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First Baptist Lafayette, Louisiana (OLD)

BE: Being Holy

BE: Being Holy

1 Peter 1:13-16 

August 3, 2014

Dr. Steve Horn

Text Introduction: In our ONE Day service (on August 31) and beyond, I will issue the challenge to “Do Something” for God that you have never done. At the same time that we ask this question, we will ask God as a church collectively to unify us around one thing that we can do together that we have never done before in the history of our church.

I sense that this could be a very exciting time for us as a church. I believe that this is the kind of challenge that will help us to grow as Jesus’ disciples and help us to grow in our relationships with one another. However, I want to make something clear. We cannot do something just to do something. We could be so busy doing things that we forget that Jesus calls us to a relationship of being. So, I want to spend some time over the next weeks thinking about who we are to be. Last time we said, “Being Precedes Doing!” This morning I want to talk specifically about one thing that God commands us to be—holy!

Text: Therefore, get your minds ready for action, being self-disciplined, and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

Introduction: Let me begin this morning with some of the most basic truths of our faith.

  • God is holy! We will talk more precisely in just a moment about what this word means, but it is the kind of word that is all-encompassing in its description of the attributes of God. All that we can say about God that is unique to God,  is because of His holiness. And because He is holy….
  • God loves you! You cannot do something to cause God to love you more. He already loves you with a perfect love. That is, He already loves you as much as He can love you—and that love is complete. You cannot do something to cause God to love you less. He loves you. There is not some sin that could cause God to say, “Because of that sin, I cannot or I will not love you.”
  • God loves you just the way that you are! But He loves you too much to leave you the way that you are. He wants you to be just like Him.

That’s the essence of this text, I think.

Identifying the Principles of this Passage:

Indeed this is a complicated passage, so let me give you four principles that I have identified in this passage.

  • This command calls us to be set apart.

 

Here is the basic meaning of the word “holy.” It means to be separated. We could say to be completely different. When we say that God is holy, we are saying that He is different—one of a kind. No one is like Him. In the giving of the 10 commandments, God declared that the Sabbath day was holy. That is, He declared that this day would be different from all the rest of the days. In the Old Testament, we can talk about the holy Temple. That is, the temple is a different building from all other buildings. In contemporary culture, marriage is referred to as holy matrimony. That is, this relationship should be different from every other relationship.

So, here is the call. We are to be different; we are to be set apart. We ought to be distinguishable because of our relationship to Christ.

  • This command challenges us to an Advanced Standard.

Jesus has not called us to religion or law, but something deeper than that.  Grace always calls us to a higher standard.  In fact our attitude about rules shows us the greatest differences between works and grace.  A salvation of works is always seeking what is the least I can do and still be o.k. with God; a salvation of grace is always seeking what is the most I can do in thanksgiving to God.

  • This command compares us to a Unique Standard-Bearer. 

We are used to not only measuring ourselves up to keeping the rules, we are also pretty used to comparing ourselves to other people.  “I’m not as bad as that guy” we say.  As long as we can find at least one other person that we are better than, we think we are o.k.  Three things are wrong with this.  First, it makes us real judgmental.  Second, it keeps the focus off of ourselves.  Third, it causes us to rationalize our sin.

  • This command creates in us the need for an Atoning Savior. 

This passage screams out at me, “We have a problem.”  Indeed, we cannot save ourselves.  But, the good news is that God, in Jesus, has taken care of that for us.  The Bible says, “For He (meaning God) made Him (meaning Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  (2 Corinthians 5:21)  So, Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.  (2 Corinthians 12:9)

  •  This command confirms an Anticipated Solution.

Let me point to you the most important aspect of this passage.  It is in verse 13—“ and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you in the revelation of Jesus Christ.  We will one day be perfect.  We ought to be moving closer and closer to that.  This is what theologians call sanctification.  But, we will only be made perfect in Heaven.  However, because this is our calling, we ought to have what some have called a restful dissatisfaction.  (NIV Application Commentary on Matthew)  We are at rest in our salvation knowing that it comes from Jesus alone and not our ability to live a perfect life.  We are dissatisfied with our walk because we are not there yet.

Verse 13 begins with that most important word “therefore,” which refers us back to everything that Peter has said in verses 1-12.

Applying the Principles of this Passage:

Let’s wrap this up with a couple of points of application.  This passage calls all of us to…

  • Get Serious about Sin. He says, “Get your minds ready for action.” Literally, he says, “Gird the loins of your minds.” This is an obvious allusion to the way that men in those days tied up their robe around the waist for work or walking. Today, we might say, “Roll up our sleeves” or “Put our hard hat on.”

 

There is a whole lot I don’t understand about this passage, but three things I do understand about this passage.  #1 God is serious about sin.  #2  We better be just as serious about sin.  #3  I am in great need of forgiveness.

  • Set Eyes on Jesus. “Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God's grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace.” (Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness)
  • Put ourselves in the right position. What is going to contribute to your being holy? What is not going to contribute to your being holy? Hebrews 12:14 says that we are to “pursue holiness.”

I began by saying that God loves you just the way that you are, but He loves you too much to leave you the way that you are. He wants you to be just like Him. And because He wanted you to be just like Him, He came as His son, Jesus. He came so that we could see what holiness looked like. But He came to seek and to save. And He came to transform our lives into the likeness of Jesus.

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