Elder's Prayer - Pursuing Holiness
Please find below Sam Karl's notes from the Elder's Prayer this past Sunday.
Last Sunday, Bret talked to us about “The Spiritual Purity of Kingdom Citizens”.
He took us to the book of Leviticus to show us the base for the call for spiritual purity:
Leviticus 19:2b, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. (Cross Reference: Leviticus 11:44a-45 & 1 Peter 1:16)
I have been thinking through it this past week amidst my failures.
Holiness is the goal of our calling. We must consistently set our sights upon holiness if we would rightly respond to God’s calling.
As children of God, now is the time to transform our habits to make use of the means of grace. Because our standard is not another human being. Our standard is God Himself.
The doctrine of the Holiness of God is not a comforting doctrine to sinful beings like us unlike the doctrine of God’s love.
Love & Holiness
We will never know God’s love if we don’t understand His holiness. If God isn’t defined by His holiness, there would be no need for Christ’s atoning death on the cross.
Christ’s death was required by God’s holiness. His death was an atonement. He died in our place.
In fact, the doctrine of the Holiness of God used to scare me and discourage me. I will never get there. I will never attain this. I’m going to be one of those Matthew 7 people I used to worry.
Spirit of the Lord helped me understand couple of basic truths from the word of God:
My pursuit of holiness does not guarantee that I will have freedom from temptation.
It was liberating to learn that it is okay to be tempted. Temptation, in and of itself is not sin.
Spend more time meditating on the love and holiness of God instead of focusing more time on my forgiven sins.
We are to mourn over our sins as if we would for the dead as we diligently pursue repentance.
Once our sins are forgiven, we need get back on the track – pursuing our calling of holiness.
If I rightly comprehend God’s holiness as the Scriptures explain it, it becomes the power to overcome temptation.
How does it work practically?
The right understanding of the holiness of God leads to the right desire.
Right desire is seeded by asking brutally honest questions.
Do I really want to overcome sin?
Do I want just my outward actions to be holy?
Or do I want my inner motivations to be holy?
If I truly comprehend the holiness of God, I will want to overcome sin by getting to the root of the issue: My motivations.
It does come with a personal cost as it could be painful & humiliating but it is liberating. By the grace of God, our efforts fueled by the right understanding of God’s holiness dependent on the Holy Spirit, to enable us and to bless those efforts will place us right where we need to be - at the mercy seat of God – being showered by the hot coals from the altar.
Until we take our last breath, this right understanding of God’s holiness will enable us to fight and not give up or grow complacent.
As far as my fear that I will be one of those Matthew 7 folks, I needed be assured from the word of God, that my faith will not fail because God is the one sustaining it. He will help me heed and obey the warnings from the Scriptures. His Spirit will help me in the fight for holiness. I don’t think I can ever be strong enough to fall away from God when God is holding onto me.
Hebrews 12:14b Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Only one group of people will see God. Matthew 5:8 says, they are those that are pure in heart.
Do you pursue holiness? That is your calling, child of God. Let’s pray.
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3) “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (Revelation 4:8) “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
Woe is us! For we are lost; for we are a people of unclean lips, and we dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; (Isaiah 6:5) God, be merciful to us, we are sinners! (Luke 18:13) Jesus, Son of David, have mercy upon us! (Luke 14:38)
Search us, O God, and know our hearts! Try us and know our thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in us, and lead us in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24) Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within us. Cast us not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from us. Restore to us the joy of your salvation, and uphold us with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12)
We don’t even deserve to utter your holy name. Please blow our minds with your holiness like you did with your servant Isaiah and shatter our sins to the depth of the oceans. Please don’t remember our sins anymore.
We pray this in the name of our Eternal Holy High Priest, Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.