Andrew Fountain - Stories of a God who is Holy

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Full sermon notes - Stories of a God who is Holy

  • Can anyone tell me what the word “holy” means
    • give me some synonyms
    • So describe a Holy person to me?
      • (usually people will say pure, separate, undefiled etc.)
    • Almost universally misunderstood

1. Holiness is not the same as moral purity

  • I was brought up to think it meant “not sinning very much”

“burning bush”

Image source: ChickensAndDucks

  • first record of the word in the Bible is in Exodus 3:5 where God says to Moses:
    “Take your sandals off your feet for the place where you stand is holy ground”
    • Was the ground particularly clean or pure?
      • No, it belonged to God because his presence was there
    • If you were to go into a clean-room (hospital, lab)
      • would they tell you to take your shoes and socks off so as to be clean?
      • Were feet cleaner in those days?
  • Shoes = Imagery of possession
    • Abraham walked the land
    • Joshua
    • Man who refused to take responsibility for his brother’s widow
  • To take off shoes was to humbly acknowledge posession by another

Holiness ≠ moral purity

  • Things could be holy
  • Here is a metal cooking pot
    • What is the opposite to clean?
    • It this capable of being clean or unclean? (yes)
      • What do you think might make it unclean? (if you found a dead mouse in it)
      • Could it then become clean again?
        • Yes, it could. Here is the procedure (actually referring to a dead lizard rather than a mouse—this is the desert!)

Leviticus 11:32

  1. And anything on which any of them falls when they are dead shall be unclean,
    whether it is an article of wood or a garment or a skin or a sack,
    any article that is used for any purpose.
    It must be put into water,
    and it shall be unclean until the evening;
    then it shall be clean.
  • So what happens if something clean touches something unclean?
    • the clean thing becomes unclean

Holiness ≠ moral purity

Clean Unclean
Holy ?
  • If the opposite to clean is unclean, what is the opposite to holy?
    • hint: holy=special, consecrated, dedicated
    • “ordinary”, “unconsecrated”
    • In the tabernacle there was a flame that was burning all the time, a special flame
      • God had commanded that all sacrifices and offerings must be lit from the special holy flame
        • NOT from ordinary fire
      • It seems from later on in the passage that two of the high-priest’s sons were drunk and decided to grab any old fire to light their incense
      • So what happens if something holy touches something non-holy?

Holiness ≠ moral purity

Clean Unclean
Holy Ordinary

Leviticus 10:1,2

  1. Then Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu,
    each took his incense burner and lit it,
    put incense in it, and presented “foreign” fire before the LORD,
    which he had not commanded them to do.
  2. So fire went out from the presence of the LORD
    and consumed them so that they died before the LORD.
  • So what kinds of things were holy?
    • Everything to do with God’s presence

Exodus 19:12,13

  1. You must set boundaries for the people all around, saying,
    ‘Take heed to yourselves not to go up on the mountain nor touch its edge.
    Whoever touches the mountain will surely be put to death!
  2. No hand must touch him—but he will surely be stoned or shot through
    whether a beast or a human being; he must not live.’
    When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast they may go up on the mountain.
  • Everything
    • from a mountain
    • to the Ark of the Covenant was the special place of God’s presence
      • it was so holy that no-body could touch it, so it had to be carried with two long horizontal poles, one either side
      • Later on there is a story of a man called Uzza who touches the ark and instantly died
    • The priests were specially holy—there was a long process
      • There was a long process of symbolically making them clean and sacrificing for their sins
      • Then they were to hold out their hands and some holy things, including a piece of holy bread, taken from God’s very presence were placed on them. (Ex 29:22-25)
        • What would happen now?
        • They would either live, and now be 100% dedicated to God
        • or if they had been careless about following the process they would die
      • Aren’t you glad you don’t live under the old covenant but under the new?
    • But to an extent the whole nation were holy in that they were dedicated to God

Leviticus 11:44,45

  1. For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.
    You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.
  2. For I am the LORD who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God.
    You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
  • Being devoted to God meant staying “clean”
  • As you look through what defiled God’s temple, or other holy things, the worst thing was the worship other gods
    • This is because it was the opposite of dedication to God alone

God’s Holiness

Wrong ideas

  • The primary meaning of holy is ‘separate’
    R.C. Sproule
  • You are of purer eyes than to look at evil,
    And cannot look on wickedness [and condone it] (Hab 1:13)
    bible.org

Scriptures relating to Holiness

Psalm 22

  1. Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
  2. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.

Psalm 30

  1. Sing to the Lord, you faithful followers of his;
          give thanks to his holy name.
  2. For his anger lasts only a brief moment,
          and his good favour restores one’s life.
    One may experience sorrow during the night,
          but joy arrives in the morning.

Psalm 89

  1. But I will not remove my loyal love from him,
          nor be unfaithful to my promise.
  2. I will not break my covenant
          or go back on what I promised.
  3. Once and for all I have vowed by my own holiness,
          I will never deceive David.

Psalm 98

  1. Oh sing to the Lord a new song,
          for he has done marvelous things!
    His right hand and his holy arm
          have worked salvation for him.

Psalm 105

  1. They asked for food, and he sent quails;
          he satisfied them with food from the sky.
  2. He opened up a rock and water flowed out;
          a river ran through dry regions.
  3. Yes, he remembered the holy promise
          he made to Abraham his servant.

Psa 111

  1. He delivered his people;
    he ordained that his covenant be observed forever.
    His name is holy and awesome.

1 Samuel 2

  1. Hannah prayed,
    “My heart rejoices in the Lord;
          my horn is exalted high because of the Lord.
    I loudly denounce my enemies,
          for I am happy that you delivered me.
  2. No one is holy like the Lord!
          There is no one other than you!
                There is no rock like our God!

Isaiah 41

  1. Don’t be afraid, despised insignificant Jacob,
    men of Israel.
    I am helping you,” says the Lord,
    your protector, the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 43

  1. This is what the Lord says,
    your protector, the Holy One of Israel:
    For your sake I send to Babylon
    and make them all fugitives,
    turning the Babylonians’ joyful shouts into mourning songs.
  2. I am the Lord, your Holy One,
    the one who created Israel, your king.”
  3. This is what the Lord says,
    the one who made a road through the sea,
    a pathway through the surging waters,

Isaiah 49

  1. This is what the Lord,
    the protector of Israel, their Holy One, says
    to the one who is despised and rejected by nations,
    a servant of rulers:
    “Kings will see and rise in respect,
    princes will bow down,
    because of the faithful Lord,
    the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.”

Hosea 11

  • If God were not holy, then he would destroy them because of their sin, but because he is holy he shows them mercy!
  1. How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
          How can I hand you over, O Israel?
    How can I make you like Admah?
          How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
    My heart recoils within me;
          my compassion grows warm and tender.
  2. I will not execute my burning anger;
          I will not again destroy Ephraim;
    for I am God and not a man,
          the Holy One in your midst,
                and I will not come in wrath.

Numbers 20

  • Finally this amazing quote where God tells Moses that failing to believe that God would provide is denying his holiness, but then God showed himself holy by providing for Israel, even though they didn’t deserve it!
  1. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron,
    “Because you did not believe in me,
          to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel,
    therefore you shall not bring this assembly
          into the land that I have given them.”
  2. These are the waters of Meribah,
          where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord,
                and through them he showed himself holy.

Version: NET


  • can you sum it up for me?

4. Holiness in the New Covenant?

  • What is Holiness in the New Covenant?
    • Do you remember six months ago we talked about how Jesus re-defined holiness?
    • In the O.T. it was defined in terms of external consecration
    • In his death on the cross, Jesus re-defined holiness to be self-giving love
  • The holy person is the one who “takes up their cross and follows Jesus”
    • If you are a Christian, you don’t have to somehow work up this love
    • This love is already in your heart by the Holy Spirit
    • You just have to co-operate with him and allow him to produce this fruit in you
  • Your call is to much more than purity
    • you are marked out as a special people
    • you are consecrated
  • You are not just “one of the people” but you are a priest, able to enter God’s presence, the holy of holies (Heb 10:19)

1Pe 2:5 you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

  • You are “chosen to proclaim his praises” 1 Pet 2:9
  • What does this mean in practice?
    • Jesus’ mark is upon us
    • We live dedicated lives
    • Some people believe that as long as something is not actually sinful, then it’s fine to do it
      • my career, where I live, how I spend my money and time
    • Did you know that the Levities were not actually allowed to own land!
      • God himself was their inheritance
      • We must not get entangled by the persuits of this world
  • you are not secular, but sacred!
    • You are not free to devote yourself to secular life
    • Every other devotion subservient to devotion to Christ
    • But we can make our career “sacred” by dedicating it to Christ
      • e.g. the CEO of Yahoo! Marissa Mayer:
      1. God, 2. Family, 3. Yahoo
    • Marissa Ann Mayer is President and CEO of Yahoo!. Previously, she was a long-time executive and key spokesperson for Google. Mayer was ranked number 14 on the list of America’s most powerful businesswomen of 2012 by Fortune

“Marissa Mayer”

Image source: Google

  • I was once leading a discussion on Money and the Christian
    • if we give 1/10 to God
    • Do homes belong to God
    • Time, energy, enthusism,creativity
  • Of course there is a connection between holiness and not sinning
    • Being totally dedicated to God means that impurity has no place
    • If you are in love with someone, you don’t go after other others but are faithful
    • Devotion to Christ means wanting to live faithfully to him
  • Becoming a Christian is simply offering Jesus your life
    • Making Jesus your Lord means dedicating your life to him
    • He says “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it”
    • He will give you new life if you follow him
      • You lose your own commitment to yourself
        • and gain his commitment to you.
  • Be 100% committed, ruthlessly dedicated to God, passionate dedication

Be Holy!

  • God is 100% committed to you,
  • so be 100% committed to him!

Updated on 2013-07-01 by Andrew Fountain

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