Sunday, September 4, 2011

What is Holiness?

A sermon developed by Dr. Terry W. Dorsett

          The word “holiness” has taken on several meanings that God did not intend it to have.
          Such as being a stuck up “holier than thou” person.
          Or a person who lives isolated in a convent or monastery, cut off from the real world.
          Or sometimes we twist the word to mean something that is “incredible” such as when we say “Holy Cow!” about something that amazed or surprised us.
          But none of these things are what holiness really means.
          Real holiness is always connected in some way to God.
          Leviticus 10:10-11 – You must distinguish between the holy and the common . . . and teach the Israelites all the statues that the Lord has given them.
          Therefore, for someone or something to be holy, there must be a connection between that thing or that person and God.

There are FOUR aspects of holiness:
1.     Holiness means unique in its existence. Anyone who pays attention can see it is unique.
2.     Holiness means set apart for a special purpose.
3.     Holiness means someone or something that belongs to God.
4.     Holiness means living for God as a light in the darkness.

1.     1. Holiness means unique in its existence.
          God is holy, meaning that there is none like Him.
          1 Samuel 2:2 – There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one besides You! And there is no rock like our God.
          Though there are many false gods none of them sent their Son to die for our sins.
          Though there have been well known religious leaders down through the ages, they are dead and gone, but the tomb of Jesus is empty.
          Though atheists have tried to denounce Christ and our own government has thrown Him out of our schools and terrorists have tried to scare us into submission, God is still holy and God is still on the throne!
          God always has been and always will be, for He is unique in His very essence.
          Malachi 3:6 – I am the Lord and I do not change.For a complete study on Malachi, see: "Malachi: Finding Hope in the Midst of Adversity."
          The church is holy, meaning that no other organization it quite like it.
          The church is the people, not the building.
          Ephesians 5:25-27 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, to make her holy, cleansing her in the washing of the word. He did this to present the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle, but holy and blameless.
          The Bible is holy, meaning that no other book can match it’s power.
          Isaiah 55:11 – My Word goes forth and it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
          Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
          Some people are holy, meaning that they are so close to God that they are in a unique category among people.
          Genesis 5:24 – Enoch walked in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.
          Acts 13:22 - God testified concerning David: I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.

2. Holiness means set apart for a special purpose.
          The church building is holy because it has a special purpose.
          Though the church is the people, not the building, the building in which the church meets is also holy.
          The church building is holy because it’s primary purpose is to worship the Lord and serve as a place for people to learn about the Lord.
          Psalm 122:1 - I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.”
          Though we can worship the Lord and learn about Him in other places besides a church building, a church building has been set apart for these special purposes and often we feel closer to God when we are in a sacred space like a church building.
          Any item can become holy if we set it apart to only be used for the Lord’s purposes.
          Imagine how odd it would be if a lady wore her wedding gown to the office every day to work in. She would never do that because that gown has a special purpose.
          For example, the items we use to serve communion are not also used for pot luck dinners.
          Likewise, money or other possessions become holy once we give it to the Lord for His work because it will now be used for something special.
          Leviticus 27: 30, 32 - All the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's. It is holy unto the Lord. Concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, the tenth shall be holy to the Lord.
          This could be a temporary “setting apart” such as a person going on a short term mission trip or who is going to dedicate a period of time to ministry.
          This could be a lifetime commitment such as a person who moves to another country to serve as a missionary or is ordained to serve as a minister right here in America.

3. Holiness means someone or something that belongs to God.
          God called Israel holy, because they are His chosen people.
          Jeremiah 2:3 - Israel is holy to the LORD, the first of his children. All who harmed his people were declared guilty, and disaster fell on them. I, the LORD, have spoken!
          Though the modern nation of Israel may not always act as God’s children, they are nonetheless still God’s chosen ones.
          Genesis 12:2-3 - I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
          If we want to be blessed by God, then we must continue to recognize the Jewish people as holy before Him.
          God calls the people of the church holy because He chose them for salvation.
          Ephesians 1:4-5 – For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will.
          God chose us to be holy, what a shock!
          1 Peter 2:4-5 – Come to Him, a living stone – rejected by men but chosen and valuable to God, you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
          God redeemed us from sin to be His holy priests through our spiritual sacrifices.
          Are we fulfilling our job description?

4. Holiness means living for God as a light in the darkness.
The word “holiness” often invokes the idea of moral goodness or moral purity.
          1 Peter 1:15-16 – As the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct. For it is written, be holy, because I am holy.
          God expects our conduct to be Christ-like.
          Romans 8:29 - For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
          Colossians 3:17 - And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
          But holiness is more than just keeping all the rules.
          Holiness is being a certain type of person, a person whose life is focused on the Lord.
          Though we will sometimes fail and do things that dishonor the name of Christ, we can still be holy if we get back up and refocus on Him and keep trying.

          Holiness means unique in it’s existence.
          Holiness means set apart for a special purpose.
          Holiness means someone or something that belongs to God.
          Holiness means living for God as a light in the darkness.
          Are we HOLY in any of these aspects?
          If not, why not?


  1. Thank you for taking your time to share this timely and timeless message! I hope others will deem it worth their time to read and heed it.