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The Motivation for Holiness

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1)  1-6-08…AM…SBC  2)

“The Motivation for Holiness”

1Peter 1:15-16 / 2 Corinthians 5:21

(Source: The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges)

Introduction:

  1. “Probably no document in the New Testament is as theological as 1 Peter, if ‘theological’ is taken in the strict sense of teaching about God.”[1]

  1. Peter mentions God’s characteristics of holiness, goodness, faithfulness, and grace. He refers to God’s work of electing, regenerating, redeeming, and judging his people.[2]

  1. In summary, the doctrine of God is central in Peter’s epistle. [3]

  1. In four of the five chapters of his epistle Peter alludes to the persecution of Christians.[4]

  1. Although scholars find more than one theme in Peter’s epistle, they agree that the theme suffering is woven into the fabric of the entire letter.[5]

a-      It is while Peter is encouraging these believers to persevere through persecutions that he gives then motivation to continue on in their faith

b-      Motivation specifically linked their quest for holiness

Ø      God has called everyone to a holy life

-          not just pastors or missionaries or dedicated Sunday School Teachers

-          every Christian in every nation is called to be holy and separate to sin

Ø      But what about our driving force behind living in purity before God

-          Why should we do it?  What should our motivation be?


Proposition:  The most compelling reason for God’s people to live in holiness is because holiness displays God’s image.


Transition:  To properly image God’s holiness we must first of all understand…

1) The Holiness of God          Read 1 Peter 1:15-16

 

 

A-    Because God is holy, He requires us to be holy.

Leviticus 11:1-2        

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, tYou shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. [6]

1-      As the children of Israel were called to love and serve God and to separate themselves from immorality and uncleanness, believers today must listen to the same sovereign call to bear His image [7]

B- Holiness describes the majesty of God and the moral perfection of his nature

1-      Holiness is an essential character of his nature

a-      Just as God can only know what is right, so He can only do what is right

b-      Just as God can only be holy, so can He only do what is holy and fair and just

2-      At times we struggle with moral decisions and we ask ourselves, “What is the right thing to do?”

3-      God’s perfect knowledge excludes any uncertainty of what is right and wrong

a-      sometimes we are reluctant to do what is right even when we know what is right

b-      this is never true with God

4-      “God’s holiness is the perfect freedom from all evil”[8]

a-      we can think of the holiness of God as the absence of any evil in Him

b-      Holiness is the perfection of all His other attributes.

c-      He power is holy power / His mercy is holy mercy / His wisdom is holy wisdom

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.[9]

d-     all of God’s thoughts and actions are consistent with His holy character

Illustration:                By contrast consider your own life.

-          as we mature in the faith we develop a certain degree of Christian Character

-          but we do not always act consistently with our character

-          when we lie or have impure thoughts we get frustrated with ourselves because we know it is not consist with our character

·         This never happens with God. He always acts consistent with His holy character

·         It is this same standard of holiness that you and I are called to also

Remember…


“holiness is a process, something that we never completely attain in this life.  Rather, as we begin to conform to the will of God in one area of life, [God] reveals to us our need in another area.  That is why we will always be pursuing as opposed to attaining holiness in this life.”[10]


            C- If God is perfectly holy then His actions towards us are always perfect and fair

1-      we can be tempted to complain that He is unfair in His treatment of us

2-      This is the same lie the devil convinced Eve of in the garden (that God was being unfair by withholding this wonderful knowledge form them)

3-      | Application |

It is impossible to in the nature of God to be unfair – because He is Holy all His actions are holy

4-      To complain against God is in effect to deny His holiness and to say He is not fair

 

 

D- Because God is holy, He can never excuse or overlook any sin we commit however “small” it may be

1-      We often say, “God hates the sin but loves the sinner.”  This is true completely true, but too often we quickly rush over the first half of this statement to get the second.

2-      We cannot escape the fact that God hates our sins.

3-      We may excuse our sin away, but God hates them.

4-      We must cultivate the attitude of Joseph who said when he was tempted:

Gen 39:9 How then can I do this great wickedness and vsin against God?”[11]

5-      Frequent meditation on the holiness of God and His consequent hatred of sin is a strong deterrent against experimenting with sin

Transition:

Ø      As we study more of the implications of “be holy for I am holy” we will see more of our own sinfulness

Ø      We will see that our own wickedness misses the mark of God’s perfect holiness.

Ø      As this happens the true Christian heart will flee to God for refuge

Ø      This is why we must second of all see…

2) The Holiness of Christ                    2 Corinthians 5:21

 

            A- The sinlessness of Jesus Christ is a universal teaching of the Bible

Hebrews 4:15

15 For we do not have a high priest gwho is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been dtempted as we are, hyet without sin.[12]

B-    The holiness of Jesus Christ was more than just the absence of sin

1-      it was also a perfect conformity to His Father’s will

John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.[13]

John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work[14]

John 8: 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”[15]

2-      Because it is possible for us to do the right action from a wrong motive, holiness has to do more than just acts

3-      Even our motives must be holy, arising from a desire to do something simply because obedience to do God’s will brings Him glory

C-    Another reason we are to consider the holiness of Christ is because His life is meant to be our example of holiness for us

1-      Consider then the statement from John 8:29 “for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”

2-      Do we dare take this as our personal goal in life too?

3-      Are you and I going to be willing to scrutinize all our activities, all our goals and plans and all of our impulsive actions in light of this statement?

 

Conclusion:

1-      If holiness is  a part of God’s character then He alone is the standard of holiness

2-      How should you and I respond to Holiness?

a- Repentance            

Isaiah 6:5 And I said: “Woe is me! yFor I am lost; zfor 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 aKing, the Lord of hosts!”[16]

-          when confronted with the holiness of God and his own sin Isaiah responded with repentance of his sin

b- Joy

1 Chronicles 16:16 - Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice![17]

-          People who have a right relationship with God can rejoice in His holiness

c- Worship

29     1 Chronicles 16: 29 - Give to the Lord the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him. Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness[18]

                        d- Imitation

-          God’s Holiness demands that God’s people abstain form sin and in this way we image God to the world

What is your motivation for being holy?


----

[1]Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 16, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 10.

[2]Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 16, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 10.

[3]Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 16, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 13.

[4]Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 16, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 17.

[5]Simon J. Kistemaker and William Hendriksen, vol. 16, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude, Accompanying Biblical Text Is Author's Translation., New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001), 21.

t See ch. 11:44, 45

[6]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Le 19:1-2.

[7]John MacArthur, 1 Peter (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2004), 67.

[8] The Pursuit of Holiness: Bridges, p23.

[9]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Jn 1:5.

[10] “The Pursuit of Holiness” – Jerry Bridges, p10.

v 2 Sam. 12:13; Ps. 51:4

[11]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ge 39:9.

g [ch. 5:2; Isai. 53:3]

d [See ver. 14 above]

h ch. 9:28; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 John 3:5; [ch. 7:26; John 8:46; 14:30]

[12]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Heb 4:15.

[13]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jn 6:38.

[14]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jn 4:34.

[15]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jn 8:28-29.

y [Judg. 13:22]

z [Luke 5:8]

a ch. 33:17; Jer. 10:10; [1 Sam. 12:12]

[16]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Is 6:5.

[17]The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Ch 16:10.

[18]The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), 1 Ch 16:29.

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