Do We Really Need Holliness

 

Holiness.png

Introduction:

Hello Friends,

 

So, the other day I was reading another bloggers post.  This person suggested that believers do not need to fear Hell.  While I agree with this, mainly because due to our belief we won’t be going there, I was left with the since that either Hell didn’t exist or that no one would go there.  At this point I cannot say for sure what this individual thought or intended to say, but I do think that these ideas exist and are worth talking about.

 

As I approach this topic or any topic regarding God, I am always interested in the why.  For example, if Jesus died for my sins, why would He want to do that.  If God says don’t kill, then why?  If God tells us to be holy, then why?  I don’t do this to put God on the spot, but because I want to know Him more, to perhaps grasp a little more of the thoughts and ways that are above my own, and to understand His heart more.  I truly believe that He knows best and is ok with me wanting to understand His commands.

 

What Does the Bible Say?

 

So, to cut to the chase; God does tell us to be holy.

 

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”” (Genesis 1:26, ESV)

 

You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.” (Leviticus 20:26, ESV)

 

but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”” (1 Peter 1:15–16, ESV)

 

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”” (Exodus 19:5–6, ESV)

 

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9, ESV)

 

From the very beginning God has intended for us to be like Him.  We are made in His image and called to be holy as He is holy.  In the past I did a study of the word holy and looked at how it was used.  I noticed that the word “holy” was attributed to God or something that belonged to God.  At this point I am not ready to fully expound upon this word, which I will do in a future post “What is Holiness”.   But these verses demonstrate that God wants us for Himself, in the same what that I want my wife for myself.  We are His treasured possession (Exodus 19:5).

 

Why?

 

Since it is clear that God commands us to be holy, the question is why?  Why does God want us to be holy?  I think the following verses gives us insight important for answering this question.

 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8, ESV)

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah” (Psalm 24:3–6, ESV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)

And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3, ESV)

 

The first two verses tell us the requirement to be in God’s presence, clean hands, a pure heart, no deceit, and no idols.  The second two tell us that Jesus was given so that we may have eternal life, which is to know God the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent.  To simplify, God say’s this is what it takes to hang out with Me, and hey Jesus died so that you can hang out with Me.  Take a look at these two verses.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, ESV)

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus,” (Hebrews 10:19, ESV)

 

The throne of grace is easy to understand, God/Jesus’s throne, how cool is that.  Check out this description of God’s throne found in Isaiah 6

Isaiah’s Vision of the Lord

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”” (Isaiah 6:1–5, ESV)

In this passage Isaiah is trembling before the King of the Universe, as he should, but we are told we can come confidently before Him.  Wow!

In Hebrews 10:19, the writer talks about the Most Holy Place.  Below I have provided links below for more detailed teaching on the matter, but essentially the Most Holy Place or Holy of Holies, is the place in the tabernacle where God’s presences dwelled above the Mercy Seat and the Ark of the Covenant.  This place could only be entered once a year by the high priest and only after following the proper protocol.  Even then he would enter with a rope tied around his waist just in case he died.  And now we can enter with confidence.  How cool!

 

The Problem

The problem with over playing the grace or legalism cards is that they both have fundamental misunderstandings of God.  The legalist focuses on the justice, righteousness, holiness, judgement and wrath of God, while the hyper-grace crowd focuses on God’s love, mercy, patience, grace, and kindness.  One side views God as a rage driven vindictive judge while the other treats Him as a permissive grandfather.  Both points of view are incomplete.   Both are focused on either the eternal punishment of Hell (to be escaped or not to worry about), and/or the eternal reward of Heaven, a place of eternal bliss or happiness.  These verses can categorize this.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”” (Revelation 21:8, ESV)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”” (Revelation 21:4, ESV)

These are important verses and are not to be ignored and we can look forward to the time when pain, sickness, sin, and death are no more and are grateful that we were rescued from our previous fate, eternity in Hell.  But personally, I look forward to these verses:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.” (Revelation 21:3, ESV)

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:22–23, ESV)

At the end of the day there is one question to ask for us.  What motivates us, or what do we delight in.  Do we delight in the pleasures of this world, do we delight in our ability to follow the rules, or do we delight in the presence of the Lord?  Which of these fulfills the greatest commandment?

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” (Matthew 22:37–38, ESV)

I think we get so short sighted, either we are too focused on enjoying the pleasure of life (whatever we believe that to be) or we are focused on avoiding the bad place, getting to the good place, and possibly getting a heap of rewards and a big shiny crown to show off.  The reality is that we have some access to God now, and when we do get to the good place the limits to our current access will be removed.

We can get caught up in the concerns of life and How Jesus make everything better or we are busy trying to be good.  But Jesus said:

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” (John 15:5–6, ESV)

Holiness cannot be attained by our own efforts.  It is something that comes from Jesus.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, ESV)

Jesus cleanses us, and then it is up to us to abide in Him.  Through this process, we are transformed into His likeness, we bear fruit: fruit of the spirit, fruit of righteousness, fruit of ministry, and so forth.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1–2, ESV)

If we are partaking of the sinful “pleasures” of this world, then we are making a choice.  We are choosing something other than God to bring us pleasure.  And perhaps we are inadvertently saying God you’re not enough.  Life is only enjoyable with __________.  When in reality:

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11, ESV)

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6, ESV)

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13, ESV)

If we love the Lord our God with our entire being, then what are we going to be seeking.  Getting high/wasted, getting lucky, getting rich, climbing the socioeconomic ladder?  No, we will be seeking God and longing to be like our Daddy God.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, ESV)

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29, ESV)

Conclusion:

     I think I went on enough to make my point.  In the end, it is undeniable that the Bible tells us that God wants us to be Holy.  I believe the reason for this is because He wants to spend time with us, and holiness is the requirement.  In fact, He long to be with us so much that He sold everything in order to make it happen.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45–46, ESV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16–17, ESV)

What concerns me both for the legalist and the hyper-grace camp is this verse:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21–23, ESV)

Are we living our lives in pursuit of knowing Him, or is it something else?

 

I leave you with this question:  If God wants us to be Holy so that we can be in His presence, what is holiness?  I encourage you to follow my blog and to sign up for my email list so that you will be notified when my next post, “What is Holiness” is published (see the side bar or menue).

 

Link on the Most Holy Place

http://the-tabernacle-place.com/articles/what_is_the_tabernacle/tabernacle_holy_of_holies

Link on the Tabernacle

http://the-tabernacle-place.com/articles/what_is_the_tabernacle

 

 

 

 

A Picture of Worship

worship

Hello friends, I have a great post for you today.
Today I want to provide for you a picture of worship.  As we do this I want to provide the following definition of worship.
    Worship is any act of adoration, exultation, or praise.  For Christians this is expected to be directed at God but humans worship many things.  Some examples would be: athletes, musicians, celebrities, food, technology, or our significant other.  In most cases when we talk about worship you usually are referring to singing with music in a church setting., but it can incorporate a great deal of activities including but not limited to: singing, instrumental music, dance, painting, spoken words, spoken word poetry, sculpting, and so on.
     Worship is giving God the praise He deserves because He is King, because He is Holy, because He is just, because He is righteous, because loves us, because He saved us, and a whole slew of other things.
     Worship can be looked at as a duty but I believe the picture above captures the bidirectional nature of worship.  Before I talk about this some more I want to share a story about some time I spent reading my Bible one day.
     The other day I learned something as I was reading Song of Songs chapters 1 & 2 that really grated my intellect.  As I was reading I was thinking of it through to lenses that this interaction between a man and his betrothed signified: 1 a picture of romance for marriage, and 2 a picture of God’s love for us.  As I was reading I was noticing themes of mutual desire, delight, and adoration being expressed between this man and this woman.  It dawned on me that if this is a picture of God’s love for us (which marriage is and this is definitely a picture for marriage see Ephesians 5) then God desires, delights in, and adores me.  And He is expressing this through His word and probably in other ways I don’t notice as I rush through my day.  What I get here is that while we are worshiping God He is also worshiping us.  Worship is bidirectional.  This was a hard idea for me to accept.  God is awesome, He is holy, righteous, pure, mighty, and powerful.  It seemed wrong to say that He praises or worships me.  But think on the cross He was saying I love you this much, this is how valuable you are to Me.  He says that we are His masterpiece, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that we are His treasure and a pearl of great price ( Ephesians 2:10, Psalm 139:14,Matt 13:44-46)
     Another picture used in the Bible to help us to understand and relate to God is that of our Heavenly Father, Abba Father, or Daddy God (Romans 8:15 Galatians 4:6, Matthew 7:7-11, Luke 15:11-32, 1 John 3:1 and more).  As a father of 6 I can understand this in a much more powerful way than before I had children.  Currently I am going through OSL level 1 (Operation Solid Lives).  During the class time we are watching a series called “The Love of God” in which Jerry Dirmann brings to life how much God and Jesus loves.  The first session titled “Love From the Very First Chapter” talks about this beautiful world that God created loaded with things that are here simply for us to enjoy; the beauty of nature, sweet smelling aromas, colors, a variety of enjoyable foods, and so forth.  In the beginning He placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden and told them to have fun enjoy the delicious fruit and to stay away from the one tree that could ruin it all.  One day the Lord came walking through the garden to talk with them, and something was wrong they were hiding.  They had been tricked by the serpent (Satan) into eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the tree previously mentioned.  A curse came upon the devil, Adam, Eve, and all of creation, the ability of man to fellowship with God was severed, and the Heart of God was broken, as His babies were taken away in chains, doomed to an eternity in torment (see my post caged babies).  Unable to tolerate this God includes in the curse upon the serpent an allusion of the rescue plan to later be fulfilled.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
    and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, ESV)
We know now that this head bruising offspring is Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV)
 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3, ESV)
Jesus came and died in our place so that we can know Him and God.  He allowed Himself to be tortured, mocked, and killed in our place so that He could be with us forever.
What we see in this brief look at this is that God and Jesus really want to spend time with us.  In a healthy father child relationship we see this at work.  We see a child who is elated when daddy’s car pulls in the drive.  Personally I often come home to a bunch of smiling faces peering through the glass of the storm door when I come home.  There is a smile that comes across my face when they laugh or do something silly.  There are protective aggressive emotions that are activated when someone hurts them.  There is a sadness that comes when they are hurting or sick.  I shed tears when my daughter was so sick she was hospitalized.  My love for my children is a shadow of God’s love for us/me.
In the future I will write more on this, so, be on the look out for the upcoming post “In My Daddy’s Arms” for more about this.
As we come to a close I want to talk about this following verse.
You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11, ESV)
Jesus paid the price for us to have eternal life, to know God and Jesus, in whose presence is fullness of Joy.  When I hold my daughter and spend time with her there is joy.  When we spend time with God in worship, we are stopping everything else to be with Him.  And in those moments we often sense Him near.  One of the things I have learned is that we can use our imagination to help us visualize what we know to be true.
Hebrews 4:16 says, Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (ESV).  Also Hebrews 10:19, Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, (ESV).
Do you not know that you[c] are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16, ESV)
If we believe in Jesus He comes and lives inside of us and gives access to His throne room. Knowing this I would often imagine myself standing before Him.  On day while I was at church camp I was imagining as I worshiping a portal in the distance where I saw God seated on His throne with the six winged angels around Him (Isaiah 6, Revelation 4).  I’m not sure how it shifted but I was closer as if I was standing in front of Him worshiping.  What if when we worshiped we all did this or something like it.  I encourage you to do more than just sing, worry about life, worry about how you sound, or whatever and picture the truth, that He is there waiting eagerly to meet with you.
 I leave you with two things.  Another glimpse at the picture of me and my daughter as an example or intimate worship with the Father and the song “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin

Worship.png

A Story of Healing

Greeting Friends,

I am so excited to share the story about what happened tonight.  But, before we get to the exciting thing I want to share about the context that will help explain why I categorized this post in 3 categories.  So, tonight, I held a special service for the members of my youth team.  On one hand we hadn’t had a meeting in a while due to the holidays, and I like to do one monthly and on the other, a couple weeks ago the Lord laid it on my heart to do it in this manner.  One of the things I have learned about leadership is that if you take care of your team, your team will take care of your customers (in this case our youth).  For our youth group we are after revival and great awakening, and if first starts in me, then my team, then our youth group, and then their schools and families.  So as a person chasing after assuming my identity in Christ, in this case healing the sick and raising the dead.  I saw it only as appropriate to minister to my team on this level.  So as we closed our service I offered to pray for people.  I had a couple volunteers, and then I decided to take them on one by one.

Now we are to the fun part!!!!

It had come to “Linda’s” turn (name changed for privacy).  Linda had some family issues and a cracked knee cap.  She also mentioned that she needed discipline.  We talked and chatted for a bit about it all and then I got down to business.  I prayed for her less tangible needs first and so on.  And then on to the knee.  Now I’m not use to much happening when I pray at this point in my life, but I know if I keep trying sooner or later I’m going to hit pay dirt.  With that said I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m just guessing and trying to learn from people on YouTube like Todd White, Curry Blake, Heidi Baker, and David Hogan.  On a side note, what I did was more inspired by Todd White.  So as I finishing praying I get down on one knee place my hand on her knee and and say in the name of Jesus pain be gone.  At this point things get fuzzy.  I can’t remember the order of how it all happened, but I know a prayed a couple times for the knee.  I had seen in my studies that many times it takes a few tries for some reason.  So after each time we prayed I asked for a status report.  I believe this was before I had her join in.  She said she still had pain but that it was warm, like a warm rag was placed on it.  I’m like super, something is happening!!!!  So I say ok, this seems to happen a lot (based on my studies so far).  The next phase was what I believe to be a suggestion from the Lord.  I had her place her own hand on her knee and I placed my hand on hers and said “repeat after me”.  “In the name of Jesus pain be gone”  “I believe that I am healed in the name of Jesus”.  After each time I would ask what was happening.  The answer would fluctuate between no pain and reduced pain.  So I had her get up and walk around, again testing it seems to be common practice among those I have watched doing this.  She walked around the room without her cane.  According to another one of our associates she was complaining about the knee and using the cane earlier.  Unfortunately, the pain began to return, sad day, but it wasn’t as bad as before.

We continued to pray over it, but the answer was reduced, not a total healing.  I felt that for her, what had happened was a taste of what was hers and that she was to do some homework before it was complete, ie, pray over knee the same way I showed her at home.  I say this not because I think this is how it should work but because I believe the Lord wants to strengthen her faith and use her to do the same for others.  So, last I checked the knee was feeling better, but not fully restored.

So I must be off to bed for the night, but I plan to keep you posted, and perhaps we will do a video interview with “Linda”.  When the final report is in.