God is Holy

Prayer Line

Pastor Jerry Gillis - May 10, 2020

Community Group Study Notes

  • Have someone in your group provide a 2-minute summary of Sunday’s teaching.
  • What is the difference between morality and holiness? How was holiness defined and explained in this message?
  • Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. What do these verse teach us about who we truly belong to? How does this “belonging” impact the way that we live, based on these passages? 
  • What parts of your life have you tried to retrieve (or maintain) ownership of? If we truly belong to God but still try to maintain ownership over parts (or all) of ourselves, what kind of conflict will that create within us? How can we address this?
  • What is one action step you can take in light of Sunday’s message and our discussion today? 


Sermon Transcript

Growing up in Georgia, my neighborhood had a wooded creek that was nearby. One of the benefits of being in Georgia is that there are a lot of creeks and there are a lot of woods outside of the city of Atlanta, which we were. And so when we were young, our whole pack of wolves neighborhood gang would run through the woods and down to the creek and catch crawfish and do all the things that young kids did during that time. Well, we were down there so frequently and we ran through that area so frequently that there were well worn paths, trails that we had blazed all through there, to the point where I could literally run through those places with my eyes closed and still know exactly where I was, I knew where every route was, I knew where every tree that was in the way that I had to dodge was.

And so we were able to make these trails when we were little, and they were well worn. Well, obviously I grew up, I moved away and had been gone for a whole bunch of years. In fact, now I was a dad myself and we were home, one probably Christmas time, I can't remember exactly it may have been in the summer, and we were back where my parents live in Georgia. And I remember going back down to that creek. And if memory serves, I think that I brought my two young kids at the time with me to go down there.

But what I realized is that all of the trails that used to be there, were all grown over. You couldn't even make out that they were even there. They used to be, they were there somewhere, but they had grown over and you couldn't really distinguish them anymore. In fact, it's a reminder of what Rudyard Kipling who's the author of The Jungle Book, you may remember, wrote in a poem called The Way Through The Woods, here's what he said. He said, "They shut the road through the woods 70 years ago. Weather and rain haven't done it again. And now you would never know there was once a road through the woods."

That's a reminder to me that it's possible that our subject today, the idea of holiness, is like that. That it's something that used to have meaning when we talked about the idea of holiness, it had a meaning relative to God. And it had a meaning relative to God's people. But it feels like in the day and age that we live in, that that trail, that that path is a bit grown over that it's covered. You see, when we say the word holy now we say it in a different way most of the time. We don't use the term the way that the term was designed to be used. Many times in our culture, we use it when we're surprised, "Holy cow." "Holy Moly." Those are the things that we say when we find ourselves shocked or surprised. Or maybe even ironically, we use it when we're pointing out hypocrisy, like this, "She thinks she's so holy." Stuff like that. That's the way in which we use that term.

Now to use it properly, we use it a lot less frequently, in terms of using it properly. We sing about it like we did today. But sometimes when we're singing about the idea of holiness, God's holiness or what that means for us, the implication for us, maybe we don't sing with a level of understanding, maybe we do. But I think oftentimes that this is a covered over pathway that we really need to maybe see if we can get out from under the brush just a little bit. There are plenty of four letter words in the cultural vocabulary that should probably be exiting our vocabulary, but there's also one that probably should reenter, the word holy.

And today, what I want us to do is I want us to look at that idea and I want to look at it through the lens of a prayer. This is what we've been doing in the series called prayer line, is we've been looking at mostly one sentence or one line prayers that have been helping us to understand the nature of who God is. And so today, I want to do that. And I want to do that through a prayer that was prayed by a mom, who was almost not a mom. And her name is Hannah. Now, we may not know who Hannah is, some who maybe have not studied the Bible for a long period of time, you may not know who Hannah is simply because there's not a lot said about her. It's tucked away in a book in the Old Testament called First Samuel, and it's in the first two chapters that she is mentioned. But outside of that she doesn't have mention really in the rest of the Bible.

So you may or may not have heard of Hannah, and if not, it's okay. Maybe just let me give you a little bit of background. Now she was married to a man named Elkanah, and he was from a town called Ephraim. Now Elkanah had two wives, pause. This wasn't the ideal, so that's another message for another time. But he had two wives and their names were Peninnah and Hannah. Now, the Bible actually refers to Peninnah as a rival of Hannah, because Peninnah, she could have children and did. Had many children, sons and daughters. But Hannah, she didn't have any kids. This was really difficult for Hannah and it was made even more difficult because every year they would go from Ephraim to Shiloh where they would offer their sacrifices and they would worship and they would pray.

Elkanah would lead his family there and Peninnah and Hannah would come and Peninnah would come and she would have her kids and Hannah would come and she would not have her kids. And as they would sit down for a dinner while they're in Shiloh, Peninnah would actually, she would actually make fun of Hannah. She made her hurt. And so you find Hannah at times, not eating, crying, and just hurting because she couldn't have any children. At one time when this was going on, and she was being mocked by Peninnah, she ended up going to the place of worship there at Shiloh, and she began to pray.

Now, she was so heartbroken and so grieved, that she wasn't praying out loud, she was actually praying with just her lips moving. And this prayer was coming from deep inside of her. It was a prayer that was saying, "God, if you will give to me a son, I will give him back to you. And he will serve you all of his days." And so she prayed, with no words coming out of her mouth, but just her lips moving. And it just so happened that the senior priest that was there, who oversaw all the affairs of the worship that went on there, his name was Eli and what he saw, is he saw her lips moving and he saw her grieving and praying, and he thought she was drunk.

And so he basically said to her, "Well, you shouldn't be drunk. That's no place for this here," and finally she convinced him that she wasn't drunk, she was praying out of a place of deep heartache and deep grief. And though she didn't specifically tell Eli what her prayer request was, Eli said to her after realizing that she was heartfelt and sincere, he said, "I'm praying that the Lord, the God of Israel, will give you what you have asked of Him." So she ended up going home and after they got home, after some time, Hannah became pregnant.

And as she gave birth to this child, she named this child Samuel. And Samuel means, the Lord, that's where the L, EL, comes from, the Lord hears or the Lord has heard my prayer. Samuel. And after Sam was weaned, she did exactly what she promised. And she brought him back to Eli the priest, and said, "He is here. He is the Lord's, and he is here to serve the Lord with you."

Then what she did is she prayed and that's what we have recorded in First Samuel chapter two, this beautiful prayer, after she has given back her son to Eli, just as she promised, we have this beautiful prayer that she prayed. Now, the prayer itself is about 10 verses long, but we're actually going to look just at verse number two. For context, I'm going to give you verses one and two, but we're going to predominantly look at verse two, because we want to see some insights into how Hannah described God.

So here's what it says in First Samuel chapter two, beginning in verse number one, she prays, "My heart rejoices in the Lord. In the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one besides you. There is no rock like our God." You see, even though this is a bit of a longer prayer than what I'm highlighting here, I want to pull out a couple of insights for us in the way that Hannah describes God. And it's the way she describes God right from the very outset of her prayer. This was obviously something that was on the forefront of her mind, and really coming from the depths of her heart. And she talks about the nature of the holiness of the Lord or the holiness of God.

There's two insights that I want us to be able to pull out and think about as we think about this idea of God being holy. And here's the first, God is uniquely holy. Now, the reason that I'm saying that is because that's exactly what Hannah prays. Listen to what she says in verse number two again, "There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one besides you." You see what she is affirming here, is that God is uniquely holy, there is no one like Him, He is incomparable. And in fact, if you were to fast forward from this Old Testament revelation of Hannah, all the way to the very end of the revelation that we have in the Bible, the book called The Revelation, you would find there, in this description of, in some parts, the time of the end and the faithfulness of the people of Jesus in the midst of great trial and persecution and suffering, you would see those who had come out of this and who were triumphant over the beast.

And here's what you hear them saying in Revelation 15 verse number four, "Who will not fear you Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone, are holy. All nations will come and worship before you for your righteous acts have been revealed." Do you see it? "For you alone are holy." Hannah says, "There is no one holy like the Lord." And then we have the testimony at the very end of scripture that, "You alone, God, are holy." You see we're understanding here that God is uniquely holy. And understanding God's holiness is maybe not as simple as just giving you a definition. In fact, I'm not sure that just a simple definition would do justice to trying to understand the nature of God's holiness.

So let me see if I can explain it, maybe with some nuance in some different ways. I think the first thing maybe we need to understand about God's unique holiness is that it's essence more than attribute. It's essence more than attribute. Let me explain. We've been studying over the last number of weeks, we've been studying the attributes of God. Now when we do that, what we're doing is we're talking about characteristics or attributes that describe who God is and what God is like.

So for instance, we're saying things like, God is sovereign. God is merciful. God is gracious. God is loving. God is good. These are all attributes of the nature of God. But holy, when we describe God as holy, it's not so much describing an attribute of God. It's describing the essence of God. In other words, for every attribute God has, God is holy in that attribute. In other words, we could say it this way. God's sovereignty is a holy sovereignty. God's goodness is a holy goodness. God's mercy is a holy mercy. You see when we talk about this, we're saying that God's holiness can be applied to every attribute of the nature of who God is.

Now, if we were trying to define the word itself, when Hannah says, "There is no one holy like the Lord," if we're taking that word, the way that we would describe that word is this, it means to be set apart, or separated. That's the etymology of the word, the core meaning of the word, to be set apart or separated. So when Hannah is saying that there is no one holy like the Lord, what she's saying is that God is holy other, He is set apart, He is separated, He is completely distinct from us, and there is no comparison to Him. There are no categories of beings to whom He might be compared.

And in fact, this is how God actually revealed Himself and spoke to the prophets of old as well. If you listen to how God spoke to Isaiah in Isaiah chapter 40, notice the words. Isaiah 40, verse number 25 says this, God says, "To whom will you compare Me? Or who is My equal?" Says the Holy One. The idea there is that there is no comparison, God alone is uniquely holy, He is the Holy One and He cannot be compared to anybody or anything. Same could be said, how God spoke to Hosea in Hosea chapter number 11. "For I am God and not a man, The Holy One among you." In other words, there is no comparison. We can't simply say, "Oh, he's a little bit higher than us, but he's like us." That's not really the idea when we talk about God's holiness. God is separate. God is set apart. God is distinct. And this is more about essence than it is about attribute.

But maybe another way to describe this would be able to say that God's holiness is more about worship, than about words. It's more about worship than about words. Now when I say that, here's what I'm trying to describe, when we come to a place where we see in the scripture, the throne room of God, and there are a few times that we see that in scripture, both in the Old Testament and ultimately in the New Testament, we see a commonality when we get a glimpse or a view or a vision into the throne room of God. We see something in common whether we're looking at that from Isaiah as a vantage point, or that we're looking at through John, the Revelator's vantage point when we see it in Revelation.

Listen to what Isaiah six, beginning of verse number one says, "In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above Him were seraphim, each with six wings. With two wings, they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty. The whole earth is full or filled with His glory.""

And then if we were to fast forward into another vision into the throne room, in Revelation chapter four, verse eight, notice the commonality there. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings. Day and night they never stopped saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is, and is to come." You see the commonality in those two things, right? In both places, when we get a glimpse into the throne room of God, what we hear ringing out is, "Holy, holy, holy."

I find it interesting that what we don't hear ringing out is, "Love, love, love." Or, "Good, good, good." Is God love? Yes. Is God good? Yes. But what we hear ringing out is, "Holy, holy, holy." Why? Because this is about essence more than about attribute. And when we talk about the essence of God as being holy other than us, separated from us, distinct from us, set apart from us, what it breeds in us is not so much words of description, but worship that comes out of our hearts and our mouths. You see, worship takes us to a place that language cannot. It's almost as if we have traveled to the end of the earth and have nowhere else to go. We simply have gone as far as we can go with language, and now we are experiencing the worship of the nature or essence of who God is, He is holy.

And He is the thrice Holy God, holy, holy, holy. God is holy as father, God is holy as son, God is holy as spirit, the three personhood of God, the three person, the nature of God, one God, three persons, thrice holy, this is what we're reminded of. And maybe that's why David the psalmist wrote, by the way, you remember David was anointed by Samuel, who was the son of Hannah. And if you remember, here's what David wrote in Psalm 29, verse number two, "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name. Worship the Lord in the splendor or the beauty of His holiness." You see, our worship is really what comes from a heart that understands how holy God is, how distinct, how separate, how incomparable God is that we are to worship Him in the beauty of holiness.

So when we talk about this idea of God being uniquely holy, what we're saying is this, that it's more essence than attribute. And it's more about worship than it is about words. But there's a second insight that I want to pull out of here from Hannah's prayer and it's this, that God's holiness makes a claim on our humaneness. God's holiness makes a claim on our humaneness. I want you to see what she prays in verse two and verse three. Here's what it says. She prays, "There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one besides you. There is no rock like our God. Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak such arrogance for the Lord is a God who knows. And by Him deeds are weighed." You see what Hannah is describing here is that her actions are based on God's holiness. You see that's how she begins, "There's no one holy like the Lord. There's no one besides you," and so by Him, the Holy One are our deeds weighed.

What did she do? What was her action? Her action was, she set apart her son and gave him to God. Think about that for a moment, when we talk about God being holy, the idea of God's holiness means that God is set apart. So think about what Hannah did. Hannah set apart her son to the set apart God. This was her response to holiness. You see, she was familiar with the teaching that had predated her, the teaching from Moses when God had taught His people who they were supposed to be in light of who He is, she was familiar with that. In fact, she was familiar with what Leviticus chapter 19 verses one and two say. Notice what it says, it says, the Lord said to Moses, "Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them, be holy, because I, the Lord, your God, I'm holy."

Now, this was also repeated, by the way in the New Testament, because Peter talked about holiness in the people of God. And he actually referenced what was said in Leviticus chapter 19. This is found in First Peter chapter one. Peter says, "As obedient children do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance, but just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do. For it is written, "Be holy, because I am holy.""

Now, when we start describing people as holy, what do we actually think of? When we talk about people as holy, what comes to our mind? My guess is this, is that what comes to your mind is the same thing that comes to almost everybody else's mind. It would describe somebody who lives righteously or lives morally. That that person could be described as living holy. And that's absolutely true, by the way. That is absolutely true. But that's only part of the idea that we're talking about when we talk about someone being holy. It certainly has to do with our obedience, our behavior, our moral uprightness, our right righteousness. It certainly has to do with that. But it has to do with more than that.

And in fact, I want to see if maybe I can describe that because God's holiness makes a claim on our humaneness, and so it means, first of all, that it's about more than morality. See morality is good, I don't want you to misunderstand, morality is good and right. And it is a part of the claim that God's holiness makes on our lives. No question about it. It is certainly not less than our morality, but it is more than our morality. Because, listen, morality is actually not our life goal. Now you may be thinking to yourself, "Jerry, why would you say something like that? We are supposed to be a moral people. We are supposed to be an upright people." Of course we are. But that's actually not our life goal. Do you know why? Because it's possible, to be moral and not be holy.

Let me see if I can explain this a little bit better. There are a number of reasons why people might choose moral behavior. A number of different reasons, you could probably think of a bunch more than what I'll just give to you here, for instance, maybe people want to be viewed with respect. In the culture that we live in, in the society that we live in, they want to be viewed with respect, and so they choose to behave morally or upstandinglly, maybe we would say.

Or maybe they act morally because it makes them feel good about themselves. And it makes them feel good about the choices that they are making, because they've learned when they act immorally or unrighteouslly that they don't feel so good about that, but they want to feel good about themselves so they choose to live morally. Or maybe it's a family expectation. That because your name is Blanc, that you're people that are supposed to behave yourself and you're supposed to act properly and you're supposed to act morally, and so you do because it's a family expectation and you don't want to bring any poor name to yourself, right?

Or maybe it's just good for business. You don't want to be known as somebody who's immoral or who's taking advantage of people or who's crude or ugly or unrighteous. You don't want to be known by that because your customer base would dwindle or people would get the word out, and so because it's good for business, you choose to be morally upstanding.

So there's a number, and you could probably name a bunch more than that, there's a number of reasons that people choose for being moral. But let me ask you something, with everything that I just named, just then, every single one of those things could be done from a selfish motive. Every single one of them. So if you were saying, "Well, I want to be viewed with respect." Well, maybe that's coming from a selfish motive. Or maybe, "Well, it makes me feel good." Maybe that's coming from a selfish motive, "I'm going to choose to be moral because it makes me feel good." Or maybe because it's my family expectation, and I want my name to be really well, revered in the community. Maybe that's coming from a selfish motive. Or maybe when you talk about the idea of it being good for business, it's from a selfish motive.

So let me ask you something, can you be moral and still not be holy? I think the answer to that is yes. Because obviously, everything that's coming from a place of selfishness, even though it might be moral in action, if it's coming from a place of selfishness, I don't think any of us would call that holy. So it's about more than morality. The claim that God is making, God's holiness, the claim that it's making on our humaneness, is no less than morality, but it's more than that. So what is the more than that I'm referring to? Well, it's about belonging to God. That's what this is about. It's about belonging to God.

You see, the claim that God's holiness makes on our humaneness, is certainly about morality, but it's about more than morality because you can be moral and not be holy. It's actually about belonging to God. You see, when our idea of holiness is only about morality, we fall short. We are falling short of the idea of what God's desire is. In fact, when we start looking at what the word holy means in the scripture, in other words, how it's used in the scripture, we realize that it means more than morality. It certainly doesn't mean less than that. But it actually means more than that.

In fact, let me take you all the way back to the first time that the word is used. If I took you back to the book of Genesis, for the very first time that the word holy is used in the Bible, I want you to see how the word is actually used. Here's what it says in Genesis chapter two, verse number three, then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy. Because on it He rested from all the work of creating He had done. So what we find out in Genesis is this, a day is holy. Okay. Now if we were to fast forward to the first time that God uses the term holy about something in a conversation, that would be when He's speaking to Moses. You remember the story of the burning bush where this bush was on fire, but it was not consumed. And God spoke to Moses from that place.

Here's what it said in Exodus chapter three, verse number five. It says, "Do not come any closer," God says, "Take off your sandals." He's talking to Moses, "For the place where you are standing is holy ground." Now in Genesis, the first time it's used, a day is holy. And then the first time God uses it in conversation, he says, "The ground is holy." And then if you were to read in Exodus all the way through Exodus, and all the way through the book of Leviticus, which I'm sure you all did this morning, you got up really early and read through the entire two books. But if you were to read through the entire two books of Exodus and Leviticus, you would find the word holy or holiness is used at least 85 times. And in the times that it's not referring to God Himself as holy, generally speaking, it's referring to tables, or spaces, or utensils. In other words, it's referring to things.

Now, here's why this idea of holy, is more than morality. Because when we talk about a day being holy, is a day moral in itself? Have you ever heard of a moral table? Is ground moral? Are utensils moral? I think you understand the point here, right? Instead of talking about those things as moral, the text of scripture, when it uses the phrase holy to describe them, it's actually talking about them being separated or set apart, belonging to God. This is really important for us to understand because Hannah, she understood this, she understood that this idea of holiness, that she would have known through the book of Leviticus, that she would have known through the book of Exodus, that this idea of holiness has to do with being set apart or with being separated, belonging to God. This is the idea of what holiness actually means. It means no less than being moral, upright, righteous, but it means more than that, it means belonging to God.

So you can probably begin to see the tensions here. Because if God's holiness makes a claim on our humaneness, that God Himself is uniquely holy, but that holiness is making a claim on our humaneness. And it's about, certainly about being upright and moral, but it's about more than that, it's actually about belonging to God. You can see where this becomes a little bit of an issue, where the tensions begin to find themselves playing out in our hearts. Because as the book of Hebrews chapter 12, verse number 14 says, make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy, without holiness, no one will see the Lord. Did you catch that? Without holiness no one will see the Lord.

That puts us in a bit of an awkward position, doesn't it? Because God's holiness makes a claim on our lives. But we are sinful people. But without holiness we'll never be able to see the Lord. So how can we, an unholy people or people who are sinful, ever actually belong to the God who is uniquely holy so that we can experience His holiness in our lives? Well, we can't on our own. But thankfully, the God who is an all consuming fire by His holiness, is also one who is wholly loving, who is wholly gracious, who is wholly merciful, who is wholly good, and he has made a provision for us through Jesus. In fact, if we were to go to, on this Mother's Day look at a conversation that an angel had with Jesus' own mother, we would find out that that angel was saying to that mom, something very specific about the holiness of Jesus.

In fact, you can see that in Luke chapter one, beginning in verse 35, it says this, the angel answered or said to Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born, will be called the Son of God." The angel said that Jesus is the Holy One to be born. You see, this is why I'm talking about the idea of the thrice holy nature of God, holy, holy, holy. God, the Father is holy. God, the son is holy. God, the spirit is holy. And Jesus is identified in the womb, as the Holy One who would be called the Son of God.

Now, rest assured, even though Jesus was cloaked in humanity as he began his life and ultimately began his ministry, and you and I, maybe who were walking around, might have been fooled that he was exactly like us. Oh, he was like us in that he was 100% human, but he wasn't exactly like us because he was 100% human, and 100% God, at the same time, he was holy, he was set apart from us. He was distinct from us. He was separate from us while identifying with us. It is remarkable to think about it.

And you and I, we, in this earthly realm, we might have been fooled by that, if Jesus were walking around in Galilee, and we were just somebody there, we might have been fooled, and may have said to ourselves, "He's just like us," but I promise you, that the created invisible realm, they were not fooled, they knew exactly who Jesus was because in his ministry, when he started dealing with demons, trust me, they knew he was holy. In fact, listen to how Luke records this interchange in Luke chapter four, verse number 34. The demon actually says this, the demon actually says this to Jesus. "Go away. What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God."

You and I, we might be fooled if we were walking around with this human Jesus, but the demonic realm, they were not fooled. They knew exactly who he was, he was the Holy One of God. And so this Holy One, who was perfect, who was distinct from us, even though fully like us in every way, but distinct from us, in that he was fully divine and fully human, he was the provision between a holy God and a sinful people. And it was in his death, his shed blood, his perfect, spotless, blameless life, that he took upon himself our guilt and our sin and our shame, and everything that separated us from God so that through his death and his resurrection, now by faith in him, we could belong to God.

And do you know what the writer of Hebrews says about the blood that Jesus shed? Listen to Hebrews chapter 13, verse number 12. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate, to make the people holy through his own blood. In other words, what Jesus was doing in shedding his own blood was not only by faith in him, allowing us to be able to belong to God, but now through what transpires in our lives with our hearts being made new, we now can also be a people who are set apart to God and who are living, holy, righteous, morally upright lives because of Christ, the Holy One living inside of us. We now get to participate in the holiness of God. This is extraordinary indeed, the idea of God's holiness, and the idea that it has a claim on us, is incredibly significant for us.

And so maybe when we talk about this idea of God's holiness, we could say something like this, "God's holiness belongs only to Himself. And our holiness is in only belonging to God." Let me read that one more time, some of you may be jotting notes. "God's holiness belongs only to Himself. And our holiness is in only belonging to God." In other words, it's because of what Jesus has done and now, when we have faith in what God has done through His son, the Lord Jesus Christ, we now belong to God. And we are set apart from sin, and set apart to God, we are gods. We are now for God's sacred, special use. This is a precious truth.

But I want to remind you of something. If the whole heartbeat of holiness is about belonging to God, that God is uniquely holy and His holiness belongs only to Him, and our holiness is in belonging to Him, then if that's the case, what's the opposite of belonging to God? Now you might say to yourself, "Not belonging to God." Well, I'd ask you to be a little more specific, what is the opposite of belonging to God? Belonging to self. That would be the opposite. And if we belong to ourselves, we have no chance of being holy and listen, without holiness, no one will see God. We have absolutely no chance of holiness if we belong to ourself. It is only in belonging to God.

You see, some I think that may be watching this, you may say, "You know what? I belong to God, but I've been trying to maintain some ownership over parts of myself. I'm clear that the Bible says that I was bought at a price and that price was the blood of God's son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy One from heaven. And that in being bought, I am now His. But I have tried to take ownership back over parts of my life. Instead of viewing my life as belonging to God in whole, I've tried to take parts of my life back." Maybe you've tried to do that with relationships. Maybe you're in a dating relationship potentially. And you've separated off your God life, your spiritual life, your Sunday morning life, your youth group life, your college ministry life. And you've said, "This is my relationship, and I do with my relationship. I'm making my own choices, doing what I want to do..." No. You're God's.

If you belong to God, start living like it. Or maybe we've separated out the resources that God has entrusted to us. And we've said, "I belong to God, but my stuff belongs to me. I earned it, I did all of that." No. You belong to God. And everything that you have belongs to God. And whatever God wants to do with our resources, whatever God wants to do with our stuff, then let God do what He wants to do because we belong to God. We have been separated out from this world, and we are for God's sacred use.

And as a result of that, we don't say that we are the owners anymore, but that God is. Or maybe we've done it with our vocations, our jobs. We've said, "Well, this is the God stuff and business is just business." And so some of the things that I do, I do because business is just business. Listen, it's all God's. If you belong to God, everything belongs to Him. This isn't about us owning pieces of that. Even when it comes to your plans and your purposes. This isn't about saying, "God, I want you to save my soul. But then I want to make my own direction in life. I want to do my own thing. I want to explore the way I want to explore. I want to live the way that I want to live." No, no, no, you've misunderstood. God is holy. And God's holiness makes a claim on our humaneness. And that is this, that if we want to see God that we must be holy too. And the only way to do that is by faith in Jesus.

And what we're saying when we put our faith in Jesus is this is, is that we belong to God. Everything we are, we belong to Him. We've been set apart for His sacred use. And so God actually knows the plans and the desires and the purposes that He wants to use us for. If God said, "I want these utensils for this purpose, they are set apart for me," then that's what those were for. If God says, "I want this table for this purpose, and this is what it's about," then that's what it's for. And He says the same thing about our plans and our purposes, and our lives.

We could talk about so many pieces of this, I mean, you could even talk about our kids or our grandkids. Listen, to me, they're God's before they're ours. They're His. Because we belong to Him. Ask Hannah. Hannah knew, "This son of mine belongs to God." Now, it doesn't mean that every child that we have, that we give them away after they've been weaned and they can chew now and eat solid food that we give them to God in a way that they did here. That's not the same thing, right? This was very specific in terms of a vow that she made before God. But I think what Hannah recognized, even though she had more children, sons and daughters, as we read about later in chapter two, I think she realized that everybody belongs to the Lord. This was a very specific thing with Samuel, but they all belong to the Lord.

I remember my wife and I praying when our children were born, right before that, right before she went in to have our children, "God, they're yours. They're yours. Do with them what you want." You see, we can't make idols of our kids. We can't make idols of our grandkids, we have to understand they belong to the Lord. They're gods. Why? Because we're God. We're gods. We have given our life to God, and we belong to Him. And so because we belong to Him, everything that we have belongs to Him.

Now, some of you may have never come to a place where you understand that you belong to God through Jesus Christ. You've never surrendered your life and said, "I can't help myself. I can't save myself," but you've tried. You've tried to be morally upstanding in the hopes that God would say, "Oh, look at all the things that they've done." That will never get you there. Because we are sinful not only in the choices that we make, but the things that we believe and the things that we've done. We've sinned by omission, we've sinned by commission, we have sinned actively, we have sinned passively.

And it is not just about we have done some things, it's about who we are. That we are sinful in our very nature, and you can be moral and not be holy. And without holiness no one sees the Lord. So if you've never come to a place where you've surrendered your life to Jesus, and you've said, "Jesus, I want to receive you because I know I've sinned and I can't save myself and entrust myself to you, I realize that no one can save except for you. You are the only one who is holy, and you're the only one who can save," then I hope that you will, today. Because friends, we need to clear the brush off of this path called holiness, that feels like it's been overgrown. Because we need to bring back into our world the idea of the holiness of God and the claim that that has on our life.

You know what it should mean to you as a believer? You should hate sin. You should hate it. Sin's another one of those words that has grown under the brush. And sometimes people don't want to talk about it. We should hate sin. Do you know why? Because God's holy. We should hate it. God's holy and His claim on our lives is His Holiness. And so I encourage you, if you've never responded to Christ in faith, that today, maybe you'd put your faith and your trust in Him. We'd love to help you with that.

And a way that we can do that is simply this, if you want to talk to somebody or you want to connect with somebody about what it means to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you can't do this on your own, by the way. You can't just simply say, "I'm going to be good enough and somehow make my way into relationship with God." It doesn't work that way. We've all sinned and come short of the glory of God and the wages of our sin is death. That means spiritual separation from God and physical separation from God. You can't solve this yourself. It is only by faith in Jesus.

And if you want to talk to somebody, pray with somebody about that very thing, we've got two ways that you can do that. You can go to thechapel.com/knowingJesus, or you can call a number. It's very simple, 716-631-2636 and we have somebody that would love to talk to you about that as well.

So Father, I pray that you would speak to our lives in such a way that we would realize that the idea of your holiness means so much to us. And that God it causes us to worship you because of who you are. You are distinct from us, you are different from us, we don't have a category of comparison for you. But God, I pray that we would remember because we belong to you, that we would live like we do. That our lives would actually belong to you. I pray that you would help us to live into that now in Jesus name. Amen.

More From This Series

God is Gracious

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 1 - Apr 19, 2020

God is Sovereign

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 2 - Apr 26, 2020

God is Merciful

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 3 - May 3, 2020
Watching Now

God is Holy

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 4 - May 10, 2020

God is Healer

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 5 - May 17, 2020

God is Warrior

Pastor Jerry Gillis Part 6 - May 24, 2020

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