2402, 2015

3 thoughts on being holy

One of the most serious yet ignored and/or misunderstood passages in all the Bible is when God says to us “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” God first said it in Leviticus 11, and Peter quotes it and elaborates on it in 1 Peter 1.

At our church, we are preaching through 1 Peter right now, and our Associate Pastor Troy Harrison preached on this passage (1 Peter 1:13-16) two weeks ago. You can listen to that sermon here.

Then this past Sunday I got to preach on the very next passage in 1 Peter (1 Peter 1:17-21). You can listen to that sermon here.

Here are the three main thoughts from my sermon.

Three thoughts on being holy (all of these thoughts taken from 1 Peter 1):

  1. You have to know who you are NOT!
    -We are not perfect. We are often wrong, bad and sinful.
    -We are not God’s standard. Jesus is.
    -God will judge everyone. And He will judge impartially.
    -Therefore we should not be judgmental.
    -We should be mindful of our sins and need of God.
    -We should worry more about ourselves then we do others.
    -You have to know who you are NOT in order to really know who you are.
    -Our ability to be holy comes from knowing that we first & foremost are not holy.
    -As elect ransomed exiles, we become holy!
  2. You have to know who you are!
    -You have been ransomed.
    -You are living in exile. Earth is not our home.
    -Since we are in exile, we factor every experience through this truth.
    -Heaven is our home. God is our focus. Everything else is in light of those facts.
    -In knowing who you are, you are always reminded who you are not. And who you used to be.
    -We are God’s ransomed children. We belong to God. We long for heaven.
    -Being loved and ransomed by God, we are now new and free and made and empowered to be holy!
  3. You have to know whose you are!
    -We are God’s children because of Jesus.
    -The blood of Christ has ransomed us.
    -The pure and spotless Lamb of God has taken away the sins of the world!
    -It was God’s plan to kill Jesus for our saving.
    -Through Him we are believers in God.
    -God raised Jesus and gave Him glory so that our faith & hope are in God.
    -Since we know God and we know we are God’s, we desire to be holy like Him.

I encourage you to take time to read 1 Peter chapter 1. And see what I am trying to say. May God give us clarity and understanding on what He means when says “Be holy, for I am holy.”

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1602, 2015

What is truth?

In John 18:37, Jesus claims “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world — to bear witness to the truth.”
Jesus’s purpose in coming to earth is to bear witness to the truth.

In reply to that, Pilate asks Jesus in John 18:38 “What is truth?”
Pilate, like many people, question ‘what is truth?’

Just one chapter earlier in John 17:17, Jesus prayed to the Father “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
The Word of God is the truth.

Earlier in John 8:31-32 to the Jews who were considering believing, Jesus said “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
True followers of Jesus know the truth and are set free from sin by it.

In John 14:6, Jesus boldly stated “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Jesus is the truth. (In John’s Gospel, Jesus is also the Word.)

And in John’s prologue (at the very beginning of John), he wrote, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
–Jesus is God in the flesh, and He is full of truth.

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1501, 2015

4 Thoughts on Fatherhood from Genesis 22

Lord willing, Valeria and I will have our 5th child in April. We are looking forward to it. But we also realize that having 5 kids is a big responsibility.

I love the quote by the late Jim Valvano “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”

I want to be a good father to our children.

I recently spent time observing Abraham as a father to Isaac in Genesis 22. There are several key passages in God’s word on parenting and fatherhood (Psalm 127 and Ephesians 6:1-4 just to name two), but I believe that Genesis 22:5-8 is one of the best passages in all of Scripture on fatherhood.

Here are 4 thoughts on Fatherhood from Genesis 22:5-8:

  1. The son was led by his father to worship. In Genesis 22:5 Abraham says “I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” Can you picture the power of a dad who speaks like this? Very few boys or sons in the world have ever heard a dad say this. Few have heard their dad say “Lets go to church.” But what about “We’re going to worship.” That is a strong statement. Many dads lead their sons well. Sons treasure being led by their fathers.  I have heard my dad say often “Come on son, lets go help your mom.” Or “Come on Josh, lets go mow the yard.” Or “Come on, lets go play corn hole.” I want to be like Abraham in that I lead my sons to worship God.
  2. The son was aware of his father’s devotion and obedience to God. In Genesis 22:6 Abraham is doing everything that God has asked him to do. The whole story of Abraham in Genesis, which covers chapters 12-25, is full of Abraham obeying God. And Isaac, his son, is right there observing all of it. Isaac knew he was loved by his dad. There was no question about that. In verse 22:2 God says to Abraham “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love.” Yet Isaac knew that his father, Abraham, loved God even more. He was meticulous in obeying all that God had told him. In 22:12 God acknowledges Abraham’s devotion to God. While I want my children to know that I love them dearly, I also desire that they clearly observe in me a greater devotion and love for God.
  3. The son understood his father’s faith and practice. In Genesis 22:7 Isaac observes “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” What a great question? Many children have no idea why their parents are religious. Or why their fathers do what they do. Many sons today have no idea what their fathers believe. In this passage, Abraham is getting ready to offer a sacrifice to God. And Isaac is not sitting in the car waiting. Isaac is not disengaged while consumed by his phone. Isaac is there. He is aware. He understands. And he is even pointing out to his dad that there is a key element missing. This is remarkable. Many fathers today have very little devotion to God and that which they do have has not carried over to their children. I want to be like Abraham in that his son understood his faith in and devotion to God.
  4. The father wholeheartedly trusted God. In Genesis 22:8, in response to Issac’s question/observation in verse 7, Abraham boldly answers “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” This is one of the greatest verses in all of the Bible on fatherhood. Abraham had no idea where the lamb for the offering would come from. But he believed God (Genesis 15:6). And in the meantime he was faithful to obey God, trusting that God would provide the lamb. The rest of the passage, verses 9-14, show God doing just that – providing the lamb for the offering. There is nothing better for a son than for his father to wholeheartedly trust and believe in God. With all of my sins and with all of my sons sins, may I continually assure them that God indeed has provided a sacrificial lamb. That’s Jesus!

May God make us fathers who point our children to Jesus!


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