An expository sermon on Holy Living
How many of you feel Holy this morning? Don’t worry you don’t have to lift up your hands. When some one talks about Holiness the first thing I think about it God and His holiness. This morning I want to talk about our call to a holy livinglife. We all know that we are called to live a holy life but what do we do about it. DO we make any effort towards it or are we just praying for God to make us Holy and waiting for fire to fall down from heaven to make us Holy. We live in a world where holiness has lost its meaning. In this contemporary society everything goes, we can do anything as long as we feel good about it. What is our responsibility in this world, What are we called to do in this un holy situation? So we are going to look at the reasons why we are called to live a Holy life.
1. We are called to live a holy life because He is holy (1: 16)
A] Real meaning of holy
The word ‘Holy’ is derived from a cluster of words in Greek. It means to be pure, to be set apart, sanctify and so on. But no meaning of this word can describe it properly. Christ was the perfect example for Holiness. ‘Be Holy for I am Holy’ is mentioned for about 5 times in the Bible. Holiness is not a new thing which the apostles discovered in the New Testament, it was present from the beginning of the Old Testament. He God gave Moses all the laws not to make their life difficult but to bring them one step closer to holiness; one step closer to Himself.
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B] One of the fundamental characteristics of God
God’s Holiness can neither be understood nor grasped by our human minds. Holiness is one of the images of God which was lost in the garden of Eden. It could be only replaced by God Himself, by dying on the cross and making us pure. HE is always Holy. We are called to live like Him. So we are called to be Holy. When we were made we were made in the image of God. One of His fundamental images is holiness. So we were obviously made Holy. But we fell from our holiness because of our disobedience. We are missing out in one of the fundamental images of God. We have to be made into his image so one day we can see His face. If we are not made into His image we will not see Him face to face. It is just as simple as that; if we are not holy, we will not see God.
Once, as an experiment, the great scientist Isaac Newton stared at the image of the sun reflected in a mirror. The brightness burned into his retina, and he suffered temporary blindness. Even after he hid for three days behind closed shutters, still the bright spot would not fade from his vision. “I used all means to divert my imagination from the sun,” he writes, “But if I thought upon him I presently saw his picture though I was in the dark.” If he had stared a few minutes longer, Newton might have permanently lost all vision. The chemical receptors that govern eyesight cannot withstand the full force of unfiltered sunlight. There is a parable in Isaac Newton’s experiment, This is what the Israelites experienced in the wilderness. They had attempted to live with the Lord of the Universe visibly present in their midst; but, in the end, out of all the thousands who had so gladly fled Egypt, only two survived God’s Presence. They were all revealed and called to be Holy as God. But only two survived in the end.
2. We are called to live a holy life because we do not conform to evil desires (1: 14)
A] We also have our share in Holiness (Hebrews 12: 14)
It is true that when we come to salvation in Christ He washes all our sins away and makes us Holy. We become perfect and clean through Jesus, but it is our duty to then keep ourselves clean. Holiness is not only what God can give to us but it is also what we can manifest with what He gave us. Paul says it quite clearly in Hebrews 12 : 14 (NIV) ” To make Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be Holy. ; Without without which we cannot see Godholiness no one will see the Lord”. Holiness is a serious matter. We tend to take God for granted. When we give in or conform to the evil desires of the world, we say that it wasn’t our fault but it is our flesh. We blame it on our human nature. Paul challenges us not to try to be holy but ‘take every effort possible’ in other words we must strive or even fight to be Holy. Effort means to use energy to get something done. Holiness should be such a longing of our heart that we would put our whole energy to get it done.
B] No compromise in Holiness
Holiness is being spotlessly clean. Without Holiness we can never enter the presence of God. The Old Testament priests were the perfect example of this. The priest entered the presence of God only once a year. They dreaded that moment. Thought it was regarded very high to enter the Holy of Holies, it was dreadful at the same time. In that moment if they were found guilty of sin , there was no time for explanation they were just struck dead. They prepared themselves for the whole year for that one day in God’s presence, the presence of the Holy God. We are so privileged that there is no curtain between God and us, we don’t need a high priest to stand in for us anymore, Christ has already done it for us. We can enter God’s presence anytime anywhere we want. As for us its not a once a year thing it’s an every day thing. WE are living in the age of grace, God does not strike us dead anymore, though grace is available for free it is not cheap, so let us not take it for granted.
In the forests of northern Europe and Asia lives little animal called the ermine, known for his snow-white fur in winter. He instinctively protects his white coat against anything that would soil it.
Fur hunters take advantage of this unusual trait of the ermine. They don’t set a snare to catch him, but instead they find his home, which is usually a cleft in a rock or a hollow in an old tree. They smear the entrance and interior with grime. Then the hunters set their dogs loose to find and chase the ermine. The frightened animal flees toward home but doesn’t enter because of the filth. Rather than soil his white coat, he is trapped by the dogs and captured while preserving his purity. For the ermine, purity is more precious than life. – HGB
It doesn’t always cost our lives to be Holy. But most of the time it could cost things or people that are dear to our hearts. When we are of this world, we make the things of the world our own. We usually cling to things and people which could take God’s place in our lives. So when we come to Christ we ought to replace them with Christ. When we do the right thing, even our own friends might not understand us, their there might even come times where we have to give them up for holiness, for there is no compromise on Holiness.
3. We are called to live a holy life because we were redeemed by the precious blood. (1: 23)
A] Free access to Holiness – The way of Holiness (Isaiah 35 : 8)
It is true that we don’t have to do anything to become Holy because we are washed by His blood. But we have to take effort in keeping it. It is quite clear in Isaiah 35: 8 that the way to God is holiness, there is no other way. Christ has done his part, by making the way. But to keep our self on the highway or to get kicked off lies on our hands. There is no place for unclean or wicked people on this road.
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B] Set Apart to be an example
We are set apart and called to be holy not to seclude ourselves from the world but to be the light. D.L. Moody, A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine. One of the misconceptions in the churches today is that they become holy and they become literally set apart. They don’t associate or mingle with the people of this world. They develop something which is famously called as the Holy huddle. They become so ‘holy’ that the people of this world cannot even get close to them, they just have to be set apart. But that is not what God has called us to be. The difference between the Pharisees and Jesus was that Jesus toughed touched the unclean but they didn’t. The Pharisees where were Holy as well, they did everything God commanded them to, but they didn’t understand it. We are not called to be a Pharisee but we are called to be more like Him. We are not made Holy to be set in museums as specimens but to reach out to the unclean in turn. When we become ‘holy’ day by day let us be humbled by the fact that we don’t deserve it , but it is through grace. Reach out to make them Holy. As the story of Isaac Newton’s experience let our holiness hurt their eyes, not to chase them away from us but to draw them closer to Him who has called us to be ‘ Set apart’, ‘ to be Holy.
In conclusion let us make every effort to be more like Him every day. Let us just not sit back and pray for holiness but take every effort to be holy. Holiness is not only what God gives us but it is what we manifest with what He gave. Let us not compromise with the things of the world. Are we willing to lay down everything to pursue holiness? Holiness is not only works and deeds but is also passionately pursuing a relationship with God. Let us never compromise with holiness. If you are thinking that you have done all these all through out your life. You’ve always been pursuing God for holiness and have a wonderful relationship with God, then don’t become a Pharisee. Let us not settle down in that place in a holy huddle but let us affect others with our holiness. Let us be a light shining in this unholy land. We are set apart not to be in a museum but to be a light, that hurts the eyes but still draws them closer.
http://bible.org/illustration/ermine [03 September 2009]
Fwd. Ogilvie, L. J. Nelson’s Three in One Bible Reference Companion Nashville: Thomas nelson Publisher, 1982
<http://bible.org/illustration/isaac-newton> [03 September 2009]
Ed.. Martin Ralph p. and Davids, Peter H, Dictionary of the Latter New Testament and its development Leicester: Inter Varsity Press, 1997.
 Ed. Ralh P. Martin and Peter H. Davids, Dictionary of the Latter New Testament and its development (Leicester: Inter Varsity Press, 1997), p. 485.
 <http://bible.org/illustration/isaac-newton> [03 September 2009]
 Fwd. Dr. Llyod John Ogilvie, Nelson’s Three in One Bible Reference Companion (Nashville: Thomas nelson Publisher, 1982), p. 206.
 http://bible.org/illustration/ermine [03 September 2009]
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