Honoring Christ’s Holiness

Isaiah 6: 1-8
First John 3: 1-10

October 3, 2021

Do, you remember how last week’s sermon ended? Do you frequently recall and celebrate that special moment when Jesus Christ came into your life? Have you recently reflected back on all of the ways that you have lived your life for God and for Jesus Christ; special memories of mission projects, Vacation Bible School, Bible studies, and church projects and dinners?

Many of you know that I frequently share the truth that we cannot change a single element of our past lives. If you already had breakfast today and chose sausage over bacon there is absolutely no way that you can revert back to your breakfast table for some nice crispy bacon. But we control our here and now … and we have great influence over how we live our future days.

I believe that as our faith walk commingles with our walk out in the world that it is important for each of us to remember our history with God. To embrace our need for a daily connection to the Holy. If we allow our faith connection to fade into the fog then we won’t be experiencing the holiness that we need in our life to get closer and closer to God. So, we pause … we attempt to regain focus … and then we move forward.

I want to thank Carla for asking that on this World Communion Day we hit the rewind switch to hear once again the faith lessons from 3 of my friends who live in various corners of the world. So, in a few moments we will again hear the from Maria Vargas in Ponce, from Sergei Nikolaev in Moscow, and from Richard Prince in Kampala. We need to remember that we all have brothers and sisters who live for Christ throughout the world; we are not alone in walking with Jesus … we need to affirm our friends of faith and to stand with them taking the faith that rescued us into a new dimension of hope filled with joy even on our stormy days. God is calling us …

Friends, no matter who we are or where we have travelled in our faith walk it is essential that we need to become focused on how much Jesus Christ has done for us. We need to sense the magnetic pull of Christ’s loving arms because the world is messed up … our only REAL everlasting source of rescue and peace comes from our Savior and from God. God will lead us beside the still waters and restore our souls if we let God close enough to us. And, in essence Jesus has given us His holiness as a lesson for our lives.

Christ loves righteousness and hates wickedness. Jerry Bridges in ‘The Chase’ points out that [1]Jesus holiness didn’t include just what He did and thought. It also involved His motives and attitudes.” It is a challenging thought to put our motives and our attitudes under a microscope yet God does that; God really knows who we are.

If we are joining Paul in “reaching out for the things ahead. The goal pursued being the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus,” our heaven bound journey, then it only make sense that we live a life consistent with our faith. That we honor the holiness of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior … our Teacher, the Son of God … in all that we do.

By the way, the last words from last week’s sermon were, “Make every effort to live in peace … WITH EVERYONE and TO BE HOLY, without holiness no one will see the Lord.” The Scripture from Hebrews 12 that I have asked you to focus on during this sermon series.

So, on this Sunday of Holy Communion …. When in the United Methodist Church each of you, whether you are here in the building or watching online, is encouraged and invited to join in the meal of Jesus Christ even if you are not a member of our denomination or this church because this is God’s gift; the Lord’s Table is not something controlled by humans with agendas. Have you started to consider whether you are making every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy?

And, when we sang HERE I AM LORD … did you tear up and raise your hand when you sang “Here I am Lord … I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord if you need me. I will hold Your people in my heart.” Isaiah was a man with unclean lips … aren’t we all … yet he had seen “the King, the Lord of heavenly forces.” He knew God’s reality … Isaiah knew God’s power and God’s love and he understood that God calls out to those who believe … “Whom shall I send and who will go for us? Said the Lord. The answer from Isaiah, “I’m here. Send me.”

We do live in a challenged world. Yesterday I walked the St. Paul’s neighborhood to promote our chicken barbecue. I met some new people … a guy named Tate is over on Grove Street. He just moved in and he excitedly told me about the new baby that will soon join their family. Over on Crown Point another new neighbor was in her yard telling me they had moved from Philly … she was all smiles and laughed when I told her that St. Paul’s has a crazy pastor. She said, “I like crazy.” But, I stepped up to other neighbors’ doors to ring the bell but on more than one occasion I saw that on their vehicles were stickers filled with hate-filled obscenities. Boldness in their hate … not shying away from the harm that they would like see happen to individuals in our nation. As they answered the door … I wondered why they hate like they do and publicly displaying a desire to harm. More than one neighbor … in this very community.

We heard from John’s first letter this morning a reminder. “We are God’s children. All who have him purify themselves even as He is pure.” John takes us where we need to be on this World Communion Sunday, “There is no sin in Jesus. Little children, let no one deceive you. The person who practices righteousness in the same way that Jesus is righteous is righteous. The person who practices sin … belongs to the devil. Everyone who does not practice righteousness is not from God including the person who does not love a brother or a sister.”

I really do not have to repeat the love story of God … the love requirements of God but on a day when we share in Holy Communion we are reminded of Jesus. Of God’s love through Christ …. Of Jesus’ love for all individuals and His directive clarified once again on the night before the cross that we are to love as Jesus loved. A holy kind of love … a love for all. As Christians, we need to honor Christ’s holiness by doing our best to focus on His teaching for the lessons for our lives not the latest YouTube video lecture or social media rants.

I truly believe that as we pray more … as we focus on holiness … that God will reach out to each of us directing us perhaps to change but definitely to take on some task in this life for the Kingdom of God.

We are all sinners … Timothy writes that he is “the biggest sinner of all but Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He thanks Christ for the strength to become faithful.”

In First Peter, the blueprint for living … for us … is again laid out rather clearly, “You were called to this kind of endurance because Christ suffered on your behalf. He left you an example so that we might follow in His footsteps.”

Paul writes in Ephesians, “Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other in the same way that God forgave you in Christ. Imitate God like dearly loved children. Live your life with love following the example of Christ’s holiness. Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us.”

Bridges writes, “[2]The path we run down is difficult at times, but if we want to see God; we must follow it as we chase after holiness.”

So, as my friends speak …as you come to the Table let today renew your faith and refresh your energy to honoring the holiness of our Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN


[1] THE CHASE by Jerry Bridges published by NavPress

[2] Ibid

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