesn't fall off the cart because that could be bad right. But he stopped it from falling off the cart and the guy who stopped it, he died because he touched it. He did something that he wasn't supposed to do. And there was also some priests, some of those people that went in and did those sacrifices in this tabernacle place and they they burned it with with strange fire, and they didn't do it the right way. And guess what happened to them? They die. Now you say, okay, that's Old Testament. Yes, it is. In the New Testament. There was a temple. Well, there was a there was a temple, but actually it was I'm thinking of I. I don't think this event happened in the temple. I have to double check this. I don't think it did. But in the New Testament there was two people that brought their offering to Peter and the presence of God was with Peter. He was with the Church as it was getting started in the book of acts, and everyone was selling all of they had and bringing it in for an offering to take care of everybody and start the new church and it was going to be amazing, and so everyone was really excited. I'm going to sell this and sell it all and I'm going to bring it in, and God was providing that way. And then there was two people, and then I as and Saphira, that sold all they had, quote unquote, and they brought it into Peter and said Hey, here's all that we had, and he's like no, it's not. And then the key there was you're lying to the WHO, the...

Holy Spirit and what happened to him. He died, and then his wife came in and the same thing. She died. That's that's early church, but it's New Testament and I think the purpose of the story like that is to continue the sequence of events that shows just how holy, just how perfect, just so set apart, don't mess with it, don't play with fire. God's presence really is and we humans need to realize that, we need to recognize it, and it's really one of the main attributes of God that we will be singing for eternity. When there's a picture of the Ark of the covenant, the thing that fell off the carriage and they were holding on too, but it's this attribute of God, is holiness, that we will be singing about for all eternity. Holy, Holy, Holy. This Isaiah Chapter six. We looked at this a couple weeks ago. Holy, Holy, holy, I can't see it on my screen. Down there there we go. Holy, Holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven's armies. The whole Earth is filled with his glory. That's Isaiah six, and then again in revelation chapter four. Holy, Holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, the one who always was, who is and who is still to come. Holy, Holy, holy, forever, triple holy. It's not good enough for one holy, triple holy, repetition, emphasis complete. This is a very, very important, serious thing. And so be holy, because I, the Lord God, Am Holy. Leviticus nineteen and first Peter, one hundred and sixteen, Isaiah Chapter Six and revelation chapter for our God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Be Holy as I am holy, says the Lord. So now you might be wondering how in the world can we do this? Well, Leviticus nineteen gives us some description of how we can do it. If we keep reading after leviticus nineteen, to read verse three, four, five, six seven, will read all of these things that you can do, that I can do, to be holy, and we're not going to look at all of them today, but a summary of them is like, God cares about how we care for the poor and how we interact with our neighbors and our friends, how we do...

...our jobs. So God cares about the religious system, the sacrifices, all of that stuff, but all God also cares about the way that you live your life. Like in Leviticus nineteen, it says don't get tattoos. Yeah, it does. Now, why was Moses not supposed to get a tattoo? Why would the nation of Israel not supposed to get a tattoo? Because all the other nations around them did, they all had tattoos. And Israel, he the Hebrew nation that Moses was given this too. He said you're going to be different, you're not going to be like them. And one of the other things in Leviticus nineteen says that you're not supposed to wear clothing that's made out of two different types of materials. So, which is strange right, like that's really weird. But why? I because God was giving them a picture, giving them a serious thing. That like, you're supposed to be different than the people around you. You're not supposed to intermixed, you're not supposed to intermarry, you're not supposed to be together with all these other nations. God's like I've chosen you as a holy nation, a set apart nation for me. You're supposed to be different. And again this same command from ovidicus nineteen and that long list of stuff is given to us again by Peter in the New Testament. So how holy are you? How holy are you and if you aren't holy, you don't feel holy, well then you can't go to heaven and you can't be with God forever and you can't be saved and you can't be a Christian if you're not holy. So are you holy? And if I did my job for the last twenty some minutes, hopefully you're feeling a little bit like these wonderful stickmen over here and you're like together, sitting in this wherever you're sitting, and you're like, I don't know about this. And then you got God over here, so big and majestic and wonderful, and you just feel like what, like how do I get from here to there and go through that? God is so big, he is so perfect, he is so transcendent and if we mess with...

...his presence we die. We look at him the wrong way, we die. What? And it's like that's point, that's the point, like that's you and me and that's gone. And then there's that thing. So what are you going to do about it? You'RE gonna RIP Leviticus nineteen out of Your Bible and pin it on your mirror and say, okay, I got our race, all my tattoos, I got to rip my shirt off my back because I'm not allowed to wear this thing. Are you going to start, you know, treating people ride and going to church and giving your money and worshiping God? And Oh, there's another thing. In Leviticus nineteen, you were supposed to stand up for your elders. Right, so, you got it. You're in the presence of your elders. You better stand. How serious is worshiping God to you? Like, does this matter to you? Right, doesn't matter that you feel this way. Doesn't matter that there's a little human stuck over there and God so big and powerful and mighty over there, like it's a serious, serious thing. How in the world can we ever do anything about it? What if you can? What if you can? And what if Holy Transcendent God provides an answer out of our world, out of our own experience, out of the stuff that we can do, out of the stuff that we can muster up in the try and live out and and do? What if holy transcendent God shows up in our world? Because he did. He was born as one of us, as a human being, and he lived a perfect life that we all should have lived, and he died to death that we all should have died and as a result of that, that and his resurrection, those who put their faith in trust in that God who came from who knows where, to us and did that for us. He forgives your sins, he comes to live inside of you and he sets you apart, he makes you holy. You say, it's my job to try and figure this out, I gotta go to Heaven,...

I got to figure this out, I got to do all the right things. It's like, no, no, you gotta you gotta believe. And when we believe that God has done all this stuff for us, then it's from that belief, from that position, from that being set apart by God. Now we live our life to honor and please God. You can't get it backwards, or else it won't it won't work out too well. It is the goal of God to conform us to the image of God. That's what God is doing in the life of every believer. And so we might think after this moment where God has set us apart, he saved us, forgived us, transformed us, redeemed us, made us holy, made us as children were born to his family. All these amazing things that happen in that moment that now we're going to live our life, that everything is just going to be up into the right like we're just going to keep getting more holy and holy and we're just going to keep getting better and keep sinning last and keep worshiping God perfectly, more perfectly, and everything is just going to be up into the right which, of course that's not reality. Let's try it again. It's more like this. I think that things are going well and then they don't go so well and then we sin and then we go back and then we forget about God and then eventually, maybe we defeat some sin and he forgives us and we confess it and then we pray more and then eventually, maybe by the end of our life, we can look back at all the stuff that we've been through and look at it and be like, how in the world did I get through all of that stuff? How did I get to where I am today? It doesn't really feel like I did much. He didn't really. It's God working in your life and we don't get it right, we don't get it right all the time, but God continues to love us, continues to work in our life, continue to make us more like his son Jesus. And again it's so important. It's not. You do ten things right and God says, okay, you're holy. Now now it's God says you're holy because of what Jesus did, and now he helps you live life for him. You don't live to earn God's favor. You live from God's favor. There is a blessing that God gives to you that you live from. You don't live to earn something from God, and that's what changes your life. That's what changes everything. You don't follow the rules for the sake of following the rules. You don't follow...

...the rules to be made right with God. You don't follow the rules as best as you can for those reasons. You follow the rules as best as you can because of what God has done for you, because of how much he loves you, because he died for you. And it doesn't always look perfect, but you are, but you are. You're a holy one of God. God has made you holy because you have believed, if you believe in Jesus, and as a believer in Jesus, then we have the ability or the responsibility then to continue to grow in our holiness, to be more holy. And so I just wonder, when's the last time on my little crazy man going up and down and doing whatever he was doing? When's the last time you've felt like you've made some progress in the positive direction? Right, because that's important. That means God's at work and it might not feel that way all the time, but there should be a time in your life where you recognize that you know what something in your life was. It right, and you confess that to God and probably somebody else, and you prayed and you you ask people to help you and there was something in your life that God's been working on. When's the last time, or what is the last time that that has happened to you? So today I hope that we've learned that God is holy. He is completely set apart, he's completely other, he's completely outside of time and space. I got a couple things here that I was going to use. Oh, there we go, oh ha, ruined it. He's completely set apart, he's completely outside of it. And and little old US over here, we're trying to get to God, we're trying to see God, and God's just so completely holy. There's a there's a level of fear, there's a level of awe, he's so perfect, it's kind of scary and at the very same time, that God wants to have a relationship with you and with me. And so remember that Tabernacle, that holy of Holy Place, the little picture then I had up here. That tabernacle eventually turned into a tent or a temple, a temple, and by the time Jesus showed up on this earth, the temple was this big, beautiful thing. There was literally a curtain in that temple that separated the holy place from the holy of Holy Place. There was a curtain, a sixty foot tall curtain and four inches thick, that separated God's presence from...

...everything else in the world. And what happened when Jesus died? That curtain was torn top to bottom. It was completely ripped off right not from the bottom up, as people are trying to get up there, it's from bottom or top down. God tears it apart and now, all of the sudden, for the very first time in history, transcendent holy God can have a relationship with his people in an entirely different way, one that is close, one that is intimate, one that is real. And you, my friend, don't have to be far from God. God invites you to be close to him, and that's what we're going to talk about next week. Well, let's pray. God, thank you so much for who you are. I pray that we've gotten a picture today of just how holy, perfect, scary and awesome you are. And Somehow you care about me and you love me and you showed up in my world when I could do absolutely nothing about my situation, and we can have a relationship with you because of you, because of Jesus. So, God, I pray that we would see you clearly and we would live our life from a place of blessing, that we would live our life from a place of favor, that we would live our life from a place of we are set apart, to be different from this world because of what Jesus has done for us. I ask this in Jesus name.

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